At the first World Forum on Natural Capital, business and conservation leaders debated the economic value of nature…The wildlife conference came under attack for ‘selling off nature to ultinationals’… “Billions of people around the world depend on free access to forests, rivers and fertile soils for their survival. Putting a price on these common resources leaves all of us more exposed to the forces of the global economy.”
An international conference in Edinburgh aimed at conserving wildlife came under attack from campaign groups for trying to “sell off nature” to multinational corporations. The first World Forum on Natural Capital on 21-22 November attracted business and conservation leaders to debate how to give natural resources a monetary value to try and protect them. But it sparked opposition from groups across Europe, who planned a “counter forum” to combat the idea that nature should become a commodity to be traded by business. The official forum’s headline sponsor, the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), also drew drawn criticism because of its multi-billion pound backing for climate-polluting companies.
The counter forum was been planned for 21 November by three groups campaigning against big business involvement in protecting the planet. They are the World Development Movement (WDM) in the UK; Counter Balance, which brings together groups from across Europe; and the Italian campaign, Re:Common. “The presence of big business, such as RBS, Coca Cola, Rio Tinto and KPMG, at the World Forum on Natural Capital exposes the event’s real purpose – putting a price on nature so that a small minority can profit,” said WDM’s director, Nick Dearden. “Billions of people around the world depend on free access to forests, rivers and fertile soils for their survival. Putting a price on these common resources leaves all of us more exposed to the forces of the global economy.”
Dr Richard Dixon, the director of Friends of the Earth Scotland, said that RBS could not be seen as a “credible sponsor” for the forum until it produced a plan for ending its £40bn pound investments in fossil fuel companies. RBS declined to comment, but the forum’s organisers, the Scottish Wildlife Trust (SWT), welcomed debate. A majority of environmental charities now accepted that the economic value of nature could no longer remain invisible, SWT argued. “If we are to reverse ecosystem degradation and potentially catastrophic biodiversity loss, we need move out of our comfort zone, and we need to move fast,” said SWT’s head of conservation and the forum’s programme director, Jonathan Hughes. “The corporate world needs to be part of the solution.”
– The Guardian : Wildlife conference under attack for ‘selling off nature to multinationals’