Valuing nature

At ECCE, one of the main projects of the past years has been the development of GRESB, the Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark. If there is one thing that an applied economist such as myself knows, it is that it is really hard to put a number on a lot of things. And, yes, I am aware of the irony there. 

But just because it is hard, does not mean it should not be done… Why? For one, without numbers, many discussions … float, and it is much harder to decide on actions. Without numbers, progress is hard to measure. And, most importantly perhaps, without numbers there often is no (real) discussion. The last point is of particular importance, because it does not apply that the numbers have to be 100% correct, all the time….

In a recent post, Adventure journal gives the floor to Yale Environment 360, who report on a project called TEEB: The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity. Set up by Indian banker Pavan Sukhdev, the project follows - to some extent - in the footsteps of the (in)famous Stern report, in that it tries to a put a number on things - things being, in this case, nature. 

It is worth checking out, if only to find the answer to the question Sukhdev asks: “When did the bees last send you an invoice for pollination?” You can find the report here.

© J.W.B. Bos 2014