Polishchuk, Yuliana (2011). "Exploring the environmental aspects of capability formation: the capability approach and ecosystem services" Paper presented at the 8th annual conference of the HDCA, 6-8 September 2011, the Hague, the Netherlands.

The capability approach (CA), "as we have it, does not lend itself very well to thinking about the environment" (Kamsler 2006: 198). However, I argue that it provides conceptual space for including environmental issues in evaluation of human well-being and flourishing. I suggest that the environmental dimension of the CA can be improved by incorporating into the capabilities framework the notion of ecosystem services, generally understood as the benefits people obtain from ecosystems and thus representing a direct link between the natural environment and human well-being. Introducing three groups of ESS – provisioning, regulating, and cultural – into the capabilities framework provides a way to explicitly account for the diversity of ways in which the environment plays a role in capability formation. Complemented with a number of other environmental indicators, the ESS concept shows potential for filling the “environmental gap” of the CA.