Work started around three years ago. The challenges were to build a consistent framework and to find the relevant data, in the right format, to populate this. Global Canopy already has some specialist tools, such as a drought stress-testing tool, so had learned from building these, says Mardas. The aim now was to build something that could serve the whole community, he says.
Key to the project was Cambridge-based charity, the World Conservation Monitoring Centre (WCMC) – “the world’s leading group, in my opinion, on this”, says Mardas.
For the 167 sectors, which stemmed from an existing standardised framework, the project team sought to understand the business processes that are vital for each, the production processes and the ecosystems that these depend on, and the natural capital assets of those ecosystems. There has then been work to gain a view by region.
There are plenty of gaps in the data that is available and in the granularity of that data. To date, the work has drawn on around 40 different sources from around 30 providers.
Indeed, a secondary result of the work, says Mardas, has been to show where critical data is missing, which will hopefully drive investment by governments, foundations, donors and businesses to address the gaps.