In Environmental Debt: The Hidden Costs of a Changing Global Economy, Amy Larkin connects the financial and environmental crises– both causes and solutions. Larkin makes the case for the already devastating effects of what she calls “environmental debt”, defined as “polluting and/or damaging actions that will cost other parties (people, business or government) real money in the future”. In economic terms, this would be called externalities.
Larkin is both a critical and hopeful observer; profiling numerous multinational corporations, CEO’s, and civic leaders who have already created inspiring initiatives to reduce our current environmental debt load. Most importantly, Larkin issues a call to action, and with RESOLVE’s Solution’s Network, offers a platform for discussion, debate and solutions building through A Transition Agenda.
“Humankind’s days of pillaging the earth for its resources are over. Today, a new strategy is needed if the global economy is to survive. Larkin’s three guiding principles for 21st century commerce are required reading for anyone invested in a thriving business landscape as well as a healthy environment.” –Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director, Greenpeace International
“Amy Larkin sounds the alarm of the coming economic crisis and calls for urgent actions to repair our relationship with nature. A committed environmentalist, she also knows firsthand how the business world gets real work done, and argues for pragmatism and common sense to undo environmental harm and re-make the future. As a business person and industrialist my entire career, I support Environmental Debt as part of an inclusive and well-rounded roadmap to make the world a better place.” – John Hofmeister, retired President Shell Oil Company, founder/CEO Citizens for Affordable Energy
In the twentieth century many businesses functioned as if there were no limits on natural resources. Larkin explains that every financial transaction has an environmental impact and the environment is embedded in every transaction. She illustrates this using data from ancient civilizations through the current globalized and industrialized economy and asserts that “This no longer works, not for business, not for society at large and not for you. Until we connect the profitability of business with the survival of the natural world, we will not be able to balance real profits with real losses.”
Until we connect the profitability of business with the survival of the natural world, we will not be able to balance real profits with real losses.
To empower responsible and profitable business, Larkin proposes three pillars to guide 21st century commerce
The Nature Means Business (NMB) Framework:
1. Pollution can no longer be free and can no longer be subsidized
2. The long view must guide all decision-making and accounting
3. Government plays a vital role in catalyzing clean technology and growth while preventing environmental destruction
“No Nature, No Business”