Tuesday, 14 July 2020
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Hello Everyone

My job is to try to make forestry more sustainable in Indonesia.

Like in most countries the government is obsessed with GDP and companies with shareholder value. Sadly we also have significant corruption, especially in my industry, which adds another layer of complexity.

The fact that most decisions are dominated by financial goals makes my job very difficult. It would be much easier if businesses and governments gave more value to environmental and social benefits. But I guess most people trying to make the world more sustainable feel this way. Recently, I been doing some reading online about alternatives to GDP and shareholder value in attempt to get better understanding of the options and trends.

I see that stakeholder capitalism seems to be gaining support among many business leaders. To me this seems to be a big improvement over shareholder capitalism. But how well will it work in practice? And will it provide sufficient priority to solving environmental issues?

I also note that several alternatives have been proposed to GDP. But which option is likely have the best environmental and social outcomes? And realistically will any of them ever gain widespread support?

I also done a bit of reading about Doughnut Economics which seems to be a much more realistic way to understand economies. But I wonder what the reception has been like from mainstream economists? And what are the chances that a framework like this will ever become the norm?

I would appreciate opinions from people who know more about these topics that I do.

I would also welcome links to online resources or suggestions about books to read.

Please forgive any writing mistakes, English is not my first language.
1 year ago
The Doughnut economist model is a great framework for thinking through sustainability. It is encouraging to see that the City of Amsterdam is planning to use it for its post-Covid recovery strategy:
Thank you for your thoughtful post, Harry!

I am amazed that English is your second language as you write more proficiently than most native speakers.

My work as a land use planner, with a focus upon strategically incorporating climate change and natural assets, requires an awareness of the valuation of our forests and the ecological services these ecosystems provide. In other words, working within the conservative financial realm with the desire to 'make change within the machine', the natural asset focus of our world forests may be a route to consider. People understand money; the 'global language' whereas speaking ecosystem values can halt most business dialogues.

From the micro level (local gov't) , there are examples of what can be done to enforce the immense value of trees/greenspace/ecosystems and incorporate into everyday business decision making; for example https://www.westvancouver.ca/sites/default/files/dwv/council-agendas/2019/jul/15/19jul15%20-%206.pdf

To the macro level (national and international)

Indonesia focused - https://wedocs.unep.org/bitstream/handle/20.500.11822/9737/_Forest_Ecosystem_Valuation_St_1.pdf?sequence=5&isAllowed=y


A people friendly read for defining natural assets and (urban) forests: https://medium.com/cities-taking-action/valuing-natural-assets-94b99a1109e0

There are numerous resources available to further efforts of us endeavouring to build awareness (and therefore the perceived value) of our natural ecosystems so that people will then support policies that protect and maintain ecological integrity in perpetuity.

Thanks again for the post, Harry!
1 year ago
Hello Richard

I was not aware that Doughnut Economics had been adopted by Amsterdam. That is very encouraging. Hopefully other cities and countries will do the same.
1 year ago
Hello Christine

Many thanks for the kind words and helpful links. Much appreciated!
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