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Pushpam Kumar, Chief, Ecosystem Services Economics Unit, UNEP explains why we need to value the wealth of natural capital.


“Nairobi, 29 July 2016: With the endorsement of a resolution on Sustainable Management of Natural Capital for Sustainable Development and Poverty Reduction during the recently held United Nations Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya, a new era of correcting the compass to measure sustainable human well-being has begun.

Conventional income (the market value of output during a fixed period in a given region) has been treated as a proxy for human well-being for too long. The limitations of the system of national accounts – where pollution abatement activities show up as income and biodiversity loss goes unnoticed – are becoming better understood.

From an environmental sustainability perspective, traditional income measurement is defective because it only partially treats natural capital stock in its coverage. While wealth (and natural capital) is a stock, income is a flow (a return on wealth). Understanding this difference is critical. Conventional GDP is adept at measuring flow, but it can only partially measure wealth…”

Read on at: United Nations Environment Programme

For more information, please contact: Pushpam Kumar: Pushpam.Kumar@unep.org