Review report led by Cambridge economist calls for more ‘sustainable’ and ‘inclusive’ measures of wealth and economic success

Ryan Coppack 6 February 2021
Image Credits: Wikimedia Commons

A review report led by Professor Sir Partha Dasgupta, a world-leading economist at the University of Cambridge, calls for the use of a much broader range of success metrics than gross domestic product (GDP), which it calls a ‘faulty application of economics’. The report says that ‘nature is a blind spot in economics that we ignore at our peril’, and economists should instead make greater use of ‘inclusive wealth measures’.

The 600-page report, ‘The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review’, published on 2 February 2021 has pressed that economics and economic decision-making needs to place nature at the centre of its focus.

The report calls for several ‘options for change’, including encouraging the use of more sustainable supply chains, ensuring that the global financial system has the capacity to ‘support’ not exploit nature and the environment, and through creating beneficial institutions at the local and international level.

Commenting on the report, Professor Dasgupta said, ‘truly sustainable economic growth and development means recognising that our long-term prosperity relies on rebalancing our demand of nature’s goods and services with its capacity to supply them. It also means accounting fully for the impact of our interactions with nature across all levels of society. COVID-19 has shown us what can happen when we don’t do this’.

In the foreword to the report, Sir David Attenborough said, ‘economics is a discipline that shapes decisions of the utmost consequence, and so matters to us all. The Dasgupta Review at last puts biodiversity at its core and provides the compass that we urgently need. In doing so, it shows us how, by bringing economics and ecology together, we can help save the natural world at what may be the last minute – and in doing so, save ourselves’.

Responding to the report, the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, said, ‘this year is critical in determining whether we can stop and reverse the concerning trend of fast-declining biodiversity. I welcome Professor Dasgupta’s Review, which makes clear that protecting and enhancing nature needs more than good intentions – it requires concerted, co-ordinated action’.