How much is this planet worth? This is the real value of nature
Global gross domestic product (GDP) has quadrupled since 1970, enabling immense progress, and lifting billions of people out of poverty. However, material productivity, defined as GDP relative to material and energy inputs, has stagnated since the turn of the century, tying any increase in economic growth to an equivalent increase in resource extraction.
A global economy fuelled by consumption is unsustainable. An estimated 23% of global GDP and 16% of employment originate from the extraction, production, manufacturing and generation of energy and materials. Our untenable practices also extend into food production, supply and consumption. Healthy soils, for example, are the basis of our food production. But with a third of our soils being degraded, food security around the world is at risk. Agriculture is responsible for over 80% of deforestation and at the same time 35% of food produced is either wasted or lost. The economic and societal structures we have built are pushing planetary boundaries to tipping points. It's time for them to change.
Bringing us back within the safe operating space of natural systems’ ability to cope will not be easy. But governments, businesses, scientists, civil society and citizens must come together to take transformative action now.