A new book, The Wealth of Nature, has been launched in London by global building materials company CEMEX and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). The book, which has been developed in association with Conservation International, The Wild Foundation and International League of Conservation Photographers, outlines the views of leading scientists about nature’s ecological services and demonstrates how they contribute to our health, economic prosperity, and cultural values.
The book makes an important contribution to The International Year of Biodiversity with its more than 20 essays from renowned conservation scientists illustrated by images from leading photographers, by putting the spotlight on how unsustainable economic growth has put a burden on nature’s capacity to deliver clean water, fresh air, medicines and climate regulation, among other benefits. Assigning a financial value to them is the key to mend some of the environmental impact of human activities.
The Wealth of Nature was presented to Members of Parliament, civil servants, community partners, environmentalists and commercial guests at a Parliamentary House of Lords reception, which was hosted by Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen OBE.
Head of the IUCN Ecosystem Management Programme and co-author of the book, Dr Neville Ash said: “We now recognise that the climate is changing, posing new challenges and threats to nature. Conserving biodiversity will play a key role in our ability to adapt to these changes.
"Nature provides services that are essential to sustain all life on the planet. These services must be valued according to the multiple benefits that they provide to people, and those communities who work to protect them should be supported to do so. Placing a financial value on the services that nature provides is critical to guarantee that ecosystems stay healthy and continue to provide the benefits that all people depend on to survive."
As one of the world’s largest producers of aggregates, cement and readymixed concrete products, CEMEX is committed to sustainable development. From 1993, the company has, in partnership with not for profit organisations, published a new book every year to put the spotlight on a number of different conservation issues. "The Wealth of Nature" is the latest book, and the 17th in this series.
President of CEMEX UK, Gonzalo Galindo, said: “For more than a decade we have been partnering with the leading organisations to publish the CEMEX Conservation Book Series to help raise awareness of the necessity to preserve our natural world. We strongly believe that protecting ecosystems are a fundamental aspect of sustainable development. It has a direct impact on the quality of people’s lives all over the world and it is essential for the sustainability of every human activity, including business.
"In the UK, CEMEX has also entered into a partnership with the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds to develop our biodiversity strategy, which will be launched later this year. We think partnerships between conservation bodies, like IUCN and the RSPB, and a commercial company like ours are important and the way forward."
Notes to editors:
The Wealth of Nature -- Ecosystem Services, Biodiversity and Human Well-Being
Publication date: October 2009
Suggested Retail Price: $58
CEMEX: Founded in 1906, CEMEX is a global building materials company that provides high quality products and reliable service to customers and communities in more than 50 countries throughout the world. CEMEX has a rich history of improving the well-being of those it serves through its efforts to pursue innovative industry solutions and efficiency advancements and to promote a sustainable future. For more information, visit www.cemex.com
Conservation International (CI): Building upon a strong foundation of science, partnership and field demonstration, CI empowers societies to responsibly and sustainably care for nature for the well-being of humanity. With headquarters in Washington, D.C., CI works in more than 40 countries on four continents. For more information, visit www.conservation.org
ILCP is a project-driven organization with a mission to translate conservation science into compelling visual messages. We work with leading scientists, governments, and conservation groups to produce the highest-quality documentary images of both the beauty and wonder of the natural world and the challenges facing it. The photographers of the ILCP are distinguished by the unique set of skills, talent and years of field experience documenting complex environmental subjects, and a commitment to conserve the landscapes, people, and wildlife in the places where they work. The work of ILCP photographers covers the entire range of threats to biodiversity and is a critical component in the conservation toolbox. For more information, visit www.ilcp.com
IUCN: The International Union for Conservation of Nature helps the world find pragmatic solutions to our most pressing environment and development challenges by supporting scientific research; managing field projects all over the world; and bringing governments, NGOs, the UN, international conventions and companies together to develop policy, laws and best practice. The world's oldest and largest global environmental network, IUCN is a democratic membership union with more than 1,000 government and NGO member organizations, and almost 11,000 volunteer scientists and experts in some 160 countries. IUCN's work is supported by over 1,000 professional staff in 60 offices and hundreds of partners in public, NGO and private sectors around the world. IUCN's headquarters are located in Gland, near Geneva, in Switzerland. www.iucn.org