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What is nature worth? The answer to this question—which traditionally has been framed in environmental terms—is revolutionizing the way we do business.
In Nature’s Fortune, Mark Tercek, CEO of The Nature Conservancy and former investment banker, and science writer Jonathan Adams argue that nature is not only the foundation of human well-being, but also the smartest commercial investment any business or government can make
Nature’s Fortune is grounded in one simple truth: nature is economically valuable. Organizations not only depend on the environment for key resources—water, trees, and land, for example—but they can also reap substantial commercial benefits in the form of risk mitigation, cost reduction, new investment opportunities, and the protection of assets. In other words, the forests, floodplains, and oyster reefs often seen simply as raw materials or as obstacles to be cleared in the name of progress are, in fact as important to our future prosperity as technology or law or business innovation.
This understanding of “natural capital”—nature as a quantifiable asset—has the potential to motivate entire industries to invest in nature on a new level, which could, in turn, exponentially accelerate the environmental progress of the last several decades.
Tercek discovered this firsthand when, in 2005, then-Goldman Sachs CEO Henry M. Paulson tapped him to build and lead the firm’s first environmental effort not in the name of Corporate Social Responsibility, but pure business. In the book, he challenges public and private sector leaders to shift their thinking on conservation from a “why?” to a “how?” mindset—specifically, how to account for nature in financial terms, and then incorporate that value into the organization’s decisions and activities, just as habitually as they consider cost, revenue, and ROI.
Nature’s Fortune shows how viewing nature as green infrastructure allows for breakthroughs not only in conservation—protecting water supplies; enhancing the health of fisheries; making cities more sustainable, livable, and safe; and dealing with unavoidable climate change—but in economic progress, as well. Once leaders learn how to account for nature in financial terms, they can incorporate that value into the organization’s decisions and activities, just as habitually as they consider cost, revenue, and ROI.
A must-read for business leaders, CEOs, investors, and environmentalists alike, Nature’s Fortune offers an essential guide to the world’s economic—and environmental—well-being.