There Is No Prosperity Without Natural Capital

Natural resources are neither free nor boundless. The time has come to challenge our conception of the relationship between the economy, society, and the environment and how we measure well-being and social progress. A new system takes the contributions of nature into account when analyzing economic development. It can be a game-changer for decision making processes.

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More than just GDP

GDP is the most commonly used metric to rank the development and wealth of countries. GDP amounts to the total monetary value of all the services and finished goods produced inside a country over a given period of time and hence gives an indication of the country’s economic condition. However, this focuses on monetary value and ignores other valuable indicators such as happiness, human wellbeing and environmental conditions.

A new framework

The SEEA EA framework was adopted by the UN Statistical Commission and represents a key step in the direction of including natural capital such as forests, wetlands and other ecosystems in economic reporting and therefore influencing measures of wealth and development.

Already in use

The United Nations reports that over 34 countries are already including “natural capital” in their measurements on an experimental basis, some of which have even brought environmental benefits into their decision-making in a more significant way. An example is New Zealand’s “well-being budget”, which has a specific goal to transition to a sustainable economy.

Euro-Mediterranean Center on #ClimateChange: integrated, multi-disciplinary and frontier research on climate science and policy.