We explore the concept of Nature-Based Currencies as a mechanism for nature-rich but financially poor sovereign nations and bioregions to mint the financial capital they need to permanently protect ecosystems and support the livelihoods of its local stewards, using natural capital as a reserve asset.
The footprint of global economic systems of extraction has exceeded the Earth’s capacity for sustainable regeneration. Our current concepts of wealth and money are underpinned by an ability of our industrial machinery to extract value from the natural world and provide goods and services to humans. Endless economic growth cannot occur in a limited planet.
Our contemporary global economic paradigm is operating on geopolitical dynamics fueled by north-south imbalances: the Global North generates financial capital at the cost of depleting global natural capital mostly in the Global South, and the Global South, although rich in natural capital, suffers from a foreign debt burden mostly serviced to the Global North, and is thereby forced to unsustainably extract value from its natural resources to develop its own financial capital.
Our programmatic nature-based currency (NBC) design entails first deriving a conceptual framework based on set intentions, then applying it to a strategic sector (eg. central banks) to produce a draft design. This is openly reviewed, iterated, and piloted to test if it meets its design goals, and inspire other innovators to propose improvements to an NBC design based on our initial framework.
For the first design iteration of the nature based currency framework approach, we selected a central bank perspective as context for how a nature-based digital currency could be designed and minted to support conservation finance of land and ocean.
Brings new ideas and directions for monetary systems to harmonize with the environmental challenge.
Financial capital can be generated to conserve the current natural capital that is not represented in our economic paradigm.
This first whitepaper provides initial insights and a thought experiment into designing equitable financial and monetary systems that intrinsically value nature, prioritizing both human well-being and planetary health. We discuss the issues in global north-south relations, extractive economies, and the failure of traditional economic systems to properly account and value natural capital. We present a 6-part framework for the design and development Nature Based Currencies, apply it to the central bank sector and then critique it to propose further design iterations.
Watch the COP27 event we hosted at the UNFCCC Global Innovation Hub Pavilion, discussing the role of nature based currencies (NBC) as potential mechanisms to finance both climate and biodiversity. In this session we first introduce the NBC concept to then usher a dialogue with panelists representing the finance, science and indigenous community sectors.