Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Heart of Borneo: Investing in Nature for a Green Economy

KUCHING: WWF’s Heart of Borneo global initiative and a consortium of partners have produced a report to ‘chart the course’ for a sustainable green economic future for the planet.

‘The Heart of Borneo (HoB): Investing in Nature for a Green Economy’ is a practical regional guide on how future economic growth can be achieved while protecting the values of ecosystems and biodiversity of Borneo.

WWF describes in a press release that the Heart of Borneo as “a 220,000 sq km treasure trove of unique and often endangered animal and plant species, on the world’s third biggest island of Borneo.”

The report highlights environmental costs and forgone revenues in the current economy and shows how the valuing of ‘natural capital’ supports the building of local economies.

It also presents policy options and economic instruments, as well as on-the-ground targets and indicators necessary to build green economies across Borneo.

In particular, the report highlights the current unsustainable practices of the forestry, palm oil and mining sectors which are having far reaching impacts on other sectors.

However, the aim is not to criticise these industries, but to highlight that their erosion of natural capital leads to a corresponding erosion of long-term economic viability.

These sectors are vital to economic growth, but must embed sustainability within their practices to remain engines of growth in the future.

Other sectors which ought to flourish (and should be given incentives to do so) in an economy that values natural capital are community run biodiversity enterprises, bio-banking, bio-prospecting, as well as many other innovative green businesses which can reduce pressures for deforestation.

According to economic modelling, featured in the report, under a Business-as-Usual (BAU) scenario, by 2020 the environmental costs of economic growth are estimated to outweigh revenues from the use of natural capital.