​The Economics of Biodiversity: Call for Evidence

23 August 2019

A call for evidence from a new independent global review on the Economics of Biodiversity is open. 

The review on the Economics of Biodiversity, commissioned by the UK Government, will be led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta and will report ahead of the 15th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in China in October 2020.

The Dasgupta Review will be based on a thorough consideration of robust, relevant, up-to-date evidence, including the existing work of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES), the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment and The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB).

The Review will:

• assess the economic benefits of biodiversity globally

• assess the economic costs and risks of biodiversity loss

• identify a range of actions that can simultaneously enhance biodiversity and deliver economic prosperity

Announcing the Dasgupta Review, Simon Clarke MP said: “There’s an urgent need to better understand the intricate relationship between human wealth and welfare, and the environment’s biodiversity and ecosystems…We need to get to grips with the nature of value, and the value of nature.”

Responding to the call

The consultation consists of 20 questions with a maximum response of 400 words per question. You may also add links to supporting evidence and you are encouraged to focus on sending only the best available evidence. You do not need to answer all the questions – only those where you have specific expertise and evidence to share. 

The consultation closes on the 6 November 2019. Full details of the consultation can be found on Gov.uk and you can send responses to any, or all, of the questions to: biodiversityreview@hmtreasury.gov.uk.

Call for Evidence Questions

Part 1: Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Science and Evidence

Question 1 (Biodiversity and Ecosystem Service Science): IPBES assessments and GEO6 will form an important part of the Review’s assessment of the state of biodiversity, the biosphere and its ability to deliver ecosystem services. What further evidence should the Review consider in this area? What does the scientific evidence on global biodiversity and ecosystem condition decline suggest about the Earth’s ability to continue providing services essential to human prosperity over different time periods?

Question 2 (Limits): What is the best available evidence on the regenerative rates and carrying capacity of ecosystems e.g. fisheries? What is the best evidence on, and most compelling examples of, maximum sustainable yields, and where ecosystem thresholds and tipping points have been shown to affect sustainable economic growth?

Part 2: Biodiversity and Economic Prosperity​

Question 3 (Biodiversity and Economic Prosperity – Conceptual Framework): Biodiversity supports the provision of many ecosystem services, which are important for economic prosperity and growth. Economic growth also affects the demand for, and supply of, the Earth’s resources.  What conceptual frameworks and typologies clearly describe the relationship between biodiversity, ecosystem productivity and resilience, ecosystem services, economic prosperity and economic growth? Where have these frameworks been applied to reveal critical relationships? What are the most critical aspects of these relationships for the Dasgupta Review?

Question 4 (Biodiversity and the SDGs): What are the links between biodiversity and economic prosperity that are most critical to synergies and trade-offs across the SDGs? How should sustainable economic growth be defined and measured given the evidence of how the SDGs and economic prosperity are affected by biodiversity loss? The review is interested in relevant links with biodiversity and economic growth across all the SDGs, particularly climate mitigation and adaptation, poverty reduction, food production, human health and wellbeing, consumption and production, and gender and broader inequalities.

Question 5 (Impacts of Biodiversity Loss on Sustainable Economic Growth): What is the best evidence on the sustainability of current global economic growth, based on current rates of biodiversity loss? How much (if any) biodiversity loss needs to be stopped and/or reversed to achieve sustainable economic growth? Please reference any evidence or analysis that underpins your answers.

Question 6 (Benefits of Tackling Biodiversity Loss and Costs of Inaction): What is the best evidence on the economic benefits of biodiversity? What evidence exists on who benefits from biodiversity? What positive business cases (win-wins) exist for tackling biodiversity loss e.g. impacts on jobs, productivity, income, human health outcomes? Conversely, what is the best evidence on the costs of current trajectories of biodiversity loss? What evidence is there of the distribution of these costs within and between countries?

Question 7 (Cost and Risks of Action): What evidence exists of ‘transition risks’ from moving to actions needed to protect, restore and enhance biodiversity? What is the best evidence on the costs of these actions? What evidence suggests who will be most affected by these costs and risks?

