The Dutch ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality commissioned Arcadis and CE Delft to draw up guidelines for carrying out social cost-benefit analyses (SCBAs) for measures with an impact on nature, to supplement the “General Guidelines for Social Cost-Benefit Analyses” published by the Netherlands Bureau for Economic Policy Analysis and the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency in 2013. The new, additional guidelines are based on recent developments and improved knowledge on assigning a value to (changes in) natural capital.
These guidelines are concerned with both policy measures relating specifically to nature conservation and policies in other areas having side-effects on nature (investments in infrastructure, for example). An effective and reliable method is required for quantifying the impacts of interventions on ecosystems and biodiversity. In SCBAs the main focus is on changes in economic welfare and therefore on the functions of ecosystems for society, known as ‘ecosystem services’.