Last reviewed 4 February 2021
Collective degradation of the natural world “has created extreme risks and uncertainties, endangered our economies and livelihoods, and given rise to existential risks for humanity,” according to the Dasgupta Review, published this week.
Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta’s The Economics of Biodiversity challenges current thinking around growth and prosperity and argues that measuring economic prosperity by the size of GDP is “hugely misleading” and that sustainable economic growth requires a very different set of metrics.
In a statement launching the Review, Dasgupta said: "Truly sustainable economic growth and development means recognising that our long-term prosperity relies on rebalancing our demand of nature's goods and services with its capacity to supply them," Prof Dasgupta said.
The review is the first comprehensive economic framework of its kind for biodiversity and calls for urgent and transformative change in how we think, act and measure economic success to protect the natural world and enhance our prosperity.
The review on The Economics of Biodiversity was commissioned by the UK Treasury in 2019, the first time a national finance ministry has requested a comprehensive independent assessment of the links between economics and nature.
The report highlights a number of ways governments and economists should account for nature in economics and decision-making, including making food and energy systems sustainable through technological innovations and policies that change prices and behaviour.
It also calls for natural capital to be included in national accounting systems such as GDP and an expansion of protected areas, with widespread investment in nature-based solutions to address biodiversity loss.
Environment Secretary George Eustice has welcomed the recommendations. “If we want to realise the aspiration set out in professor Dasgupta’s landmark review to rebalance humanity’s relationship with nature, then we need policies that will both protect and enhance the supply of our natural assets,” Eustice said.
HM Treasury has said the review will be considered ahead of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity — an international biodiversity summit taking place in Kunming, China in October 2020.