Question 8 (Opportunities from Tackling Biodiversity Loss): How can new technology assist with restoring biodiversity, while simultaneously delivering economic prosperity? e.g. artificial intelligence, biotechnology. What economic opportunities exist from protecting, restoring and enhancing biodiversity? e.g. learning from nature (biomimicry), biopharma, among others.

Question 9 (Economic and Finance Decision Makers): Which sectors of the economy rely most on biodiversity and ecosystem services? How are they affected by biodiversity decline? Please provide strong case and/or sectoral examples and evidence on how changes in biodiversity (loss or gain) has affected, or been affected by, economic and finance decision-making.

Part 3: Causes of Biodiversity Loss

Question 10 (Market and Institutional Failures): What are the main market and institutional failures affecting biodiversity? What is the best evidence (including case examples) that illustrate these failures?

Question 11 (Economic Sectors): Which economic sectors have the biggest impact on biodiversity loss? Which economic sectors are most affected by biodiversity loss? Please reference evidence and analysis (including case examples) that underpin and illustrate your answers.

Question 12 (Time): What evidence exists to suggest that balancing short and long timescales is a challenge for decision-making affecting biodiversity? Please provide evidence (including case examples) where short-term decisions have harmed biodiversity. How does this vary for different ecosystems and/or sectors? What should be the approach to discounting for actions that affect biodiversity?

Question 13 (Business): What is the best evidence on the role the private sector (including the financial sector) plays in driving biodiversity loss and the direct and indirect impacts it has on biodiversity loss? What evidence shows the effect of biodiversity on firms’ and investors’ risks and/or returns in the short, medium and long term?

Part 4: Actions to Tackle Biodiversity Loss and Support Economic Prosperity

Question 14 (Valuation and Accounting): Please provide evidence (including case examples) where marginal valuation, natural capital assessments and accounts are helping policy-makers and the private sector to improve decision making in ways that enhance biodiversity and deliver economic prosperity. What evidence exists on the factors that are most critical for this type of information to improve decision-making?

Question 15 (Behaviour): What are the critical factors affecting people’s behaviours that affect biodiversity? What affects the speed and scale of this behaviour change? What evidence exists for individual preferences versus social or ‘socially-embedded’ preferences (to conform or compete with others)? Please provide the strongest examples where policy makers and the private sector have effectively incentivised behaviour change to reduce biodiversity loss.

Question 16 (Fiscal Policy and Regulation): What are strong examples of fiscal and regulatory policy instruments that have simultaneously enhanced biodiversity and supported economic prosperity? What is the best evidence on the impact and effectiveness of these actions? The review is interested in examples at all scales, including regulation, planning, taxation and government spending, including subsidies.

Question 17 (Trade, Aid, International Finance and Climate): What measures can be taken to bridge across geographic boundaries when biodiversity loss in one location is driven by action or consumption elsewhere? What evidence exists on how international trade policy, aid policy, and international financial transfers can tackle biodiversity loss? What are the potential win-wins in also tackling climate mitigation and adaptation with such policies and transfers?

Question 18 (Private Sector and Finance): What are the most effective actions that the private sector generally, and finance sector specifically, can take and have taken that both enhance biodiversity and deliver economic prosperity? What actions should government take to enable the private sector and finance to take these actions? What evidence exists on the impact on biodiversity loss and economic prosperity of rules on financial disclosure, standards and certification schemes, and policies affecting investment decisions?

Question 19 (Technology): What technologies are proving effective for ecosystem restoration and management while also supporting economic prosperity?  What is the role for technological change in the short, medium and long-term to improve consumption and production efficiency? Note the review is interested in technologies across a broad range of sectors that have implications for biodiversity e.g. food production technologies.

Question 20 (Other Comments): Please provide any other comments or evidence you think the Dasgupta Review should consider in its advice on how simultaneously to enhance biodiversity and achieve economic prosperity. The review welcomes evidence on where economic and financial decision makers in both the public and private sector can have the greatest impact.