2013 – Pavan Sukhdev

On the theme Nature's services and ingenious solutions

In 2013 the award was shared equally between Pavan Sukhdev from India and Janine Benyus from the U.S.A.

Pavan Sukhdev has a strong position in the international banking and finance sector and is a leading expert in biodiversity. The high credibility that this has earned him in a wide variety of circles has strongly contributed to the success of his work. With a humble approach to the issues in focus and enormous commitment, Pavan has promoted issues regarding the value of ecosystem services within the UN and EU, thus putting these issues on the international agenda.

Moreover, Mr. Sukhdev has brought into focus the enormous, elusive values represented by the global ecosystem and biodiversity. He has done this, in part, as leader of the groundbreaking study The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB). By promoting a wider perspective that goes beyond the monetary values of the ecosystem to include more elusive aesthetic, spiritual, cultural and recreational values, the work of Pavan and the TEEB group has aroused wide interest among decision-makers. For example, the TEEB provides a key source of reference to the UN in its efforts to get ecosystem services included in national accounts by 2018. The TEEB perspective has also played an important role at a national level as well as for individual organisations and businesses.

Jury's motivation

The theme of the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development in 2013 is “Nature’s services and ingenious solutions”. People and society are entirely dependent on having access to clean water, food, energy, materials and waste processing systems. All these services are provided to us by the earth’s natural environment. They were developed over billions of years, but their real worth is seldom acknowledged. Nature also has a fantastic ability to adapt to change and design ingenious solutions, something that we can learn a lot from. This year’s theme links these aspects of humans’ relationship with nature. “Nature’s services and ingenious solutions” is about understanding, valuing and taking inspiration from nature.

In light of this, the 2013 prize of SEK 1 million will be divided between Pavan Sukhdev and Janine Benyus, who have both made significant contributions in this area.


Pavan Sukhdev receives the Gothenburg Award for Sustainable Development for his role as a bridge-builder, and for his ability to present and bring international focus to this important area.