Priyani de Silva-Currie, IPWEA NZ President and Principal Asset Advisor at Beca, challenges us to think about our decisions based on a wider, holistic world view.

You may think it’s quite ironic coming from an accountant,  but why must we measure and report the complex things that matter the most in simple monetary terms?

Recently I attended the NAMS Advanced Asset Management forum – the future is here.   A great event and very thought provoking! Sustainability, resilience, climate risk scenarios, TCFD, electrification, where the key deliberations were focused on our aspirations for a low carbon future, all based on a monetary equation.

Ok, to be clear, I absolutely believe in the fundamentals of our climate adaption goals and targets.  Makes complete sense to me.  What I struggle with and I’m sure many smart people are working on this, is the need and general acceptance that we need to convert every relevant measurement into dollar terms.  Yes of course I understand it’s an ‘easy’ common denominator.  But it all feels rather transactional,  almost buying and selling, ledger tradeoffs.

My challenge to industry and government is this: can and do we measure and value complex matters like carbon, wealth, prosperity, health and harm in a different way? Would we make better decisions if our natural world, social impact and cultural navigation was our guide here?  Do we just not have enough time to develop better tools, are we that frantic in our responses to act now making decisions just based on dollars?

Feel free to challenge me,  but to my mind really good decisions for our future should be impact and effects based and most certainly include a much wider holistic world view than simply money.

1 thoughts on “Money makes the world go round – or does it?

  1. John Milne says:

    I definitely agree, but do see a lot of difficulty in coming up with an alternative all-encompassing, universally agreed- upon “common denominator”. We are unfortunately quite good (in some areas, at least) at considering “cost”, not nearly as good at even identifying (far less quantifying)“value”. Perhaps continuing to identify the true montary cost of unaccounted for “externalities” such as greenhouse gas impacts can still help us move forward for a while until a point where we as a global community would be more capable and willing to add these important values into the equation. In the meantime, I think there is still great value in continuing to advance, and expanding this discussion, and thanks for bringing it forward.

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