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Dragon Capital Chair

July 2020 - July 2025

Awarded to: Professor Ben Groom
Funding awarded: £1.6m
Major Sponsor: Dragon Capital

The Dragon Capital Chair in Biodiversity Economics is a specially-created position at the University of Exeter Business School.

It stems from a £1.6 million partnership, over five years, between Exeter and asset managers, Dragon Capital.

The Chair’s role is to examine the relationship between biodiversity and human well-being, and how much the economy depends on biodiversity and nature.

The Chair will consider how decision-making by individuals, governments and the financial sector can be improved to prevent biodiversity decline. They will also examine the effectiveness of policies and instruments designed to do this. In particular, they will focus on how the well-being of future generations can be reflected in decisions today. 

Why focus on biodiversity and the economy?

Maintaining biodiversity is fundamental to the health and prosperity of every human. It is as important as climate change to policymaking and financial decisions.

Conflicts between economic growth and environmental objectives are a common occurrence as a consequence of biodiversity loss from regional and global commodity trading. 

Evidence-based guidance

The Dragon Capital Chair will provide evidence-based guidance, often to government, to help identify positive strategies for biodiversity - and provide incentives for action by individuals and businesses. The aim is to help people take into account the role of the environment and ecosystems in the wider economy, and the costs that economic activities place on them.

The Chair will lead research focusing on how global economies can enhance, rather than degrade biodiversity. They will examine how individual businesses can contribute to wild species conservation. And they will consider the human welfare and ecosystem impacts associated with biodiversity loss. 

Finally, the Chair will investigate the development of a platform for initiatives to advance price measurements of biodiversity. The aim is to provide incentives for businesses to provide a diverse range of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) offerings for market participants, such as biodiversity conservation initiatives.

The Chair’s focus will be international and cover both developed and developing countries, particularly the UK and South-East Asia. 

Who is involved? 

The first person to be appointed to the position is Professor Ben Groom, who joined Exeter from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) in May 2020. 

Funding the project is Dragon Capital - an asset manager that aims to help increase the consideration of biodiversity in investments in financial markets and government policymaking.

What will the impact be?

The Dragon Capital Chair will encourage market behaviours that foster the preservation of the natural environment.

Their work will provide a global perspective on the trade-offs between economic growth and environmental objectives. 

They will also identify positive strategies for biodiversity that incentivise businesses and individuals to take action.  

This advice will be valuable to both business and government internationally. 

It is hoped that the research will also influence intergovernmental bodies to design economic incentives that allow businesses to pursue biodiversity investments legitimately while upholding fiduciary duties.