This paper shows that the mainstream usage of ‘natural capital’ (NC) is incompatible with an ecological approach. It argues that accounting is relevant for (re)structuring the debate around NC and implementing an alternative approach to NC that works with an ecological perspective.It first performs a ‘Latourian’ anthropological analysis of the mainstream notion of capital, resituated in the Modern cosmology, as well as the notion of ‘ecology’. It goes on to propose an ‘accounting’ study of capital with the objective of suggesting an alternative vision of NC and underlines its potential. The study shows that the mainstream use of NC is incompatible with an ecological approach, even in the case of strong sustainability. Mainstream NC is associated with ‘capital as a debit concept’, but a credit-based approach to NC would align it better with an ecological perspective. The paper renews the critical analysis of NC and of strong/weak sustainability. It opens a potential path of research in ecological accounting based on an alternative perspective on NC. It proposes an extension of the ‘classical’ accounting practices in historical costs to a more ecological vision of NC, linking accounting practices understood by current corporate stakeholders to ecological requirements.
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