17 February 2012

Natural Capital and putting a Value to it

Pavan Sukhdev, CEO of Deutsche Bank mentioned in a TED Talks presentation last year that "The invisible economic value of natural capital in the world is worth around $13 trillion".

What we need to understand is there is a certain balance in the planet that nature has a full force in. Just how every tree holds a minimum of 30% pure carbon, put a forest or sanctuary together you have lakhs of carbon stored in tree's, water bodies and soil. The process of cleansing the air and maintaining a fresh supply of oxygen has a responsibility and comes free ever since life begun. It is crucial that we learn to value and protect these resources which provide an invaluable service to our food, agriculture water and climate needs. Pavan Sukhdev puts a value to nature and joins the dots between business, profit, and conservation with a focus on sustainable development, keeping the future in mind and whats at stake.

He said, "Bee's pollinating fruit in the world is worth around $190 billion, but the bee doesn't give you an invoice". South America's amazon rain forests carry billions of water vapour which feed the country's  agriculture needs, the citizens pay zero for this.

The action plan that India needs to draw out is keeping 'green accounts' for every state; measuring water and forest availability and creating an educational forum of the value these resources provide.

Companies in India today understand that green and sustainable are cleaner and cheaper, but what they want most of all is a reassurance from the government to start investing in this sector, the red tape needs to be cut to allow foreign investors coming into the country. Its a win-win situation for companies investing in climate change and green norms. Indian governments have a plan for creating green accounting by 2015, this should be pushed as a compulsory policy so that MNC's in India lead by example for the rest.

The problem today is due to the the wide difference between urban and natural capital, and people having little idea on the value of the environment. For everyone to understand the importance of natural capital and their role they play in our sustainable future, putting a price tag on nature today is critical.

By Kavya Chandra