The World Bank has launched a global partnership aimed at helping countries include the costs of destroying nature into their national accounts.
Ten nations will take part in the pilot phase, including India and Colombia.
The bank’s president Robert Zoellick said environmental destruction happens partly because governments do not account for the value of nature.
The partnership was launched at the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) meeting in Nagoya, Japan.
“We know that human well-being depends on ecosystems and biodiversity,” said Mr Zoellick.
“We also know they’re degrading at an alarming rate.
“One of the causes is our failure to properly value ecosystems and all they do for us – and the solution therefore lies in taking full account of our ecosystem services when countries make policies.”
Norway’s Environment Minister Erik Solheim said re-valuing nature in this way would force business practices to change.
“We need to move from a situation where the benefits of ecosystem services are privatised whereas the coasts are socialised,” he said.
“The full costs of negative impacts on ecosystems must be covered by those who receive a benefit from destroying it.”