Every day, we use materials from the earth without thinking, for free. But what if we had to pay for their true value: would it make us more careful about what we use and what we waste? Think of Pavan Sukhdev as nature’s banker — assessing the value of the Earth’s assets. Eye-opening charts will make you think differently about the cost of air, water, trees, nature …
“You cannot manage what you do not measure.”
In 2008, Sukhdev took a sabbatical from Deutsche Bank, where he’d worked for fifteen years, to write up two massive and convincing reports on the green economy. For UNEP, his “Green Economy Report” synthesized years of research to show, with real numbers, that environmentally sound development is not a bar to growth but rather a new engine for growing wealth and creating employment in the face of persistent poverty. The groundbreaking TEEB report (formally “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity”) report counts the global economic benefits of biodiversity. It encourages countries to develop and publish “Natural capital accounts” tracking the value of plants, animal, water and other “natural wealth” alongside traditional financial measures — in the hope of changing how decisions are made to take into account damage or preservation of biodiversity.
Sukhdev is the current McCluskey Fellow at Yale University where he leads the TEEB@YALE graduate seminar. Sukhdev chairs the Global Agenda Council on Biodiversity and Ecosystems for the World Economic Forum, and was the Special Advisor and Head of UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative.
He says: “You cannot manage what you do not measure.”