What is the Value of Nature?

For decades now, the private sector, NGOs and governments have tried to value nature, but alas to no avail. So how do we change this?

What is the price of nature? How do we value all the services that nature offers?

Nature loss is at the heart of many economic and societal challenges, and nature-based solutions hold the potential to address interlinked crises.

Our livelihoods depend on nature. And yet we cannot even value what our lives depend on.

In fact, interestingly, while we spent more than $14tn on COVID, the recent State of Finance for Nature report said that only USD 133 billion/year currently flows into Nature-based Solutions (NbS), with public funds making up 86% and private 14%.

This is simply not enough. The report states that:

"Investment in NbS ought to at least triple in real terms by 2030 and increase four-fold by 2050 if the world is to meet its climate change, biodiversity and land degradation targets."

In other words we would require a cumulative total investment of up to USD 8.1 trillion, and a future annual investment rate of USD 536 billion.

So how do we do this?

The first problem seems to be that knowledge on capital expended and needed for NbS remains limited. Indeed there is poor knowledge and understanding as to how much capital is already directed to assets and activities that can be considered nature-based solutions (NbS).

Secondly, the compilation of quality data on capital investment in nature across all sectors and for all major economies has proven challenging and the estimates are highly uncertain.

Thirdly, there are not enough financial institutions innovating and creating new asset classes such as guarantees and insurance, to create attractive risk-return products for large, mainstream investors.

We need to answer these fundamental questions if we are to make the United Nations Decade on Ecosystem Restoration a success, save nature, and ultimately save ourselves.

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