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New study finds investing in nature improves equity, boosts economy
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A new study shows that current trends in environmental degradation will lead to large economic losses in the coming decades, hitting the poorest countries hardest. But there is hope: investing in nature can turn those losses into gains.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota and Purdue University published their findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The team developed a first-of-its-kind, global earth-economy model to capture interactions between the economy and the environment. Crucially, these interactions include how nature benefits humans by pollinating crops, providing timber, storing carbon, and providing catch for marine fisheries, and how those benefits end up affecting the economy overall.
"We have long thought of the economy and the environment as working against each other," said Justin Johnson, an assistant professor of Applied Economics at the University of Minnesota. "Investing in nature does not stifle the economy, it boosts the economy. But it has been difficult to model those interactions until recently."

The researchers found:
- Policy options for investing in nature resulted in annual gains of $100–350 billion (2014 USD), with the largest percentage increases in GDP occurring in low-income countries. The policy options examined in this study include removing agricultural subsidies, financing research into improving crop yields and international payments from wealthy countries to poorer countries to support conservation.
- Continued trends in environmental degradation, on the other hand, would result in $75 billion losses annually, with the low-income countries suffering from 0.2% losses in GDP year on year.
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  • Adam Wallin

    49 w

    The economic argument for investing in our environment is becoming clearer and clearer, this information needs to reach policymakers worldwide and voters all over need to show them that they care. That's the only way to make the transition as profitable as it can be.

    • Marine Stephan

      49 w

      Very interesting study, thanks for sharing! Investing in nature is the answer to many issues, so why aren't we doing it?

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