Press Releases October 2012 - Environmental Economist Pavan Sukhdev Named New UNEP Goodwill Ambassador - United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)
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Environmental Economist Pavan Sukhdev Named New UNEP Goodwill Ambassador

Hyderabad (India), 16 October 2012 - Indian banker and long-standing environmental economist Pavan Sukhdev today pledged to use his profile and influence to further the goals of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) as the organization's newest Goodwill Ambassador.

Mr. Sukhdev, who has a long association with UNEP, joins such luminaries as French photographer Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Brazilian supermodel Gisele BŁndchen and American actor Don Cheadle in raising awareness of and support for environmental causes.

Mr. Sukhdev spent over 20 years working at ANZ Bank and Deutsche Bank, and now heads GIST, an organization that helps governments and corporations to understand and better manage their impacts on natural and human capital. He also served as the study leader for the UNEP-hosted Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity Report - a major international partnership to draw attention to the economic benefits of biodiversity.

"It is an honour to take up this role of championing UNEP's work," said Mr. Sukhdev. "Governments and business need to understand that our ecosystems, biodiversity and natural resources are the backbone of our economies and their value should be integrated into decision making."

"As Goodwill Ambassador, I will continue to bring this message home as we strive to transit from 'business as usual' to a sustainable, resource-efficient Green Economy," he added.

Mr. Sukhdev and UNEP are at the forefront of a movement that points out that the world's fixation on economic growth ignores a rapid and largely irreversible depletion of natural resources that will seriously harm future generations.

Biodiversity in particular provides major economic benefits that are sometimes overlooked.

As well as taking the message to governments, Mr. Sukhdev will target the corporate sector to show that long-term profitability is ultimately dependent on sustainable use of the earth's resources.

"With over 30 years of experience in banking, markets and the growing field of valuing natural capital, Mr. Sukhdev is strongly positioned to generate considerable support and awareness in business and finance for UNEP's work on the Green Economy," said UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

"He is a shining example of the growing trend that has seen the private sector begin to incorporate sustainability concerns into their operational models."

About Pavan Sukhdev

Pavan Sukhdev is Founder-CEO of GIST Advisory, a specialist consulting firm which helps governments and corporations discover, measure, value, and manage their impacts on natural and human capital. He is a Visiting Fellow at Yale University, where he was awarded the 2011 McCluskey Fellowship and wrote his book "Corporation 2020". Earlier, he was Special Adviser and Head of UNEP's Green Economy Initiative, and lead author of the UNEP report "Towards a Green Economy".

He was also Study Leader for the G8+5-commissioned project on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB). Mr. Sukhdev was appointed to lead TEEB by the EU Commission and Germany, and delivered its Interim Report whilst still working full time at Deutsche Bank in 2008. A career banker, Mr. Sukhdev then took a sabbatical from the Bank to lead TEEB & the Green Economy Initiative for UNEP.

While at Deutsche Bank, he in 2006 founded and then chaired Global Markets Centre - Mumbai, a leading-edge front-office offshoring company. He was a speaker at the World Economic Forum meetings at Davos in 2010 and 2011. He serves on the boards of Conservation International and the Stockholm Resilience Centre.

Mr. Sukhdev began his financial markets career working with ANZ Bank (1983 -1994) in India and in London, in various trading, sales, structuring and management roles. He joined Deutsche Bank in 1994 to head their Global Markets division in India, and subsequently carried out a number of roles, including Chief Operating Officer for the Bank's Asian Global Markets business based in Singapore, and Chief Operating Officer for the Bank's Global Emerging Markets division.

About TEEB

TEEB is a major international initiative to draw attention to the global economic benefits of biodiversity, to highlight the growing costs of biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation, and to draw together expertise from the fields of science, economics and policy to enable practical actions moving forward.†

About UNEP Goodwill Ambassadors

UNEP Goodwill Ambassadors help generate public awareness and understanding of environmental causes, as well as inspire broad, positive, committed action in support of UNEP's mandate and priorities. Aside from Mr. Sukhdev, Gisele BŁndchen, Don Cheadle, Yann Arthus Bertrand and Chinese actress Li Binging currently

serve as ambassadors.

About UNEP and the Green Economy Report

The UNEP-led Green Economy Initiative, launched in late 2008, consists of several components whose collective overall objective is to provide the analysis and policy support for investing in green sectors and in greening environmental unfriendly sectors.

At the Rio+20 Summit, Heads of State and more than 190 nations gave the green light to a Green Economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.

Nations agreed that such a transition could be 'an important tool' when supported by policies that encourage decent employment, social welfare and inclusion and the maintenance of the Earth's ecosystems from forests to freshwaters.

The decision supports nations wishing to forge ahead with a green economy transition while providing developing economies with the opportunity for access to international support in terms of finance and capacity building.

Within UNEP, the Green Economy Initiative includes three sets of activities:

  • Producing a Green Economy Report and related research materials, which will analyse the macroeconomic, sustainability, and poverty reduction implications of green investment in a range of sectors from renewable energy to sustainable agriculture and providing guidance on policies that can catalyze increased investment in these sectors.
  • Providing advisory services on ways to move towards a green economy in specific countries.
  • Engaging a wide range of research, non-governmental organizations, business and UN partners in implementing the Green Economy Initiative.

Beyond UNEP, the Green Economy Initiative is one of the nine UN-wide Joint Crisis Initiatives (JCI) launched by the UN System's Chief Executives Board in early 2009. In this context, the Initiative includes a wide range of research activities and capacity building events from more than 20 UN agencies including the Bretton Woods Institutions, as well as an Issue Management Group (IMG) on Green Economy, launched in Washington, DC, in March 2010.

Media Contacts:

Bryan Coll, UNEP Newsdesk (in Hyderabad) on Tel. +254731666214 or E-mail:

Shereen Zorba, Head, UNEP News Desk, +254 788 526 000,

UNEP Newsdesk (Nairobi), +254 20 762 3088,

Mr. Pavan Sukhdev (L), designated as UNEP Goodwill Ambassador by Achim Steiner (R), UNEP Executive Director at the CBD Conference of the Parties (COP 11) held in Hyderabad, India



Further Resources

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB)

UNEP Goodwill Ambassadors

Towards a Green Economy. Pathways to sustainable and poverty eradication

UNEP Green Economy Initiative


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