Banking Nature

Natur - Spekulationsobjekt mit Zukunft

Official film description

We investigate the commercialization of the natural world. Protecting our planet has become big business with companies promoting new environmental markets. This involves species banking, where investors buy up vast swathes of land, full of endangered species, to enable them to sell ‘nature credits’. Companies whose actions destroy the environment are now obliged to buy these credits and new financial centres have sprung up, specializing in this trade.

Many respected economists believe that the best way to protect nature is to put a price on it. But others fear that this market in nature could lead to companies having a financial interest in a species’ extinction. There are also concerns that - like the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008 - the market in nature credits is bound to crash.

And there are wider issues at stake. What guarantees do we have that our natural inheritance will be protected? And should our ecological heritage be for sale?

Notes on the film

„Banking Nature“ contrasts two very different points of view on the economic valuation of nature: on one hand, it is considered that nature should not be economically valued. On the other hand, it is considered that a monetary valuation could be used to save endangered species or ecosystems. Solutions or conclusive answers are not offered.

Rating from our film jury

„Banking Nature“ is well worth watching. The documentary shows how nature can become an object of financial speculation - a highly relevant and rarely shown topic.

„Banking Nature“ is packed with information and facts and illuminates the issue of green economy in a critical way but without losing objectivity. „Banking Nature“ is based on remarkable journalistic research and presents good interviews. The documentation quality is high.

„Banking Nature“ is an intelligent film that is rather focusing on imparting knowledge and facts than on evoking emotions. Many empirical examples highlight the impact of human activities on our planet. Solutions or conclusive answers are not presented.

The film only shows few connections to our daily lives. It does not inspire viewers to take action but still promotes a sense of responsibility.

The film keeps the viewer's attention and contains high-quality images and scenes. Cut and soundtrack are good.

Further reviews

Successfully outlines the theory behind 'financializing nature'... making this complex aspect of the modern market system comprehensible... Does a real service. Recommended. – Video Librarian

This is a fascinating work, investigating an inventive plan to protect nature... The portrayal of both sides of this impalpable concept is laudable. Huge assembly of opponents gives this film a distinct objectivity. The work has brilliant foresight into the issues, turning points, dangers, and ethical dilemmas of the proposal. Highly recommended. – Educational Media Reviews Online

A beautiful and very challenging and provocative treatment of the current effort to save nature and the planet by applying the market economics, models, and tools to global environmental crises such as species extinction, the loss of biodiversity, degradation and loss of whole ecosystems like the world's rainforests, and global warming. – Science Books and Films

How much are the rainforests of the Amazon, the coral reefs of Hawaii, and the world's bees worth? – Le Figaro

Inspiring; analysis with detail and foresight. – L’Humanité

Technical information and screening rights...

Director(s): Denis Delestrac, Sandrine Feydel
Script: Denis Delestrac, Sandrine Feydel
Production: ARTE France, Via Découvertes, Dead Hamster VFX Studio, Java Films, Arte France, Via Découvertes
Music: Stéphane Lopez
Actors: Vandana Shiva, Pavan Sukhdev, Pablo Solon
Year: 2015
Duration: 88 min
Language (audio): German, French, English
Country of origin: France
Our age recommendation: 16
Screening rights: Javafilms ()

More information...


  • This film can be watched for free at the top.
  • This film can be watched for a fee at the top.

You can also view it for a fee at:


Main topic(s): Fairtrade + Economy
Secondary topics: africa biodiversity externalisation climate politics forest growth
Mentions: Greenpeace WWF Palm Oil Banks Deregulation Cancer Market Kyoto Protocol Risk Stocks Bees Supply Demand Economic System Resources Valuation revolving doors extinction mortgage crisis Investment Natural Capital
Topic Page(s): Fairtrade + Economy



Entertainment value

Scientific & journalistic quality

Transfer of a momentum

Picture, music, craftsmanship

Host a Screening

Film Tips

Other Films