Giving Compass' Take:
- A review commissioned by the UK government highlights how the global economy needs to pivot to support biodiversity and protect the natural world.
- How can donors advocate for these economists' findings?
- Learn more about the economics of nature conservation.
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Urgent change in how economies think, act and measure success is needed to protect and enhance global prosperity and the natural world, a major review commissioned by the UK government has recommended.
The review, written by leading economist Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta and published in February, concluded that humanity has collectively mismanaged its natural assets.
As such, demands far exceed nature’s capacity to supply the goods and services humans rely on, such as food, clean air and water, and the absorption of carbon emissions.
Falls in biodiversity are therefore putting economies, livelihoods and wellbeing at risk, it says. Dasgupta recommended ecosystems be restored and enhanced, and that finance and education systems be transformed to take nature into account.
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – the globally dominant form of measuring economic success – does not factor in the depreciation of nature, and therefore encourages humanity to pursue unsustainable economic growth and development. Other metrics should be used, he said.
The report advocates, for example, the concept of inclusive wealth.
Speaking to a UK parliament committee, Dasgupta compared how businesses view assets with how economies view natural assets.
“No manager will be in a position where he cannot tell you what furniture he has on his factory floor or how many workers he has… Likewise, we need to have stock accounts, not flow accounts… but most countries don’t even know how many wetlands they have. Nobody cares,” he said.
Dasgupta’s findings echo those of other recent reports, in particular the World Economic Forum’s New Nature Economy series, which found that $44 trillion of economic value generation – over half the world’s GDP — is dependent on nature.
Campaigners believe the review will garner mainstream attention because it was commissioned by the Treasury — the UK government’s finance department — and written by an esteemed economist.
A precedent can be found in the 2006 review of the economics of climate change by Nicholas Stern.
Read the full article about global economy supporting nature by Catherine Early at Eco-Business.