How Business and Society Thrive by Investing in Nature
Mark R. Tercek and Jonathan S. Adams
Winner of the 2014 Green Prize for Sustainable Literature in Business
What is nature worth? The answer to this question – which traditionally has been framed in environmental terms – is revolutionizing the way we do business.
In Nature’s Fortune, Mark Tercek, CEO of the Nature Conservancy and former investment banker, and science writer Jonathan Adams argue that nature is not only the foundation of human well-being, but also the smartest commercial investment any business or government can make. The forests, floodplains, and oyster reefs often seen simply as raw materials or as obstacles to be cleared in the name of progress are, instead, as important to our future prosperity as technology or law or business innovation.
Who invests in nature, and why? What rates of return can it produce? When is protecting nature a good investment? With stories from the South Pacific to the California coast, from the Andes to the Gulf of Mexico and even to New York City, Nature’s Fortune shows how viewing nature as green infrastructure allows for breakthroughs not only in conservation – protecting water supplies; enhancing the health of fisheries; making cities more sustainable, livable and safe; and dealing with unavoidable climate change – but in economic progress, as well. Organizations obviously depend on the environment for key resources—water, trees, and land. But they can also reap substantial commercial benefits in the form of risk mitigation, cost reduction, new investment opportunities, and the protection of assets. Once leaders learn how to account for nature in financial terms, they can incorporate that value into decision making and planning, just as habitually as they consider cost, revenue, and ROI. Such a rethinking of “natural capital”—nature as a quantifiable asset— can not only increase profitability, but provide crucial protection against the kinds of climate change-driven phenomena – like devastating drought and hundred-year floods – that are no longer the stuff of speculation.
A must-read for business leaders, CEOs, investors, and environmentalists alike, Nature’s Fortune offers an essential guide to the world’s economic—and environmental—well-being.
Praise for Nature’s Fortune
The authors convincingly argue that corporate responsibility is not only the right ethical tactic, but the right business move….According to this savvy book, both environmentalists and business executives need to understand ‘how nature contributes to economic and ecological well-being.’
— Publishers Weekly
A hopeful message that a sensible marriage of business and environmental interests is in the cards, which until now has mostly been trumped by shortsightedness.
— Kirkus Reviews
Mark Tercek knows business and he knows the environment. We have worked together on both. This book shows us how we can bring them together to the benefit of nature and our economy.
— Henry M. Paulson, Jr., former chief executive of Goldman Sachs and Treasury secretary, and chairman of the Paulson Institute