"In the past only traditional sectors such as manufacturing, mining, retailing, construction and energy generation were uppermost in the minds of economic planners and ministers of finance, development and trade. TEEB has brought to the world's attention that nature's goods and services are equal, if not far more central, to the wealth of nations including the poor--a fact that will be increasingly the case on a planet of finite resources with a population set to rise to nine billion people by 2050," said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director.
Failure to account for the value of natural capital poses significant business and social risks
The report also drives home the message that failure of business to account for the value of natural capital, particularly in sectors such as mining, can pose significant business and social risks. The UK-based consultancy, TruCost, estimated that the negative impacts, or 'environmental externalities', of the world's top 3,000 listed companies totals around US$ 2.2 trillion annually.
Approaches such as Net Positive Impact, wetland mitigation and bio-banking can help ensure that developers take responsibility for their environmental footprint. As consumers and governments opt for greener purchasing choices the business sector also stands to make considerable gains: by 2020 the annual market size for certified agricultural products is expected to be US$210 billion; payments for water related ecosystem services US$6 billion; and voluntary biodiversity offsets in the region of US$100 million a year.
Countries give nature the green light
Countries are already taking steps to adopt the TEEB approach. India's Minister for Environment and Forests, Mr. Jairam Ramesh, said today that the
|Contact: Tilo Arnhold|
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres