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Faculty of Economics

Nations will have to rethink economic growth as a measure of success if they want to make good on pledges to halt the destruction of the natural world, according to a report co-authored by Prof Dasgupta.


Professor, Sir Partha Dasgupta

The Dasgupta Review suggests the world is being put at risk by the failure of economics to take account of the rapid depletion of the natural world and new measures are needed to avoid a catastrophic breakdown

The independent, global review presents a new economic framework, grounded in ecology and Earth Sciences, in order to understand the sustainability of our engagement with Nature, and identify the options humanity has to enhance biodiversity and prosperity.

Emeritus Professor, Sir Partha Dasgupta, the Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus of Economics at the Faculty of Economics at the University of Cambridge, who led the study, and the Nobel-prize winning biologist Sir Venki Ramakrishnan, want governments to place extra weight on their calls to place ecosystems at the centre of economic decision-making.

Call to transform economics to halt natural world destruction

The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review, was commissioned by the UK Government.

The report finds biodiversity is declining faster than at any time in human history. Since 1970, there has been on average almost a 70% decline in the populations of mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, and amphibians. It is thought that one million animal and plant species - almost a quarter of the global total - are threatened with extinction.

These losses in biodiversity are undermining the productivity, resilience and adaptability of nature. This is in turn putting economies, livelihoods and well-being at risk.

“GDP does not account for the depreciation of assets, including the natural environment,” the report says. “As our primary measure of economic success, it therefore encourages us to pursue unsustainable economic growth and development.” Instead, Professor Dasgupta proposes a concept of so-called ‘inclusive wealth’ that would better reflect the health of a country’s assets, and this would include its natural assets.

The authors also call for new ways of assessing a value put on the benefits that nature provides, such as clean air and fertile soils, which would enable policy-makers to better assess trade-offs to, for example, pollination.

“Nature is our home, and good economics demands we manage it better,” says Professor Dasgupta.




Climate Change


Economic Growth