In an interview with Paddy Manning before he arrives in Australia, Pavan Sukhdev argues that nature’s flows into the economy are invisible, leading us to breach our environmental limits.
Published in the Sydney Morning Herald on July 31 2010
Balance sheets need a splash of green ink
How to get business to properly value the environment? Bring nature on to the balance sheet, says the banker Pavan Sukhdev. But can better accounting save the world?
Sukhdev is head of the United Nations Environment Program’s Green Economy Initiative and lead author of a forthcoming report on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, arguing nature’s flows into the economy are economically invisible and this is why we are breaching many environmental limits at once.
Environmental ”externalities” – impacts on third parties of private exchanges – are ignored. Businesses should measure, value and report their impacts and dependencies on biodiversity and ”ecosystem services” (benefits we derive from nature). The The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity synthesis report is expected to find the value of these natural goods and services is between 10 and 100 times higher than the cost of saving the habitats and species that provide them.
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