Pavan Sukhdev, Founder-CEO, GIST Advisory; McCluskey Fellow, 2011, Yale University

What is Quality of Life? My answer to the World Policy Journal’s “Big Question”

Pavan Sukhdev is the founder & chair of GIST Advisory, a consulting group specializing in valuing & managing environmental impacts and dependencies at all levels – national, provincial, business and personal. This firm was set up by Pavan’s NGO, GIST (Green Indian States Trust) to fund its research into major economic externalities arising from natural capital and human capital. Until recently, Pavan was Special Adviser and Head of UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative, which demonstrates that the greening of economies is not a burden on growth but rather a new engine for growing wealth and decent employment, and for the reduction of persistent poverty. A career banker, Pavan took a sabbatical from Deutsche Bank from 2008 till 2010 in order to deliver his environmental projects “TEEB” and the “Green Economy Report” for UNEP’s Green Economy Initiative.

Pavan was appointed Study Leader of TEEB in early 2008 by the EU Commission and Germany (the first funders of TEEB) whilst still working full time at Deutsche Bank. TEEB, a global study on “The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity” commissioned by the G8+5, released a widely-acclaimed suite of reports at the UN’s Convention on Biological Diversity bi-annual meeting (CBD COP-10) at Nagoya, Japan, in October 2010.

Until July 2008, Pavan headed Deutsche Bank’s Global Markets businesses in India, including its Fixed Income and Equities divisions and Global Markets Centre, Mumbai (“GMC, Mumbai”). GMC Mumbai, a company he set up in February 2006, is a dedicated global hub for global markets “front-office” off-shoring. It was a market first of its kind, and is a leader in front-office offshoring of capital markets trading and sales business. From 2006 to 2008, he led the build-out of Deutsche Bank’s Global Markets presence in India into a veritable powerhouse, spanning capital markets origination, trading and sales, a fixed income primary dealership, a market-leading equities institutional brokerage, a new Non-banking Finance Company, and GMC Mumbai.

Pavan pursues long-standing interests in environmental economics and in nature conservation through his work with the Green Indian States Trust (GIST) and other NGO’s. Under his leadership, GIST researched, developed and published methodology & empirical work on preparing comprehensive ‘Green Accounts’ for India and its States, a first among developing nations.

Pavan serves on the boards of Stockholm Resilience Centre (SRC), Conservation International (CI) and on UNDP’s Advisory Panel on the Human Development Report and its Human Development Index (HDI). He has been awarded the McKluskey Fellowship, 2011, by Yale University.


Financial Markets

Pavan is an experienced trader and structurer of currency, interest rate, and credit products who began his financial markets career working with ANZ Bank (1983 -1994) in India and in London, in various trading, sales, structuring and management roles.

In 1994, Pavan joined Deutsche Bank to head their Global Markets division in India, which he built to a leading fixed income business for the bank in India. Then in 1998-99 he was appointed Chief Operating Officer for the Bank’s Asian Global Markets business based in Singapore, overseeing the Asian regional integration of Bankers Trust and Deutsche Bank for Global Markets. From 1999 – 2003 Pavan headed the Money Markets division for Global Markets Asia, and then Global Markets Asia-Pacific (including Japan and Australia). In 2003, he moved to Deutsche Bank London as Chief Operating Officer for the Bank’s Global Emerging Markets division, which covers all markets business in Latin America, Eastern Europe and Asia. When his division Global Markets merged with Global Equities in 2005, he transitioned to Global Markets Central Management in London to run a Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) project for the new combined division, which in turn resulted in his ‘front-office off-shoring’ initiative. He founded and later Chaired GMC Mumbai (Global Markets Centre, Mumbai), the division’s global front-office off-shoring vehicle in Mumbai, which does leading-edge work for Global Markets in London, New York and elsewhere. In his latest assignment as Head of Global Markets in India, Pavan led the build-out over the last two years of Deutsche Bank’s Global Markets presence in India into a veritable powerhouse, spanning debt capital markets origination, a trading and sales division within the bank, a fixed income primary dealership company, a market-leading equities institutional brokerage, and a newly formed Non-banking Finance Company for structured issuance and structured credit & equity financing.

