The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity: Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature: A synthesis of the approach, conclusions and recommendations of TEEB
The aim of this report is to provide a bridge between the multi-disciplinary science of biodiversity and the arena of international and national policy as well as local government and business practices. The scope of TEEB is intentionally broad and it should therefore be seen as an inspiration and as an invitation for others to deepen its findings and to develop more context-specific recommendations. Ideally, TEEB will act as a catalyst to help accelerate the development of a new economy: one in which the values of natural capital, and the ecosystem services which this capital supplies, are fully reflected in the mainstream of public and private decision-making.
The TEEB study follows a tiered approach in analyzing and structuring valuation guided by three core principles:
- Recognizing value in ecosystems, landscapes, species and other aspects of biodiversity is a feature of all human societies and communities and is sometimes sufficient to ensure conservation and sustainable use. For example the existence of sacred groves in some cultures has helped to protect natural areas and the biodiversity they contain.
- Demonstrating value in economic terms is often useful for policy makers and others such as business in reaching decisions that consider the full costs and benefits of an ecosystem rather than just those costs or values that enter the markets in the form of private goods. An example would include calculating the costs and benefits of conserving the ecosystem services provided by wetlands in controlling floods compared to building flood defenses. The demonstration of an economic value even though it does not result in specific measures is an important aid in achieving efficient used of natural resources.
- Capturing value involves the introduction of mechanisms that incorporate the values of ecosystems into decision-making through incentives and price signals. This can include payments for ecosystem services, reforming environmentally harmful subsidies or introducing tax breaks for conservation.