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Pavan Sukhdev

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The Green Conscience-Keeper

Pavan Sukhdev’s proposition that protecting the environment can lead to GDP growth and enormous employment creation makes many traditional environmentalists twitchy. The 51-year-old is behind a critical momentum building up to operationalize and account for ‘externalities’ in the National Income Accounting of countries as well as the balance sheet of companies, so that their true costs to society can be assessed.  While monetizing the value of the environment can be a slippery slope, in Sukhdev’s words, you cannot manage what you cannot measure. Sukhdev is the founder-CEO of GIST Advisory, an environmental consulting firm that helps governments and corporations discover, value and manage their impacts on natural and human capital. He has been awarded the 2011 McCluskey Fellowship by Yale University. Earlier, he was Special Adviser and Head of UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative, and lead author of their “Green Economy Report”, and also Study Leader for the G8+5 commissioned project on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (“TEEB”). Sukhdev had an open scholarship to Oxford University for a Physics degree but switched tracks to “get a good job” as a banker. While at Deutsche Bank, Sukhdev had founded and then chaired Global Markets Centre – Mumbai, a leading-edge front-office off-shoring company.

Today, Sukdhev chairs the World Economic Forum’s “Global Agenda Council” on Biodiversity. He and his wife also manage a relatively tiny model rainforest restoration and eco-tourism project in Tarzali, North Queensland, Australia. He believes that if nature is given half a chance, it restores itself.

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