We have yet to see whether international leaders have given this idea the consideration it deserves and how they will respond to the findings of the Dasgupta journal published earlier this year, which is widely regarded as a seminal work on the economics of nature. .
Closer to home, there are opportunities to make progress on these important issues.
The SNP said in its manifesto for the Holyrood elections that in the “first six months of the next Parliament, we will present a new 10-year national strategy for economic transformation”.
Time is already running out for this commitment. If it is to achieve its grand ambition, the Scottish government must take Dasgupta’s conclusions to heart and recognize that our economy is rooted in nature.
Not only do we need to transform the way we manage global commons, but we also need to make sure we do it at the national level and prevent our demands on nature from exceeding supply by investing in nature-based solutions. .
In addition, we need to redefine our measure of economic success to include natural assets that are vital to our current and future well-being.
For advice on how to apply this thinking in Scotland, the Scottish government need look no further than advice from its own independent advisory group on economic recovery.
In a report last year, this group said the government “should consider adopting a four capitals framework to develop and report on its future economic strategy,” where the four are natural, human, social capital. and economical.
Although the Scottish Government accepted this advice, its initial response lacked details and new initiatives.
With a new Parliament comes new opportunities. There is still time to get it right, even though time is running out to take meaningful action to avert the climate and biodiversity crisis.
As Sir David Attenborough commented “By bringing together economics and ecology, we can help save the natural world at what may be the last minute – and in so doing, save ourselves”.
The Scottish government could do worse than turn to New Zealand, its partner in the Wellbeing Economy Governments partnership.
Their framework of living standards has the four capitals at its heart. Detail the monitoring framework and biodiversity is one of the key indicators to assess trends in natural capital.
With COP26 in Glasgow just a few months away, Scotland has the opportunity to show the world how to take a holistic approach to managing our economy and putting nature at the heart of the new economic strategy.
What better way to achieve this than by setting legally binding targets for biodiversity, which will reverse the decline in nature that we have caused.
As Dasgupta points out, Adam Smith, considered by some to be the founding father of the economy, considers the wealth of nations, not their GDP.
What could be more appropriate than to let Smith’s homeland pave the way for crafting a more inclusive and holistic measure of wealth and make an unequivocal commitment to reversing the decline in biodiversity.
– Dougie Peedle is the Policy Officer at the Scottish Wildlife Trust