The Sukhdev report on the Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity sets out to do for the natural world what the Stern Report did for climate change. To make it obvious that there is a business case for doing something about saving the species on the planet from extinction. It might sound obvious that we ‘ought’ to do something about it, and most people who are active in environmental movements do so because they want to do the ‘right’ thing.
But wouldn’t it help if business was behind this too instead of against it? The Sukhdev report tries to place a value on the natural world around us, a value that currently doesn’t appear on any balance sheet. The best example of what is wrong with this thinking is highlighted in Al Gores Book ‘Earth in the Balance’ where he points out that the Exxon Valdez oil spill appeared as beneficial economically as it increased the industrial activity in the region while the oil spill was being cleared up. The loss of wildlife, biodiversity, etc., was not counted. There is no accounting methodology for doing so. Nature is not valued until it is gone.
The report is published by TEEB, and their website is here. Read the summary
Unlike economic and human capital, natural capital has
no dedicated systems of measurement, monitoring and
reporting. This is astonishing given its importance for
jobs and mainstream economic sectors as well as its
contribution to future economic development.