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The Dasgupta Review: transforming the global economy for a nature-positive future

The Dasgupta Review on the Economics of Biodiversity, published in February 2021, is an independent, global review on the economics of biodiversity commissioned by the UK Treasury, and led by Professor Partha Dasgupta (Frank Ramsey Professor Emeritus, University of Cambridge). WWF welcomed the review, which provides a profoundly important message to humanity about how we need to change our economic models and policy making if future generations are to prosper.

We also fed in a wide range of evidence to the review, and provided advice and input in several thematic areas (e.g. on economic risks from nature loss, system change, financial sector reform). We also published our formal response to the review’s launch, identifying a series of priority next steps the UK government can take to put the review’s findings into action (e.g. supporting a new Global Commission for Economy and Nature). We are also helping to build political support for action post-launch, for example through events with Business for Nature and Capitals Coalition.

To read WWF UK’s formal response to the review, please click here.

Global Futures: Modelling the global economic impacts of environmental change to support policy-making

Global Futures is a landmark study using cutting-edge modelling to explore the global economic impacts of natural capital depletion. It adds significant new weight to warnings that the continued loss of nature under ‘business as usual’ will have severe economic consequences, and that economies must invest in nature for future global economic prosperity. This innovative project was a partnership between WWF, the Global Trade Analysis Project (GTAP) and the Natural Capital Project.

The work used new economic and environmental modelling to calculate the costs of nature’s decline across 140 countries and all key industry sectors. Taking six crucial ecosystem services that nature provides (including the supply of water for agriculture; supply of timber; marine fisheries; pollination of crops; protection from flooding, storm surges and erosion; and carbon storage to help protect us from climate change), the report analyses the future costs to world economies of failing to act on the destruction of our environment and biodiversity loss. To find out more, please click here.

The findings have been extensively shared with government, industry and influencers around the world. The World Bank used the model for further analysis to support engagement in global policy discussions and findings from this further work were also reported in the Dasgupta Review. The work was also integral to the launch of a new Climate and Nature Sovereign Index, developed by Ninety One and WWF UK, which used data from Global Futures and other sources to outline risks to economies and investors related to climate and the environment, on a country-by-country basis.

Building a Resilient Economy: Analysing options for systemic change to transform the world’s economic and financial systems after the pandemic

This report identifies a series of priority actions the UK government can take to drive systemic change towards a sustainable and resilient economic model – both for its domestic economy and to help drive change at an international level. The work was commissioned by WWF UK and led by ZOE-Institute for future-fit economies (ZOE) in cooperation with the New Economics Foundation (NEF) and the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WeAll).

Based on a comprehensive review of global literature, the report identifies the key areas of change required to bring about the transition, and then identifies a set of more immediate policy changes that the UK government could take to start the journey – e.g. introduce a UK wellbeing budget, modernising the UK’s fiscal framework and rules to embed sustainability, and mandatory financial risk assessment/disclosure, and new taxes (land-value tax, environmental border taxes).

It argues that this targeted policy package, which is readily implementable in the UK and highly applicable in other economies, will help to catalyse positive sustainable economic reform as part of COVID-19 recovery efforts.

To find out more, please click here.

Influencing UK fiscal and budgetary processes

The UK government’s fiscal framework (comprising fiscal rules, independent fiscal institutions and budgetary processes, including spending and taxation) is one of the key levers it has for shaping the economy. It has also been a focus for WWF’s advocacy efforts for many years.

Recently, WWF organised an expert workshop to discuss potential reforms to the UK’s fiscal framework to help address long-term climate and environmental risks and to help accelerate a sustainable and resilient economic recovery. The event was attended by representatives from HM Treasury, International Monetary Fund, Institute for Fiscal Studies, Office for Budgetary Responsibility, government committees, industry bodies, think tanks, universities and NGOs.

WWF UK is also promoting the adoption of net zero test by the UK government, to help assess and monitor alignment of public spending with the UK’s decarbonisation commitments.

Our submission to the government’s call for evidence for the 2020 Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) included 10 proposed principles for green budgeting, and called on the government to apply a net zero test to the spending package in order to build the resilience of the UK economy and public finances.

We have also previously published several Greener Budget reports, setting out recommendations to HM Treasury that would help to shift the UK onto a more sustainable economic pathway, and engaged extensively with the UK Treasury on these issues.