Valuating corporate capital

Is nature ‘priceless’ or should we embrace natural capital accounting?  September 24, 2017 – 03:04 am
It was in response to customer concerns over increasing materialism, so the story goes, that credit card company Mastercard launched its long-running ‘Priceless’ advertising campaign in 1997. Across radio, TV and printed media, the catchphrase was repeated, drummed into our heads; “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.”

The campaign was hugely successful – and widely parodied. Clearly it struck a chord.

How to value ‘stuff’ has been challenging economists since Malthus. Are things really ‘priceless’, as Mastercard proclaims, or can we legitimately put monetary value on just about anything?

My gut reaction as a reactionary environmentalist is to go with Mastercard.

How can you price a species or an ecosystem?

Of course, you can’t. To suggest that something which is, in all practical senses, irreplaceable can be somehow restored given sufficient cash is – without a doubt – absurd.

So, what is to be made of the renewed interest in natural capital accounting (NCA)?

It does exactly what is says on the tin; assigns a financial value to the use of natural resources and ecosystems.  NCA created a huge buzz recently at Rio + 20 where more than 90 companies and 35 countries signed a declaration agreeing to develop and maintain their own natural capital accounts.

Source: blog.greenwisebusiness.co.uk

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