We need a business model for the environment

Published 06 February 2017

“We have estimated that Australia’s biodiversity protection requires an equivalent investment to defence spending – roughly 2% of gross domestic product,” a trio of UNE researchers say in an arresting article published in The Conversation today.

Professor Paul Martin, Director of the Australian Centre for Agriculture and Law (AgLaw); Dr Amy Cosby, AgLaw researcher; and Dr Kip Werren, lecturer, UNE School of Law, argue that at a time when Australia is reconsidering many aspects of its environmental policies, we should address the strategy for funding natural resource management.

Insufficient resourcing is one cause of biodiversity loss, they write.

The challenge is impressive. Australia must tackle degradation and fragmentation of habitat, invasive species, unsustainable use of resources, the deterioration of the aquatic environment and water flows, increased fire events, and climate change.

This all requires money to support private landholders conducting conservation activities, to fund research, to manage public lands, and to support other conservation activities conducted by governments, industry, and individuals.

So where can we find the funds?

The authors outline a case for a multi-mechanism “co-ordinated business model for the environment”.

But, they add after outlining some possibilities, “this will not happen unless Australia faces the fiscal challenge of sustainability head-on”.

Read the full article