Pavan Sukhdev

"We still have a lot to learn about the nature of value and the value of nature"


Pavan Sukhdev is the founder and CEO of “GIST Advisory” (,  an environmental consulting firm focused on enabling governments and corporations to measure and manage their impacts on natural and human capital.

GIST Advisory’s approach

The impacts on natural and human capital are often large, usually in the realm of ‘public goods and services’, usually not measured or estimated in economic terms, and, rarely if ever, managed. They are so-called “economic externalities”, but in an increasingly carbon-constrained world with ecological scarcities (freshwater, soil nutrients, peak oil, etc) looming large, it is dangerously short-sighted to still think of these impacts as “externalities” and to ignore them. Similarly, some of the largest gains for governments and companies are in the form of human capital externalities – their impacts (often improvements) in the level of education, skills, health, and hence productivity of employees – and these are also considered “externalities”. Once again, it is poor rationale to neither measure these impacts in economic terms nor to manage them. GIST Advisory provides tailored solutions in this domain for governments and corporations.

GIST Advisory’s customers and on-going projects


After “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” (TEEB) launched its final report, “Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature” at the COP-10 Conference on Biodiversity in Japan, 2010, many governments have begun to endorse these findings and are gradually coming forward to conduct similar green accounting exercises in their respective countries. Our team of consultants with extensive experience in this area are working with governments to help them measure and manage their impacts on natural and human capital in an effort to support their transition into a green economy.


Businesses play a crucial role in the way we manage our wealth of natural capital and are inherently linked with it by virtue of the fact that the environment is both a source of raw material for them and a sink for their waste products. We help businesses interpret the underlying opportunities and risks associated with such environmental externalities by helping them to discover, value and manage their impacts on natural  capital .

Civil Society Organisations

In partnership with civil society organisations we publish policy reviews and research papers to influence government and business practice towards better recognition and reward for human and natural capital as dimensions of public wealth. We also provide primary research support and analysis to develop innovative solutions for civil society organisations.

GIST Advisory’s ongoing projects

Country Specific TEEB Studies

GIST guides governments to undertake country specific TEEB studies. At present, we are in consultation with two governments that have expressed interest in undertaking country specific ecosystem valuation studies and local policy applications of valuation based on the global TEEB research study.

Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES)

GIST Advisory designs and implements PES schemes. We are working with government agencies and private companies in Armenia and Kenya to design and implement PES schemes for conservation of freshwater and enhancement of community livelihoods.

REDD+ projects

GIST Advisory advises on the implementation and administration of REDD+ projects. We are currently  in consultation with a  Southeast Asian country regarding development, implementation and administration of REDD+ projects.

Human capital valuation

One of the ongoing projects is an assessment of the positive externalities of an Indian software firm through its staff training and to value the human capital created at the company. Human capital is one of the most important assets of a company and is a key determinant to its success. There are two main methods to value human capital – education and health care. This project focuses on the creation of human capital through education.


GIST Advisory also contributes to the dynamic environmental discourse. We have published a paper on REDD+ “Making Sense of REDD: Guiding Principles and Operational Framework for Tropical Forest Carbon.” Other papers currently being written include a paper on poverty eradication, Green GDP and Green Accounting in India.


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