Nature Inc: Putting a Price on the Priceless

13 June 2008 | News story

On 13 June 2008, a new TV series goes to air on BBC World News on the cash value of the services ecosystems provide to the man-made global economy. According to one estimate it could be as much as $60 trillion, more than the total value of global GDP. Nature Inc is supported by IUCN, through its large network of scientists and its knowledge database.  

Nature Inc. takes its lead from Vermont University’s Robert Costanza and other environmental economists who have worked out that nature’s services are worth more than the economies of all the countries of the world combined. 

 

“Some skeptics believe putting a dollar value on nature is immoral and politically incorrect” says series producer, Robert Lamb. “But there’s a growing body of opinions from the current German Chancellor to leading businessmen and merchant bankers that nature’s services – from clean water to species diversity – should go on the books.”

 

“The figures are controversial, but we want them to be”, says Richard Norgaard of Berkeley University in California who is interviewed in the first programme. “We want people to think about the value of nature.”

 

Professor Bob Watson, Chief Science adviser to the UK Environment Ministry is deeply sceptical about the calculations of Costanza and the other eco-economists: “But what he has done, is wake us up to the contribution ecological services make to our economic welfare.”

 

“With more and more players beginning to accept that species extinction and other forms of ecological destruction are undermining economic growth, there is growing public interest which we expect to turn into big audiences for the series,” adds Robert Lamb of One Planet Pictures.

 

Nature Inc is supported by leading environmental organizations, such as the International Union for Conservation of Nature. “IUCN is pleased to contribute its expertise and wide network of scientists to the series advisory board,” says Mario Laguë, Head of Global Communications.

 

In the first six episodes in the series Nature Inc. reports on:

 

· how the honeybee population crashes, threatening the $2billion almond industry in California;

· how hillside forests are putting freshwater on tap, saving billions of dollars on water pumping and purification plants for the world’s expanding cities;

· the claim that coral reefs are worth $30 billion a year and supplying more than 500 million people with food and work - reports from around the world reveal how countries are slowly waking up to the value of reefs to their economies;

· how failing to stop invasive species is costing the global economy a staggering $1.4 trillion a year. We feature a cast of leading villains from cane toads in Australia to love grass in Brazil.

 

“In this view our manufacturing and agricultural economy is a sub-division of nature, and yet it has been largely left off the books. In a world of international business channels, this struck us as a rich seam for TV and BBC World News” says Geneva-based Dev TV co-producer, Bernard Robert Charrue. “We got lift off when the Swiss watch company, Audemars Piguet, came on board with a 3 year sponsorship commitment to 2010, the International Year of Biodiversity.”

 

“Nature Inc. is a fresh take on the environment as for each story we apply the test, what’s the cost and what’s the saving?” says series producer, Krisztina Katona. “And we come up with surprising answers, finding that there are pioneers out there making ‘green’ profits for themselves and their communities.”

 

After broadcast 5 times per week on BBC World News, French and Arabic versions will go out on TV5 Monde and Med1 Sat. Claire Warmenbol, development manager for the project, adds that “Nature Inc will be fully interactive with video streaming and podcasts on a dedicated Nature Inc. site www.natureinc.org, with room to post full interviews, new stories and developments even when the series is off air.”

 

 

For more information, please contact:

 

Claire Warmenbol, One Planet Pictures, 20 Eastcastle Street, London W1W 8DB, UK

Ph: +44 (0)20 7580 1211, Email: claire@oneplanetpictures.co.uk

 

To watch preview of Nature Inc, click this YouTube link: http://www.youtube.com/user/OnePlanetPictures

 

BBC World News Link: http://www.bbcworld.com