Unhappy Green Economy: People + Planet = Profit

Something’s happening! Wherever you are in the world …. if you’re awake – then listen! it’s time to help! Moves are afoot to replace our broken economy with something altogether different, and change our world forever. This is urgent – because it’s about the future, and YOU can change the course.

Julie Beal
Activist Post

The UN’s cult of Happiness and the plan to measure our well-being are just one part of a most audacious plan – to measure and price EVERY SINGLE ASPECT OF NATURE, so long as it provides a ‘service’. The new Green Economy is backed by bankers and the Fortune 500 and all members of the United Nations, and has begun to lead to the control of all resources, by financializing, and commodifying, what we hold to be sacred: nature, and US.

This issue goes way beyond the political – it breaks a fundamental moral code, and that’s why I think it’s largely been kept out of the news. It’s also the reason we can break this.

The commodification of intangible assets caused by the Green Economy is already leading to new currencies forming, such as ‘social credits’; together with Identity Management, wellness profiling, and bio-sensor surveillance, this system would also facilitate social simulation on the grandest scale. The prize is to understand and predict our every move.

Many of the backers of natural capital are also strong supporters of community currencies, and of complexity science. George Soros must be rubbing his hands in glee, as for many years he has expounded the philosophy of reflexivity, which fits in very neatly with network science (complexity).

An attempt to model the global ecosystem has already begun by FuturICT, backed by George Soros and his Institute for New Economic Thinking. The relevance of complexity science to economics was explored at INET’s Bretton Woods Conference in 2011.

So the sooner everyone clocks on to the full extent of Agenda 21, the better…. it’s about much more than communitarianism, property rights, and carbon footprints! Agenda 21 means measuring and pricing all of nature, and all people, for profit. This requires global surveillance, such as measuring our ‘well being’.

The economy is undergoing a staged collapse to institute a new economic regime. This is being achieved by incorporating newly defined asset classes (such as reputational capital) into national, and corporate, accounts. Two of the most important asset classes now being ‘accounted for’ are natural and human/social capital.

Led by globalists such as the United Nations, and World Bank, the ‘New Economics’ is a world-wide movement, which is often called ‘going beyond GDP’. This movement is poised to put a price on your head – you, and everyone else, will be ‘accounted for’ in the new system of global accounts, along with prices for almost every aspect of nature – even aspects we can’t see. Carbon dioxide is the most famous of these ‘intangible’ assets, but more obscure assets such as ‘the value of a pleasing view’ and ‘spiritual benefit’ are also to form part of the new pricing system.

Elite global organisations have been working with environmentalists for many years to create a new system of accounting for the profits and losses of business endeavours, because Agenda 21 has instituted what is known as ‘the triple bottom line’ – this involves accounting for all of the normal financial assets of a company, as well as various ‘externalities’, such as carbon emissions.

The ‘triple bottom line’ measures people, planet and profit; this forms part of each of the Fortune 500’s commitment to sustainability, and is often referred to as ‘ESG’, or environmental, social, and governance reporting. It is now a legal requirement in many countries for companies to report their effects on society and the environment. Instead of externalising the effects, they must internalise them by incorporating them into their balance sheets.

‘Accounting for externalities’ has been practised for many years now, as businesses have had to prove they are committed to sustainability, and make vague motions in that direction to fulfil their corporate social responsibility statements, otherwise known as ‘greenwashing’. But it’s not just businesses that have this responsibility – it’s governments too. After all, this is a global concept; so the total profit and loss account of each country, normally measured by Gross Domestic Product, or GDP, is going to include a $ value for the profits and losses of a variety of asset classes, to indicate the country’s net productivity.

Soros, Bernanke, World Bank, OECD, the United Nations, and all significant others, want the whole world to measure ‘natural capital’. In fact, 193 nations have already committed to ‘going beyond GDP’, and the range of ‘indicators’ (ways of measuring) have been so well used, they are starting to become standardised. A number of recent initiatives are ringing important alarm bells as to how advanced the system has become.

Measuring the sacred

At its most basic, natural capital is understood as the earth’s biomass, and the ‘ecosystem services’ it provides; it involves, literally, pricing the seas, the air, the land, and the flora and fauna, and the various benefits they bestow.

Sixteen years ago, Robert Costanza, et al, published an article in Nature called ‘The value of the world’s ecosystem services and natural capital’ (1997) which included a fully priced global index of all these global ecological benefits, which were estimated to have an average total annual value of $33 trillion, which at the time was almost twice the annual global gross product.

