Every day we use valuable natural resources and environmental services completely out of charge and without thinking about it. Generally speaking, the business community and society depend on the biodiversity and functioning of ecosystem services in order to create wealth. Ecosystem services are essential services that nature provides us with; because of this we have access to food, clean water and energy. In other words, ecosystem services are a key component of our economy.
In November, economist Pavan Sukhdev is visiting Sweden to receive Gothenburg’s price for Sustainability. Pavan Sukhdev has made a career in banking, and is now working as the CEO of GIST, a specialized advisory and consulting firm that helps governments and companies to identify, measure, assess and manage their impact on nature. Pavan Sukhdev is a Visiting Fellow at Yale University, where awarded McCluskey Fellowship in 2011 for his book “The Corporation in 2020.” Previously, he was working as a Special Adviser and Head of UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative. He is also a leading author of the book “Towards a Green Economy”. While working full time at Deutsche Bank, Pavan was also appointed to lead TEEB, The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, by the EU Commission and Germany. TEEB draws attention to the importance of biodiversity and ecosystems which today is lost.
In the TEEB study Pavan Sukhtev shows that that the external costs of agriculture, mining, steel and paper industry represent approximately 13 percent of the global economy’s value. What would happen if companies had to internalize these costs? The price tag for corporate environmental degradation is estimated at $ 2,000 billion per year. How long will society pay these costs?