Ann Pettifor

Enterprise and the environment – compatible?

I am privileged to be a speaker at the World Forum on Enterprise and the Environment, hosted by Sir David King of the Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment, Oxford. Sir David today has a column in the Guardian in which he calls on Prime Minister David Cameron to exercise leadership on the global stage.   Ah….leadership. A rare thing.

I am here to argue, once again, that ‘we can afford what we can do’ and that UNEP’s calculations of the costs of de-carbonising the economy over the next 50 years are eminently affordable…provided of course, that we get a grip on that great public good: the finance sector. But so long as we fumble about, trying to mobilise and direct pension funds and other ‘savings’ towards these life-saving activities…for so long shall we have a blind spot for the real answer to financing de-carbonisation.

PepsiCo’s Dr. Derek Yach is chairing this morning, and reports that their CEO – Indra Nooyi – asked the company’s chief legal officer to investigate PepsiCo’s legal obligations in relation to the environment. The lawyer concluded that given that companies were granted a license ‘in perpetuity’ – they therefore had obligations to ‘perpetuity’….Interesting.

Rt Hon. Simon Upton (a New Zealander) Director OECD – argues, refreshingly, that there is no such thing as international regulation – only national regulation….Now arguing that the  1st thing we have to do for green growth is get rid of subsidies. Second, scale up finance for biodiversity – graph on current investments including environment-related ODA  – which is stagnant, if not falling.

Now we have Colombia’s Ms Sandra Bessudo, President Juan Manuel Santos’s environmental adviser.  Colombia is doing the right thing, says Ms Bessudo, and the President wants to prioritise job creation and the environment. Colombia wants to belong to the OECD….’we need the international community to help us, and invest….Please visit’ she ends with.

Now Robert Peccoud, Research Director of Agence Française de Développment – since 1995 – is racing through his presentation….very few clear, consistent financial commitments made by countries for biodiversity, he notes. ODA funds for biodiversity, can e.g. go to build a road to boost tourism….

Questions for Ms Bessudo on addressing biodiversity challenges in the midst of armed conflict. Today, we have a much safer country, she says. Within the ministry of defence there is an area working on the defence of biodiversity and ecosystems, she says.

We now move on to ‘the new economy toolbox’ with Pavan Sukhdev, founder and CEO GIST advisory and McCluskey Fellow, 2011, Yale University.  True Cost calculate that externalities of top 3,000 corporations: 2.2 trillion – 1/3 of profits of these companies. (Private Profits, Public Losses).

REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) important that we get that right, he says: REDD mixes social as well as ecological solutions.

Get away from some of our hang-ups, e.g. arguing about ‘fungibility’ ….Political challenge: recognising importance of ecological infrastructure…GIST…we have to look at the ecological infrastructure…targeting social returns on investment….ecosystem restoration is a huge benefit…about spending public money on public wealth…nothing to stop governments from doing this, but one of the biggest stumbling blocks he has come acros….TEEB reports: – a community, funders, UNEP etc…’.Valuations’ vs ‘Marketization’….you don’t have to look at markets…as in classical, supply-driven and liquid markets.

Mr James Griffiths of WBCSD (World Business Council for Sustainable Development) 200 global company members…with US$7 trillion sales revenue. $190 billion a year – the benefit of insects in the US….bigger than Walmart’s contribution to the US economy! …What can companies do, etc…

Dr Trista Patterson, Economist….Apologies readers: someone, more likely, something, stole my text….and Dr. Patterson’s contribution was so interesting….Will try and retrieve it.


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