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Business and Nature

Dr Bhaskar Vira: The political economy of ecosystem services

December 2012 – The past decade has seen a growing interest in ecosystem services, one of the focus areas of Dr Bhaskar Vira and his colleagues at the University of Cambridge’s Department of Geography. Ecosystems services have been defined by landmark research projects like the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) as “the benefits people obtain from ecosystems” and “the direct and indirect contributions of ecosystems to human wellbeing”.

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José Lopez: Keeping nature’s balance sheet in balance

December 2012 – Sustainable development – providing sufficient material and spiritual well-being to enable a good life for all of humankind, within the limits imposed by our one planet – is by definition a concept with global reach. This has significant implications for policymakers and the private sector alike, which influence each other.

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Pavan Sukhdev: Can today’s corporations deliver tomorrow’s economy?

December 2012 – As nations entered Rio+20 to negotiate around the theme of a “green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication”, I was left confused. UNEP’s report Towards a Green Economy defined a “green economy” as one which increases well-being and social equity whilst reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. In other words, a green economy must reduce poverty and inequity. So why did the UN feel the need to reiterate this as a tautology in the central theme in the run-up to Rio?

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Jeremy Grantham: Living on a finite planet (where no-one likes to hear bad news)

December 2012 – We’re going through one of those very rare things indeed: a paradigm shift. Having spent the past 200 years with the prices for everything declining, around 2002 this shifted, and the price of almost everything started going up. In 10 years, without much fuss, we’ve given back all the price declines of the previous 100 years. That’s quite a remarkable shift.

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Carlos Fadigas: Business as part of the solution

December 2012 – There are many roles for business in developing sustainability, but the most important is to integrate sustainability principles into business strategy. Sustainability means much more than just worrying about the environmental impacts of business operations – this only represents ‘business as usual’. I prefer the idea of looking for the business opportunities that could arise from the huge challenge of trying to raise living standards for a likely population of 9 billion in 2050, yet remaining within the limits of our planet.

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Professor Jorgen Randers: 2052: A global forecast for the next forty years

December 2012 – If I could persuade you of one thing, it should be this: the world is small and fragile, and humanity is huge, dangerous and powerful. This is a total reversal of the biblical perspective on humanity, and the way in which man has thought during most of his presence on Earth. But this is the perspective we need to take if we’re to be sure that sustainability emerges or, at least, that the world as we know it survives for a couple of hundred more years.

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Natural Convergence: Integrating Business and Government Strategies to Manage Natural Capital

September 2012 – Given the challenging economic backdrop for businesses, one might be forgiven for being uncertain about where sustainable land use fits in. What is clear already, however, is that there are pressures and concerns, readily identified in this report, which we are going to have to tackle in order to have any kind of long-term economic future. Businesses are increasingly realising that in order to operate sustainably they must protect and enhance all the environmental resources and services that are used or affected by their operations.

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ClimateWise Thought Leadership: The value of ecosystem resilience to insurers

June 2012 – In 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, Climate Change, Biodiversity and Environmental Degradation were put on the international agenda at the first Earth Summit. Twenty years later nobody can ignore that human development and economic growth rely on healthy and resilient ecosystems but all too often we do, perhaps because it is easier to compartmentalise issues and believe that someone else will deal with the complexity.

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Catherine Tayleur

 

Dr Cath Tayleur Programme Manager, Natural Capital