The ‘environmental services’ of rainforests… tradable commodities?

March 29, 2008

A project has been launched between the government of Guyana and a London-based firm called Canopy Capital to turn intact rainforest into economically viable, tradable commodities.   

How can it be that Google’s services are worth billions, but those from all the world’s rainforests amount to nothing?” asked Hylton Murray-Philipson, director of Canopy Capital.

[From an article on]


The idea (which piggybacks off of carbon emissions markets) is to create a flow of money for conservation by garnering recognition of the variety of ‘environmental services’ that are generated by rainforest and attributing these with a market value that venture capitalist can invest in.  This sure is a long way from Rainforest Crunch!

The BBC World Service has broadcast a report on the topic (fast forward to 19:45-23:20) and there is a more detailed article on the topic on the environmental website,


2 Responses to “The ‘environmental services’ of rainforests… tradable commodities?”

  1. danielbeunza Says:

    Very interesting. The question it raises is, how are the capital markets best used to accomplish these socially-desirable big goals? Here at Columbia, my colleague Geoff Heal has been promoting a related initiative, that would compensate developing countries from avoided deforestation:

    I have been following the issue rather closely… and it is interesting — it mirrors the field-building efforts of Leo Melamed in getting an options market approved.

  2. this is another scam we in Guyana will benefit from this? lol
    time will tell

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