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From the text: Economic valuation of nature is not new. In fact, it has been a companion of capital accumulation for centuries. Yet, despite the long history of valuing select portions of nature economically, there seems to be a new quality to current approaches. This paper will explore where the recent initiatives aimed at “ending the economic invisibility of nature” differ from previous approaches to economic valuation of nature.
One such difference is the current context of a crisis with manifold economic, ecological and social dimensions and an apparent recognition by leading corporations and politicians that “business-as-usual” no longer is an option. This paper will show how in that context, “green accounting” first and foremost serves to delay the necessary transition away from a development model that relies on producing economic growth through destroying nature. Green accounting does this by supporting the notion that with the right kind of accounting and market-based instruments for environmental protection, economic exploitation will automatically better price in the value of nature. Such economic visibility would hence lead corporations to recognize the value of nature’s capital stock. As a result, nature would be protected and growth would become “green”.