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Envisioning and modeling a green economy

Worldwide, as evidence of ecological damage and economic costs has mounted, interest in identifying alternatives to ‘business-as-usual’ has also increased.

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A ‘green economy’ can be seen as a new economic paradigm, driving growth of income and jobs, while reducing environmental risks and scarcities—in short, delivering sustainable development.

Such an economy would sharply reduce or even reverse environmental damage, while also mitigating climate change or aiding adaptation to it. It is an alternative economy, based on acknowledgement of the value of nature for people and incorporation of natural capital into economic policy and private sector decision making.

The concept of a green economy has developed largely in response to the need for low-carbon development strategies. However, in addition to being dramatically less carbon intensive, a green economy, particularly in forested nations such as Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, must fully value natural capital as an engine of sustainable development.

Implementing a green economy requires accounting for the contribution of nature to GDP and rethinking capital allocations, incentives, markets and development indicators.

What would it cost to shift the path of development from its current, unsustainable trajectory onto a more sustainable, green economy pathway? And what would be the impacts on economic growth, jobs and other economic and social outcomes?

Can societies afford to put in place a green economy? Can we afford not to?

Finding the answer is an essential step in gathering political will and consensus for what will inevitably be a challenging shift in economic direction and priorities.

A green economy...

Increases human well-being and social equity while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities.
Delivers inclusive growth while sustaining natural capital to provide food, water, climate, soil and resource security.
Delivers on development priorities of local and national governments for the benefit of society, particularly its most impoverished segments.
Secures more natural stocks for future use, enhances the provision of goods for revenue generation opportunities and avoids costs associated with damaged ecosystem services.