Tilhill Forestry, September, 2020

A Q&A with guest speaker Ece Ozdemiroglu - environmental economics consultant

The UK Forest Market Report 2020

Tilhill, in partnership with John Clegg & Co, will be presenting The UK Forest Market Report 2020 via an online webinar on November 25th. The webinar will feature guest presenter Ece Ozdemiroglu, Founding Director of eftec, the first consultancy in the UK to apply environmental economics to public policy and business challenges. Ece is also a member of the Climate Change Committee- Adaptation Committee.

Ece is the Forest Market Report’s special guest speaker and will be speaking about the many benefits of investing in forestry. We caught up with her to find out more.

What led you to pursue a career in environmental economics consultancy?

“One day I read a book and my life changed” as a book called The New Life by Orhan Pamuk starts. The book I read was ‘A Blueprint for a Green Economy’ by David Pearce, Anil Markandya and Ed Barbier. The year was 1990 and I was looking for a Master’s Degree to start the following year. I studied Economics in Istanbul University. The Blueprint showed me how to put the skills I learnt in economics about framing and analysing a problem and incentivising behaviours to use for a better natural environment and human wellbeing. So the next year I joined the MSC in Environmental Economics at University College of London with Professors Pearce and Markandya.

Towards the end of the MSc, I started to look for a job but had no luck from consultancies, who at the time, did not provide environmental economics services; I didn’t want to stay in academia and a government job was not open to me. I, together with a classmate, approached David Pearce to see if he would support us if we started a consultancy and that’s how eftec – economics for the environment consultancy – started in August 1992.

 

What does your current job entail?

I am a director of eftec. Currently my work focuses on natural capital accounting – exploring the impacts and dependencies of organisations on natural capital and presenting the myriad of information in formats familiar to audiences who normally deal with financial impacts and dependencies alone. My aim is to ensure the natural environment is seen as just as immediately important as financial and physical capital.

 

What role do you play on the climate change committee?

I am a member of the Climate Change Committee – Adaptation Committee. I contribute on the economics of adaptation to climate change risks. In particular, I focus on the risks to natural capital; showing how investing in natural capital can be an adaptation action; and how economic analysis can help us communicate climate change risks better to businesses, government agencies and the general public.

 

What do you think of forestry as an investment?

Forests are a prime example of how the natural environment provides us with a myriad of benefits – clean air, clean water, flood risk management, recreation for health and wellbeing and of course marketed goods like timber, fibre and energy. Investment in forests can be designed to deliver all / most, it doesn’t have to maximise one at the expense of all others because investing in forests can deliver both financial returns and economic / social / environmental returns. Forests are ideal assets for the modern investor in search of complete impact.

 

Ece will be presenting: The many benefits of investing in forestry: what can natural capital accounts show us, at The UK Forest Market Report 2020 in November via Zoom.

 

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