Deloitte Values Great Barrier Reef at $42 Billion

Chris Gaetano
Published Date:
Jun 26, 2017

Deloitte Australia, in partnership with the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, issued a recent report that valued the Great Barrier Reef at $52 billion ($42 billion in U.S. dollars). The study examined the reef's economic contributions like value added to the economy and contribution to employment; economic and social value such as direct use from tourism and recreation; traditional owner value such as cultural heritage and education; and brand value such as differentiation, relevance, esteem and knowledge. 

The Deloitte report acknowledged that it's a little paradoxical to valuate something that, in most people's minds, is priceless, but said that doing so can help people weigh costs and benefits in terms of their interactions with the reef. 

"This value often does not come with a price tag; it cannot be bought or sold. Nor should it, because to most of us nature is priceless. However, often nature’s significance is ignored due to its value not being fully captured commercially in the economy. Economic benefits can conflict with the environment, leading to a trade-off. How policy makers approach such trade-offs is a matter of substantial debate. Some believe that environmental outcomes should take priority, while others argue that economic development must come first. Both of these views are limited in that the former effectively assigns an infinite value to the environment, and the latter assigns a very low value," said the report. 

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