Does nature have a value? : a qualitative study to pinpoint incentives for implementing valuation of ecosystem services
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- Master Thesis 
There is a growing consensus worldwide that human economies and human well-being rely on ecosystem services. The Economics of Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity [TEEB], a global initiative launched in 2007 as a response to a proposal by the G8 ministers, have suggested a five-step approach to improved stewardship of ecosystem services. Applying these steps as a basis, the objective of this thesis is to pinpoint what incentives are needed for various actors in society to incorporate the value of ecosystem services in their decision-making. The purpose is to investigate if current incentives are triggering actors sufficiently so they recognize the true value of nature. If the current incentives does not fulfill their purpose, what are the obstacles, and how can one ensure that society recognizes the value? The focus of the analysis is put on policy makers and various governing bodies. The importance of individuals and private actors will also be investigated, as they are all significant in the process of incorporating the true value of nature and ensuring sustainable development. Qualitative method is applied to investigate the perceptions and experiences of experts working in various fields within sustainable development and environmental economics. Interviews with four selected respondents is conducted. The analysis of the responses may supplement or expand our understanding of incentive theory. The study discovers that the opinions on ecosystem services valuation differ. Some respondents believe it to be more widespread than others, while some believe small-scale implementation is the way to go rather that large-scale. Several agree that incentives for policy-makers encourage short-term thinking, which is not always a good match when dealing with complex issues such as environmental degradation. Suggestions are made to certain areas as to where obstacles can be met and overcome, such as increasing transparency, challenging misconceptions and seizing windows of opportunity.