We've published a new blog over on the Green Economy Coalition site, from the UNDP Biodiversity Finance Initiative's Tracey Cumming, in which she argues that safeguarding nature requires more than just conservation spending - and explores how the economic rules of the game must be transformed to properly incentivise sustainability.
Here's a snapshot:
"Governments spend far more money on subsidies harmful to biodiversity, than they spend on conserving and restoring ecosystems. The private sector displays similar cognitive dissonance. While a subset of consumers are increasingly demanding sustainable products, and there is a growth in companies with green credentials, there will always be consumers and producers happy to forgo sustainability concerns for a cheaper product; a higher profit margin; or a larger share of the market. ‘Greener’ businesses may find a niche market, but environmental destruction will continue, as other companies fill the gap.
And – in our current economic environment – that’s arguably the best-case scenario possible. In fact, in many cases, product differentiation based on sustainability is not possible, and corporations and the financiers backing them are driven by short-term priorities. Here, businesses choosing more sustainable pathways are penalised by the market, as competitors willing to sacrifice environmental scruples will win on short-term profits and market share, in a ‘race to the bottom’. First movers are being penalised by failed markets, making it difficult to take sustainability into account."