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What's Nature's Economic Value?

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Nature Does Not Give You An Invoice

If you had to put a dollar amount on it, what is it worth that the earth keeps generating all the natural resources we consume?

What is insect pollination worth? Measured in US currency, it results in $190 billion dollars worth of food. That's 8% of the total agricultural output globally.

What are the rainforests and barrier reefs "worth" to the pharmaceutical industry? Well, 60% of our medicines originate from there.

Pavan Sukhdev is like nature's banker -- assessing the value of the Earth's assets. He speaks here about the "economic invisibility of nature."

"Natural capital is the stuff of life" he says. "You can't really have a proper model for development if at the same time you are destroying or allowing the degradation of the most important asset, which is ecological infrastructure."

When companies calculate costs, they don't account for that nature might not be forthcoming with the goods, for free, on a regular schedule. Or that there might be costs for damage control. The market cost of timber does not include paying for the ensuing problems, like deforestation, water run off, flood damage.

Companies do not account for these externalities, but a select few do have the courage and confidence to take these measurements seriously.

Imagine if we as consumers could easily compare the social performance of all the companies we buy from?

--Bibi Farber

This video was produced by Ted Talks

For more info see and (The Economics Of Eco Systems and Biodiversity)