Sustainability is a key challenge for humanity in the context of complex and unprecedented global changes. Future Earth, an international research initiative aiming to advance global sustainability science, has recently launched knowledge–action networks (KANs) as mechanisms for delivering its research strategy. The research initiative is currently developing a KAN on ‘‘natural assets’’ to facilitate and enable action-oriented research and synthesis towards natural assets sustainability. ‘Natural assets’ has been adopted by Future Earth as an umbrella term aiming to translate and bridge across different knowledge systems and different perspectives on peoples’ relationships with nature. In this paper, we clarify the framing of Future Earth around natural assets emphasizing the recognition on pluralism and identifying the challenges of translating different visions about the role of natural assets, including via policy formulation, for local to global sustainability challenges. This understanding will be useful to develop inter-and transdisciplinary solutions for human–environmental problems by (i) embracing richer collaborative decision processes and building bridges across different perspectives; (ii) giving emphasis on the interactions between biophysical and socioeconomic drivers affecting the future trends of investments and disinvestments in natural assets; and (iii) focusing on social equity, power relationships for effective application of the natural assets approach. This understanding also intends to inform the scope of the natural asset KAN’s research agenda to mobilize the translation of research into codesigned action for sustainability.