The report therefore proved the tremendous profit to be had from these ‘benefits’, and Agenda 21 and its idealistic proponents have been the perfect vehicle to advance the movement to measure natural capital, and ‘go beyond GDP’. The argument used, you see, is attractive and reasoned to many who hear it: the story goes:

  1. nature and people are the most important things of all; 
  2. we are destroying the earth and it would be good to save it; 
  3. the current financial and corporate system is screwed. 

We all know these things to be true, and once hooked into the storyline, most people fall for the ‘solution’ being offered. This solution insists ‘we must measure what we value’, i.e. ascribe a £ or $ value to each ecosystem benefit. Otherwise, we are told, ‘we cannot manage what we cannot measure’. And it’s the corporations and bankers who are going to do this for us, to profit from an endlessly replenished stock of assets: people + planet.

The categories measured and priced by Costanza, et al, were as follows:

  • Gas regulation – $1.341 trillion
  • Climate regulation – $684 billion
  • Disturbance regulation – $1.779 trillion
  • Water regulation – $1.115 trillion
  • Water supply – $1.692 trillion
  • Erosion control – $576 billion
  • Soil formation – $53 billion
  • Nutrient cycling – 17.075 trillion
  • Waste treatment – $2.277 trillion
  • Pollination – $117 billion
  • Biological control – $417 billion
  • Habitat/Refugia – $124 billion
  • Food production – $1.386 trillion
  • Raw materials – $721 billion
  • Genetic resources – $79 billion
  • Recreation – $815 billion
  • Cultural – $3.015 trillion

Whilst there are clearly numerous issues here to do with control of natural resources, such as the patenting of genetically modified flora and fauna, and the control of water, it is vital to understand that all of these resources, or natural capital assets, are said to generate further, intangible, assets, i.e. profitable concepts that can’t be seen or sensed, based on what is said to be valuable to different global communities, in terms of the services they provide. These are usually referred to as ‘cultural assets’, and in Costanza’s analysis proved to be worth more than any of the other individually defined services.

Since the report, a whole range of ecosystem assessments have been performed, using a variety of well-established ‘indicators’, or measuring sticks. One of these is World Bank’s Wealth Accounting and Valuation of Ecosystem Services (WAVES).

The most influential report so far has been the United Nations’ Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA) which describes cultural capital as the, “… non-material benefits people obtain from ecosystems through spiritual enrichment, cognitive development, reflection, recreation, and aesthetic experiences.”

The categories for cultural capital used in the assessment were therefore: cultural diversity; spiritual and religious values; knowledge systems (traditional and formal); educational values; inspiration; aesthetic values; social relations; sense of place; cultural heritage values; recreation and ecotourism (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005)

The MEA received financial support from governments, including Saudi Arabia, the UK, China and Japan, as well as: United Nations Foundation; David and Lucile Packard Foundation; World Bank; United Nations Environment Programme; Ford Foundation; Rockefeller Foundation; Global Environment Facility. (Source)

The report also connected the values of all assets, and sustainability in general, to the value of global well being:

In attempting to assess the importance of nature to our lives, we should not lose sight of the value placed on the variety of life on Earth for its own sake: this is even more difficult to put a price on, but nonetheless of deep concern to people of all cultures. Whether it is the uplifting sound of birdsong in a city park, the reverence for local species in many indigenous belief systems, or the wonder of a child watching wildlife in a zoo or even on television, appreciation of the natural world is an important part of what makes us human. 

Even if our material needs could be met with a much narrower range of species and landscapes, many people would regard this loss as a significant threat to their overall well-being. (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005) [Source

Shaping the New Economy

….. with times of unusual crisis often come extraordinary moments of opportunity. For this reason, many of us in the field of responsible investment believe that the financial meltdown actually represents a unique opportunity to ‘recast’ some of the most basic tenets of fiduciary investment. (Source

Financial institutions are now advancing the ‘green economy’, and the measuring of natural, human, and social capital, by claiming they have a ‘duty of care’ to the environment, and to society, and it is therefore their legal responsibility to account for the way they are affected. In 2009, the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), which is partnered with over 180 financial institutions, released a report on this issue, stating that investors who failed to account for ESG would face “a very real risk that they will be sued for negligence”. The UNEP FI has, since 1994, held a series of Global Roundtables to discuss how to advance the natural capital agenda; their motto is, “Changing finance, financing change.”

