The value of nature & the nature of value | Pavan Sukhdev

Pavan Sukhdev, an economist and head of the UN Green Economy Initiative, was in Australia as a guest of the Centre for Policy Development in August 2010 to give three public lectures in Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.

Pavan is an expert on the natural capital that gets left off government and corporate balance sheets.

The cost of the global financial crisis stunned the world – how does this compare to the cost of bailing out bankrupt ecosystems?  After years of running down our natural capital, are we getting close to an environmental version of the credit crunch?

Climate change has been grabbing most of our headlines in recent years, but we’re now coming up against multiple environmental limits at once.  We’re running out of fresh fish and water and we’re living through the greatest mass extinction event in sixty five millions years.

In his lecture What is the World Worth? Putting nature on the balance sheet, Pavan looks at what this tells us about our economic system and how it needs to change.  Pavan’s pioneering work considers what it would take to put nature on the balance sheet – so that we do not continue borrowing from the future to pay for the present.

WATCH the Sydney lecture below filmed for the ABC’s Big Ideas Program.

More about Pavan Sukhdev:

Pavan Sukhdev is Study Leader for the UNEP The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study, which is making a compelling economic case for the conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity. Pavan is also team leader for the Green Economy Report, a ground-breaking study being conducted as part of the Green Economy Initiative (GEI), which is using economic analyses and modeling to demonstrate investment in greening the economy can lead to future prosperity and job creation, while at the same time addressing social and environmental challenges.

Pavan’s pioneering work looks at how putting a value on nature could set the scene for a greener economy and investment, exploring how our economy can be part of the solution to the looming climate and resource crises we face.

Pavan is currently on a two year sabbatical from Deutsche Bank. He is fast becoming known as the Nicholas Stern of Biodiversity.


For more on Pavan’s work and a compelling description of the next generation of economics and environmentalism:

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Business Report summarises the links between business and biodiversity, and details the risks and opportunities for business presented by global ecosystem decline.

The UNEP Green Economy Report uses economic analyses and modelling approaches to demonstrate that investment in greening the economy can drive economic recovery and lead to future prosperity and job creation, as well as address social and environmental challenges.

And from the Centre for Policy Development:

Australia’s Green Economic Potential  – a CPD Briefing Paper This paper places the UN Green Economy Report in an Australian context and provides a snapshot of the high potential sectors for building a green economy in Australia.

Pavan Sukhdev’s speaking tour was made possible thanks to the support of:
Principal Sponsor
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UTS Business
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