The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) Reports (2008 and onwards)
Environment Ministers from the G8 plus five countries agreed in 2007 to ‘initiate the process of analysing the global economic benefit of biological diversity, the cost of the loss of biodiversity and the failure to take protective measures, versus the cost of effective conservation’.
From this The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) study emerged. The first TEEB report discusses the importance of assigning economic value to biodiversity and the benefits it provides, be it ecosystem services, such as reed beds/wetlands cleaning water, or the production of food through insect pollination, etc.
The report goes on to discuss how valuing biodiversity, and the ecosystem services it provides, in monetary terms will allow more informed decisions to be made at a local, regional or national level when considering environmental issues and scarce environmental resources.
There is some way to go between the publication of the TEEB report and direct impacts on infrastructure development.
However, the process of assigning a monetary value to biodiversity, and the ecosystem services it provides, could impact on such development in the future. For example, in the future it may be that an element of biodiversity is not only assigned a nature conservation value during the EIA process, but also a monetary value. It could also be used to assist and inform any biodiversity offsetting and make it harder to locate developments on or close to key areas of biodiversity.
Since the original publication there has been a series of further TEEB publications which relate TEEB to a number of areas including (i) Local and Regional Policy and Management; and (ii) Business and Enterprise.