The 2011 UNEP FI Global Roundtable on Sustainable Finance in Washington D.C. featured, “a call for financial institutions to endorse and support a ‘Natural Capital Statement for Financial Institutions.” This statement was released the following year in the form of the Natural Capital Declaration (NCD) and backed by over forty financial institutions readied for Rio+20 which aims to “work towards building a global consensus for the integration of natural capital into private sector accounting and decision-making supporting, when appropriate, the related work of the TEEB for Business Coalition, and other stakeholders”. (Source)

Rio was the focus for a grand push to implement accounting for natural capital worldwide; according to World Bank,

Private sector companies and financial institutions – like Wal-Mart, Woolworths Holdings, Unilever, Standard Chartered, and Caisse des Depots – some of which have already endorsed initiatives like the finance-led Natural Capital Declaration and the Natural Capital Leadership Compact, have re-affirmed their commitment to collaborate globally to integrate natural capital considerations into their decision-making processes. (Source

The Natural Capital Declaration itemizes the incentives of the plan:

…This is not just about risks, great opportunities are also emerging that can be captured by the financial industry. World attention is shifting from a nexus around climate and energy, to one around food and consumerism. Efforts to produce energy without destroying our atmosphere are underway. But, with an estimated 9 billion mouths to feed by 2050, the need to balance maintenance of natural capital with the growing demand for land will require a transformation in agriculture. The use of the ocean to create sustainable protein, offers immense opportunities, as does the innovative use of genetic material or mimicking the systems that nature provides. The need for sustainable sources of biofuels offers a further potential investment boom. All of these opportunities, and many more, involve the smart use of natural capital, which today is mostly not accounted for in the price of goods traded worldwide, and is generally obtained for free. 

… Natural Capitalism can win new business: 

Addressing natural capital considerations are not only about managing risk. It can also present business opportunities for FIs linked to bolstering the organisation’s brand, creating value for marketing purposes, or building capacity in-house to advise clients on how to integrate natural capital considerations into supply chain management. Such actions can lead to cost reductions or offer new opportunities in emerging environmental markets. Novel financial instruments such as Green Bonds for climate, water or forests are emerging. (Source)

The TEEB (The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity) is yet another initiative teamed with the UN, which has helped establish a framework to ‘make nature’s values visible’, and is also working to address the overall lack of standardisation when it comes to measuring, pricing, and reporting on natural capital accounts.

The ultimate goal of this to ‘capture value’ on a global scale; this “involves the introduction of mechanisms that incorporate the values of ecosystems into decision-making through incentives and price signals. This can include payments for ecosystem services, reforming environmentally harmful subsidies or introducing tax breaks for conservation.” (Source)

All of these so-called initiatives are attempting to streamline and standardise the compliance of corporate reporting on natural capital. The final strand here is the establishment of the International Integrated Reporting Committee (IIRC) which is collaborating with TEEB to create a consensus on the framework for accounting for the new asset classes. The IIRC Pilot Program was backed by multinational chemicals, nuclear, extractive and financial industries (a full list is available here) whilst,

Over 90 global businesses and 50 institutional investors are directly involved in the IIRC’s work. This includes some of the world’s most iconic brands, such as Coca-Cola, Clorox, Microsoft, Hyundai, Tata, Unilever, Marks and Spencer, SAP and National Australia Bank. (Source)

Also, a number of UN agencies sponsored the first annual Inclusive Wealth Report, which was published last year, in order to assist governments to ‘account for value’, and which claimed,

Wealth is the social worth of an economy’s assets: reproducible capital; human capital; knowledge; natural capital; population; institutions; and time.” (my italics) [Source]

Yes, quite alarmingly, (on pages 16 and 17) Dasgupta and Duraiappa argue that sustainable development relies on time being included “in the society’s productive base”, and should therefore be considered an asset class in its own right.

It should also be noted that businesses have buddied up with environmental groups to add a thick coat of greenwash to their operations – even in the chemicals and extractives sectors; Dow teamed up with the Nature Conservancy in a $10 million deal in order to “recognize, value and incorporate nature into Dow’s global business goals, decisions and strategies.”

The MEA also states;

Rio Tinto has had partnerships with BirdLife International, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Earthwatch, Fauna & Flora International and UNEP-WCMC since 2001; in all cases following a period of discussion and engagement. These relationships have undoubtedly raised the awareness of biodiversity as a business issue and have led to an enhanced capacity in the company to make a contribution to conservation. (Source

This information is even more interesting in the light of what is reported by Guy Pearce in ‘Greenwash’ (2012, Black Inc.) – he highlights the hypocrisy of many claims to sustainability made by a number of corporations, including banks, noting that HSBC bank has shares in Rio Tinto, which is one of the largest coal exporters in the world, with an annual carbon footprint of nearly a billion tonnes of CO2. Pearce states:

Rio Tinto is ….expanding its number of coal mines in Australia, and it’s searching for new coal opportunities from Mongolia to Namibia. Beyond Rio Tinto, HSBC owns large stakes in a host of big-emitting fossil fuel companies – 17 per cent of Woodside, 11.5 per cent of Caltex, 20 per cent of Oil Search.

