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Banking Nature

Sandrine Feydel & Denis Delestrac / France / 2015 / 88 ' / English - French - Spanish / S.T. English


Guillaume Quignard
Guillaume Quignard & Michel Anglade
Stéphane Lopez

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Official Selection: Byron Bay Film Festival, 2015
Official Selection: Prix Milano Expo, 2015

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An alarming exposé on the financialization of the natural world via the emerging trend of turning wildlife and the environment into instruments of profit.


After years of working to undermine environmental regulations, governments and corporations are starting to think about the value of nature—and how they can profit from it.

BANKING NATURE is a provocative documentary that looks at the growing movement to monetize the natural world—and to turn endangered species and threatened areas into instruments of profit. It's a worldview that sees capital and markets not as a threat to the planet, but as its salvation—turning nature into "natural capital" and fundamental processes such as pollination and oxygen generation into "ecosystem services."

In the film, we meet economist and former banker Pavan Sukhdev, a leading authority on the valuation of nature (one square kilometre of Hawaiian coral reef: $600,000). In his view, the best way to protect endangered species and ecosystems is to assign them a value—because if we can't measure the services nature provides, we can't recognize them within our current models.

In Uganda, the film introduces meet men who measure trees to determine how much carbon they store—and a banker from the German firm that sells the resulting carbon credits. Meanwhile, in Brazil, steel giant Vale destroys rainforest, replaces it with tree plantations, and reaps the benefits of environmental credits.

Once we start measuring the value of nature, we can start turning it into securitized financial products. BANKING NATURE asks whether can we trust the very same people whose management of the mortgage market nearly led to a global economic collapse to safeguard nature by turning it into financial instruments for speculators?


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