The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review

By 8th February 2021Blog, News

The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review published last week is an essential read, though at 600 pages long and containing detailed economic equations and theories, it is hard going in parts. However, to make it a little easier there is both a Royal Society webinar on YouTube and a Headline Messages publication.

Economic exploitation of our natural resources cannot continue and the report suggests that economists must include natural assets in economic calculations if we are to protect biodiversity for the future.

The messages from the Review are clear:

  • Our economies, livelihoods and well-being all depend on our most precious asset: Nature.
  • We have collectively failed to engage with Nature sustainably, to the extent that our demands far exceed its capacity to supply us with the goods and services we all rely on.
  • Our unsustainable engagement with Nature is endangering the prosperity of current and future generations.
  • At the heart of the problem lies deep-rooted, widespread institutional failure.
  • The solution starts with understanding and accepting a simple truth: our economies are embedded within Nature, not external to it.
  • We need to change how we think, act and measure success.
    • (i) Ensure that our demands on Nature do not exceed its supply, and that we increase Nature’s supply relative to its current level.
    • (ii) Change our measures of economic success to guide us on a more sustainable path.
    • (iii) Transform our institutions and systems – in particular our finance and education systems – to enable these changes and sustain them for future generations.
  • Transformative change is possible – we and our descendants deserve nothing less.

Wildlife conservation will have an essential part in this new way of thinking as the “boots on the ground” with the knowledge and experience of guarding natural places and the biodiversity it contains. Wildlife conservationists and scientists have long been calling for our planet and the natural world to be valued rather than exploited by our economies. It is time that the world’s economists take note.

If you’d like to read the full Dasgupta Review you can find it here.