EARTH IPO - Can we value the planet as an appreciating asset?


27 January 2014 | by Joss Tantram


“I conceive that the great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by false estimates they have made of the value of things.”
Benjamin Franklin



The Earth Initial Public Offering is a creative thought experiment designed to explore perhaps the most fundamental challenge of our age – the ability of the financial system to view our home planet as an asset for investment, rather than a resource for exploitation.

Current economic models consistently collide with the physical limits of the Earth - our ecosystem. They rely upon drawing down natural capital rather than working with ‘revenue’ – the sustainable flow of natural resources. This represents a threat to global human wellbeing and to future value creation, both human and economic.

The Earth Initial Public Offering will explore the challenges by asking two fundamental questions.

The EPO is seeking to answer the questions:
Is the Earth a good investment?
Could investors value the Earth as a going concern?



Human society and the economy operate within the framework set by the natural environment, in a relationship of interaction and interdependence. In recent years it has become increasingly evident that human activity has been seriously impacting the integrity and stability of the natural environment. From intensifying natural disasters and other climate change impacts to the severe degradation of ecosystems and massive loss of biodiversity, humanity is being reminded of the catastrophic consequences of trespassing certain planetary boundaries.

In the final analysis, it is not about the planet as such - it could heal itself eventually - but about human security and the quality of life for future generations.

By broadening the discussion on issues such as climate change, land use, water, food, energy, natural resource pricing, production and consumption patterns, as well as environmental governance, FOGGS aspires to contribute to resolving some of the apparent conflicts between environmental protection and human development.