On Demand

Banking Nature

by Sandrine Feydel & Denis Delestrac
An alarming exposé on the financialization of the natural world via the emerging trend of turning wildlife and the environment into instruments of profit.
2015  ·  1h28m  ·  France
English, French, Spanish
English subs
About the Film

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?

Upcoming Screenings

Stay tuned for upcoming screenings!

Festivals and Awards
Byron Bay Film Festival, Official Selection
Prix Milano Expo, Official Selection
Guillaume Quignard
Guillaume Quignard & Michel Anglade
Production Company
Via Découvertes Productions and ARTE
Soundtrack Composer
Stéphane Lopez
About the Director

Denis Delestrac

Denis Delestrac
Denis Delestrac

Denis Delestrac is a multi-award-winning director, writer and producer. He is best known for creating feature documentaries on highly topical subjects such as Pax Americana (2009), Sand Wars (2013) and Freightened (2016), which have earned him critical appraisal and recognition. One of Europe’s most acclaimed non-fiction directors, Delestrac has won over forty international awards among which a Gold Panda, two Greenpeace Prizes and a Canadian Academy Award. 

In 2001, after having worked in France (Le Monde) and in the United States as a writer and a photographer, Denis Delestrac switched careers into documentary filmmaking in India, where he met legendary photographer Steve McCurry, with whom he made his first short documentary. 

Since then, he has directed nearly twenty films and series screened on television or in cinemas worldwide, which led him to open his own production company, Intrepido Films in 2007. Headquartered in Barcelona, the company specialises in creating international theatrical documentaries and brand content films.

His latest theatrical films include The Shadow of Gold (2019) and The Pursuit of Colour (in production), for which he teamed up again with McCurry. In May 2017, Delestrac was invited to become a member of the European Film Academy, to work – among others – alongside Wim Wenders, Claude Lelouch, Ridley Scott, and Almodovar to promote European cinema in the world.



Sandrine Feydel

Sandrine Feydel is a journalist, foreign correspondent and documentary filmmaker, whose work includes NATURE, LE NOUVEL ELDORADO DE LA FINANCE (BANKING NATURE), which screened on Arte in 2015, and OCÉANS DE PLASTIQUE, which screened at numerous festivals.

(Image by Philip Martin.)