Mar 272008

Following yesterday’s piece about JP Morgan buying Climate Care, BBC and several newspapers this morning report on another major collaboration between conservationists and money makers. This time the goal is to place a financial value on rainforests, those giant planetary utilities that have been so ravaged for so long. One of the directors of Canopy Capital (the financiers of a deal to protect Guyana’s pristine Iwokrama rainforest) puts it nicely in today’s Independent, asking “How can it be that Google’s services are worth billions but those from all the world’s rainforests amount to nothing?” Expect to see a lot more work on valuing rainforests and creating financial incentives for their preservation in the months and years ahead. The Prince of Wales has launched his own Rainforests Project backed by a number of NGOs and multinationals, in an effort to find practical and profitable solutions to reverse the collapse of these vital eco-systems. As the profile of climate change peaks, it’s about time that rainforests (which of course play a central role in mitigating global warming by acting as a natural thermostat and storing carbon) took centre stage again. And if people make some money out of saving something of benefit to the whole world, at least it’s profit with a purpose. Iwokrama is one of just four intact rainforests left on the planet. So I’m 100% behind this deal. 

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