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Triple E

Triple E was founded in September 2006, already seventeen years ago. At that time, we mainly started conducting studies into the economic benefits of nature and landscape. To this end, we had our own FEBO model that emerged from the first studies we had already conducted at KPMG. Almost all studies showed that a lot of money was earned in and around nature reserves by companies that directly benefited from the presence of the nature reserve.

Of course, this concerns companies such as campsites and restaurants (catering), but also retail. Many drinking water companies also use our nature reserves to extract clean drinking water, without paying anything for this service. And finally, we also showed that the most expensive houses can always be found in a green environment, preferably close to the forest.

Over the years we have conducted more than 200 of these studies and written dozens of books on the subject. Then you would think that the argumentation would have taken hold over the years, but what we now notice after all these years is that a new round of economic argumentation with the FEBO model seems necessary.

The reason is not that no economic studies have been conducted. The reason is that the economic studies that were carried out were mainly CBAs: Social Cost Benefit Analyses. These are macroeconomic studies that do not work with real money flows, but with economic values calculated by experts for, for example, nature reserves, biodiversity, ecosystem services, heritage and so on.

Characteristic of these studies – and nature conservation is now starting to discover this – is that these studies do not provide any guidance for meaningful discussions with the business community. Because they do not recognize themselves in the numbers that are used (often the amounts involved are very large, the billions are flying around your ears). And such studies certainly do not form a basis for discussions about financial contributions from parties that benefit from nature and landscape.

Because firstly, the studies are all at too abstract a scale. But more importantly, these ‘benefits’, ‘values’ and ‘savings’ are not based on any real economic transaction. It is all fictitious, based on the values that researchers have assigned to the functions of nature and landscape. But that doesn’t matter to a campsite owner, he simply looks at his own turnover and profit and not at the billions from the CBA.

We at Triple E are not against SCBAs. These studies are very useful when it comes to providing insight into the benefits and harms on a macro scale. But do not have the idea that this will give you a clear insight into the green benefits on a micro scale in the field. Let alone whether such studies lead to any basis for new financial arrangements between parties.

That is why we are now conducting research into the health benefits of our national parks. Because there is a need for an overview of the real economy in terms of nature and health and arguments for new alliances between nature and care.

We are also in contact with a number of organizations to conduct a second round of new studies. Sometimes this will even lead to a revised edition of past studies.

Oh well, everything changes and yet remains the same.

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