Our Innovative Approach

Combining robust science, explorative systems thinking, and creative financial valuation, our Global Resource Centre uses an innovative modelling approach for nature-based infrastructure projects. Our unique methodology relies on the interrelated features of simulation, valuation, and customization. Through working with our stakeholders, we build a better and mutual understanding of NBI projects.

Glass office buildings among green trees

Precise and Reliable Simulations

The NBI Global Resource Centre is the only platform worldwide that offers robust and customized valuations of infrastructure projects. We combine systems thinking and system dynamics simulation with project finance modelling in order to value ecosystem services. 

1) Systems thinking: A qualitative framework that enables us to analyse situations and changes in a holistic manner, focusing on interconnectedness. We use this approach to map the best possible policy and investment pathways to shift mindsets and demonstrate the value of NBI. 

2) System dynamics: An integrated, quantitative modelling approach used to understand complex real-world issues and guide decisionmakers to achieve sustainable results over time.  


Office building and city park of Shanghai, China


We use spatial data to map and value the benefits provided by ecosystems, such as carbon storage, water filtration, food provision, and timber production. We also evaluate how the projects perform under different climate change scenarios, using best-in-class climate data from the EU Copernicus Climate Data StoreWe complement this climate data with information from project partners and internationally recognized data sets, integrating it into the system dynamics models. 

3) Project finance modellingWe combine traditional methods of financial planning that are based on projected cash flows with economic valuations of the services that can be generated by natural ecosystemsas well as other “co-benefits” provided by the project. 

Proven Track Record

Our modelling approach is based on IISD’s Sustainable Asset Valuation (SAVi) methodology. Over the last few years, we have used SAVi to analyze more than 15 infrastructure projects around the world. These valuations have helped policy-makers and asset owners make informed decisions in fields such as renewable energy, sustainable agriculture, and urban climate adaptation.

Wide angle shot of a green tree surrounded by residential houses. The sun is shining through the green. Shot from directly below the tree

Customizing Valuations

The NBI Global Resource Centre will analyse more than 40 NBI projects across the globe. All valuations are customized to the local socioeconomic and environmental context.   

We work with asset owners and their stakeholders to identify and capture the local project context and its unique dynamics. We engage with our partners over several weeks to gather project-specific data, which allows us to capture and integrate all material risks and externalities that can occur across the project life span. In addition, we spend weeks on data verification and on filling in data gaps using internationally recognized sources. 

The models are set up to start simulating several years prior to the commencement of the project. This is important to validate our analysis against historical data. The models’ time frames are also extended to cover a 5- to 10-year period after the project comes to an end. 

Comparing NBI with Grey Built Infrastructure

We compare the financial performance of NBI projects with engineered or grey alternatives. We therefore can make the financial case for using nature in climate adaptation and infrastructure service provision. Our unique and innovative mix of expertise, data, and methodologies empowers stakeholders to make informed decisions about NBI as they consider their options for adaptation and infrastructure development.  

Empowering Stakeholders with Knowledge and Training 

We are developing an online capacity-building tool as well as an online database. We will work with other international NBI initiatives to amplify the reach of the initiative and create synergies as well as cost efficiencies.   

Integrating NBI Into Infrastructure and Development Plans 

Through our unique partnership, we will help to integrate NBI into infrastructure and development plans, programs, and projects across the world for the first time.