The final stages?

Accountants are now being encouraged to integrate the new asset classes into companies’ balance sheets, since they are classed as having ‘materiality’; this is addressed by a recent report by KPMG and the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) It is also being argued that companies need to “mitigate major environmental and social risks” because ultimately the system is about “tracing through and quantifying a chain of causality” (which is where network science plays a role).

An article by Andrew Sawyers said the KPMG/ACCA report highlights the fact that some companies are still not properly accounting for natural capital assets, such as intellectual capital. Sawyers cites Sarah Nolleth, program director of the Accounting for Sustainability Project, as saying, “Our economy depends on somewhere between $33 trillion and $72 trillion of ‘free services’ that we get from nature.” He goes on to say that, “… half of company earnings worldwide could be at risk from environmental externalities, the ACCA report says – equivalent to 11% of worldwide gross domestic product…” (Source)

The issue of materiality was also examined by UNEP FI in its publication “Demystifying Materiality – Hardwiring Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services in Finance” published during the CBD Conference of the Parties 10 in Nagoya, 2010. The Natural Capital Declaration states,

Evidence is mounting that the failure to address natural capital by financial institutions is leading to reputational, operational and therefore credit risks for lenders, investors and insurers. (Source

Conclusion and ideas for action

… Because cultural ecosystem services are rooted in perceptions, they are open to manipulation. (Robbie Andrew

Years of reading about the powers-that-be and their antics lull us into a state of acceptance. Articles say “such and such will happen”, rather than “might” – the message we get from reading all the news in the alternative media, is essentially doom and gloom. There’s so much going on, so much that makes us angry, that it gets really confusing – and we don’t know what to do.

This, though, sharpens the mind; it gives us focus, and several clues as to what to do:

Get in touch with the Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC) – they published an article about active opposition to the Green Economy at last year’s Rio+20 in Brazil:

Around 150 activists belonging to Freedom from Debt Coalition (FDC), Philippine Movement for Climate Justice (PMCJ), FDC Women’s Committee, and Task Force Food Sovereignty (TFFS) trooped to the main office of National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) and at the Philippine office of the United Nations as part of the Global Action Day for social and environmental justice, against the commodification of life and nature, and in defense of the commons. 

The NEDA Director General is the concurrent chair of the Philippine Council for Sustainable Development (PCSD), and is leading the country’s delegation to the Rio+20 Conference. PCSD members include heads the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Climate Change Commission (CCC), and representatives from civil society organizations. 

….. Aside from commodification, FDC’s Reyes expressed fear that the framework will also raise the privatization and financialization of nature, and accelerate further the concentration of control over nature by economic and political global and national elites to higher levels. He added that the framework will deepen these processes and expand them to include all resources that are vital for survival, such as water, biodiversity, atmosphere, forests, lands, food, etc. 

“Once these natural resources are treated as economic goods – meaning they are owned privately, commodified and traded – the already highly inequitable and undemocratic structure, where a few control a vast portion of natural, economic and financial resources, will linger. Those who are poor will remain poor. Those who are marginalized will remain marginalized,” Reyes stressed.

We can’t change everything – but we can use their models to our own advantage. Just like deflecting negative chi – a swift raising of the palm, and all that negative energy goes straight back at them.

Use what we have to our advantage.

  • We can use CSR – to lobby each corporation, one by one, to demand they satisfy all stakeholders e.g. “we want free energy!”
  • We can use community currencies to reclaim localism, not ‘glocalism’.
  • We can use the power of their much loved ‘social media’ to confuse their algorithms, and to really get our message across.
  • We can fill in happiness surveys however we please.
  • We can use the findings of complexity science to show the system is indeed collapsing (it’s already too complex), and how to ‘fix’ it e.g. see Geoffrey West (corporations die); need to invent new ways of being; the science shows we would be better off as lots of different places rather than one global village; and how to tip the system to phase transition; and things like predator/prey dynamics; and that the earth’s ecosystems are so complex we can’t possibly model everything, and if we could then we could use it to actually care for the earth as she is rather than for what we can get from her. (I’ll write an article about all this! Network science also shows that we are naturally SELF-ORGANIZING!)
  • We can show how the claims of Agenda 21 are both hypocritical and full of fallacies.
  • We must focus on working together on this – coming together as “a collective – for now” to win back our personal independence, privacy, freedom, and a more just world. Then we can go our own separate ways again.

The time is ripe – we can tip the balance, and swing the phase transition OUR way.

Julie Beal is a UK-based independent researcher who has been studying the globalist agenda for more than 20 years. Please visit her website, Get Mind Smart, for a wide range of information about Agenda 21, Communitarianism, Ethics, Bioscience, and much more.

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