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News : Innovation Last Updated: Feb 18, 2014 - 7:14 AM

Will more natural disasters help us put a price on nature?
By Finfacts Team
Feb 18, 2014 - 7:12 AM

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More floods and hurricanes linked to climate change will push companies and countries to better value the role natural habitats play in protecting property by 2025, concluded participants at the “Revaluing ecosystems” meeting in Bellagio, Italy.

The event, part of the ‘Visionaries Unbound’ series, saw more than 20 what are termed 'thought leaders' explore future trends and obstacles to restoring our natural ecosystems. Visionaries Unbound is funded by and hosted at the Rockefeller Foundation’s Bellagio Center, and organised with the participation of The Economist Intelligence Unit.

Lauretta Burke, senior associate in the People and Ecosystems Program at the World Resources Institute said: “The value of ‘natural capital’ is not fully captured in markets because much of what nature provides for us has been treated as low-cost or free. Though timber is priced, many services forests provide – absorbing carbon dioxide, filtering water and stabilizing soil – are not captured in prices. We would manage ecosystems more sustainably if we had a more complete understanding and appreciation of the full range of benefits ecosystems provide.”

Other dovetailing trends, such as new ways to collect data and new financial models, will also make possible more resilient and inclusive approaches to managing ecosystem resources, participants added.

Participants at “Revaluing ecosystems” included Holly T Dublin, director of strategies at The B Team, a consultancy that works with private companies on environmental profit-and-loss statements; Agnes C de Jesus, senior vice president at the Energy Development Corporation in the Philippines, a geothermal energy provider; and Luc Gnacadja, former assistant-secretary-general and executive secretary at the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification.

“Revaluing ecosystems” was convened by the World Resources Institute and Forum for the Future, a sustainability-focused nongovernmental organisation, and took place in November 2013.

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