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Environment & Development series no. 16

Financialisation, Biodiversity Conservation and Equity: Some Currents and Concerns

By Sian Sullivan
Publisher: TWN
ISBN: 978-967-5412-69-1
Year: 2012   No. of pages: 56
 14.5cm x 21cm

About the Book

Present high rates of biodiversity loss have directed attention towards market-based mechanisms that seek to create tradable financial assets out of species and ecosystems. This ‘financialisation’ is said to encourage biodiversity conservation by incorporating monetised ecological values into economic decision-making.

This paper explores how financialisation of conservation is made possible through the monetisation of nature and the establishment of environmental markets. It surveys the latest developments in this field, which encompass esoteric financial instruments such as forest bonds, species credits and biodiversity offsets.

The paper cautions that these innovations should not blind conservation advocates to the dangers of financialisation, which include perverse incentives for ecological harm. More fundamentally, the value of biodiversity, and the complexity of nature, cannot be conserved simply by conveying and incorporating these in monetary terms, although this indeed may facilitate their inequitable capture as ‘natural capital’. Instead, as the author suggests, both ecology and ethics call for  recognition and restitution of ‘the diverse other ways of knowing and living with “biodiversity” embodied by peoples who value things differently’.

About the Author

SIAN SULLIVAN is a Senior Lecturer in Environment and Development at the Department of Geography, Environment and Development Studies, Birkbeck College, University of London.

Contents

Executive Summary                                                                      

1.    ON ELEPHANTS AND ECONOMICS                                   

2.    ‘WHAT IS NATURE WORTH?’: INCORPORATING ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH AND HARM           

3.    KEY STEPS TOWARDS THE FINANCIALISATION OF BIODIVERSITY CONSERVATION        

4.    CURRENTS IN FINANCIALISED CONSERVATION     

5.    SOME CONCERNS                                                                

6.    CONCLUSION                                                                    

Endnotes                                                                                      

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