Our Challenge

The global economy and human well-being depend on the availability of natural resources and healthy ecosystems, as well as fair distribution of the benefits they provide. Yet the costs of unsustainable resource use continue to rise, threatening lives and livelihoods around the world.  

The economic costs of climate change are estimated to be 2-10% of global GDP by the end of this century. The impacts of ecosystem degradation affect communities and economies globally. Low-income countries and regions — often those least responsible for causing the problems — will feel the consequences most acutely. Climate change alone is expected to cause 32-132 million people to fall into poverty by 2030.  

Meanwhile, the growth opportunities of better environmental management are hiding in plain sight. Research shows that strong climate action could yield at least $26 trillion in benefits globally through 2030, as well as boost jobs and income and improve health. 


Investing in renewable energy, energy efficiency or ecosystem restoration creates more than twice as many jobs as fossil fuels.


It would cost only 1% of GDP to achieve global water security by 2030


Every $1 invested in sustainable ocean solutions yields at least $5 in return

Our Approach

WRI helps provide a better understanding of the value that healthy ecosystems and climate action provide to the economy.

Using an economics lens, we analyze problems and solutions at the intersection of environment and human well-being. We develop tools and guidance to help decision-makers understand the economic and social trade-offs of investing in and protecting natural resources and the climate. We identify equitable outcomes and help leaders understand policy and development impacts on vulnerable populations. Our research makes the case for why climate action and ecosystem protection go hand-in-hand with economic growth and prosperity. And our coalitions bring together a diverse set of decision-makers and influencers to create lasting change.