Published Monday, 22 October 2012

Nature and its role in the transition to a Green Economy 

This new report highlighting the importance of nature to the economy was released as part of the TEEB paper series. The report Nature and its Role in the Transition to a Green Economy was authored by a team of researchers from IEEP and funded by UNEP. The report aims to clarify and help mainstream nature’s role in the transition to a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

The report demonstrates that working with nature should be at the heart of the transition to a green economy for a range of reasons, including that human and societal well-being depends on nature and that all sectors of the economy benefit directly or indirectly from nature. It calls for making sure there is a clear understanding of the value of nature and how to take it into account in public and private decisions in light of the multiple benefits it provides. It shows that investments in nature today can save money and promote economic growth in the long term.

It provides a roadmap for the transition, stressing the critical role of good governance in the transition and presenting six building blocks for the transition to a green economy which it usefully categorises as: (a) Minimising losses and avoiding inappropriate trade-offs (b) Investing in environmental infrastructure; (c) Active management of environmental risks (d) Proactive investment in natural capital; (e) Further eco-efficiency for relative decoupling and (f) Absolute decoupling of the economy from resource use and its negative impacts. Concrete tools and measures presented in more detail include the reform of environmentally harmful subsidies, benefits assessments, environmental and economic accounts, and positive incentives for decoupling.

Also building on a range of case-studies and practical examples from across the globe, Nature and its role in the transition to a Green Economy underlines the importance of stepping up the pace of change and move from discrete cases of green economy transition to a fundamental systemic transition warranted by scientific findings.

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