Pavan was deeply involved in the evolution of India’s currency & interest rate & derivatives markets from 1993 till 1998. He was a member of several Reserve Bank of India (RBI) committees for the development of India’s financial markets, including the Sodhani Committee on Foreign Exchange Markets. In 1997 he co-founded “FIMMDA”, India’s association for fixed income markets, money markets and derivatives. He championed the introduction into India of the ‘Overnight Index Swap’ (OIS), which is today India’s most liquid traded interest rate swap instrument.


Along with his financial markets career, Pavan pursues long-standing interests in environmental economics and nature conservation and through his work with environmental organizations in India and in Europe, viz,

GIST: Founder-Director of the “Green Accounting for Indian States Project”, an initiative of the Green Indian States Trust (GIST) to set up an economic valuation and national accounting framework to measure Sustainability at the State level for India, including the hitherto ignored but significant economic externalities from sectors such as forestry, agriculture, freshwater, health and education ( ).

CAT: Chairperson of “Conservation Action Trust” (CAT), an Indian NGO dedicated to achieving ecological sustainability for India by originating and proving model conservation projects, by educating and lobbying decision makers and the public about the importance of forests for our water and food security, and when all else fails, through public interest litigation. (

TEEB: Appointed by Germany’s environment Minister Gabriel and EU Environment Commissioner Dimas as “Study Leader” for their G8+5 study on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB). TEEB’s Interim Report, 2008, was welcomed globally for its fresh economic outlook, for demonstrating the economic significance of the loss of nature’s services, and for connecting the economics of biodiversity and ecosystems with ethics, equity, and the alleviation of poverty. The Interim Report of TEEB ( was presented at the Ministerial session at COP-9 of the Convention of Biological Diversity (COP-9, May 2008, Bonn) and the final reports (a series of five) were presented at CBD Cop-10 (Nagoya, 2010). These reports have gained considerable currency with governments in both developing and developed nations, with business leaders, and with conservation NGO’s.

Green Economy Initiative: Appointed by UNEP to lead this major initiative ( to demonstrate that the greening of economies is not a burden on growth but rather a new engine for growth, a source of new employment, and a means to poverty alleviation. This project evaluated the economics of a transition from ‘brown’ to ‘green’ economies, the major hurdles and barriers to the greening of economies, and is partnering with several pilot countries to demonstrate and implement its recommendations. The final report of the Green Economy Initiative was presented at UNEP’s general Council meeting at Nairobi, February 2011.

World Economic Forum : Pavan chaired the Global Agenda Council on Biodiversity and Ecosystems for the World Economic Forum, 2009-2011, a think-tank to evaluate the problems of ecosystem degradation and biodiversity loss in the context of global risks and global co-operation. He speaks at the Forum’s annual meetings at Davos.

Board Positions

Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm (Board Member)

Conservation International, Washington ( Board Member)

Human Development Report (HDR), UNDP (HDR Advisory Panel Member )

Recent Honours & Awards

“Environmental Finance” magazine selected Pavan as their “Personality of the Year” for 2010.

The Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management (IEEM) have awarded Pavan their 2011 Medal for his outstanding contribution to biodiversity conservation.

Yale University have appointed Pavan as their Dorothy McCluskey Fellow for 2011


Mainstreaming the Economics of Nature: A synthesis of the approach, conclusions and recommendations of TEEB, Study Leader & Co-author, UNEP-TEEB, October 2010

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (2010) TEEB Ecological and Economic Foundations (2010), Co-author, UNEP-TEEB, September 2010

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (2010) TEEB Report for Business (2010), Co-author, UNEP-TEEB, July 2010

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (2009) TEEB for National and International Policy Makers (2009) , Co-author, UNEP-TEEB, November 2009

India’s Financial Sector – An Assessment (Volume III – Advisory Panel on Financial Stability and Stress Testing), Co-author. Reserve Bank of India, March 2009.

The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity – Interim Report, lead author, May 2008,
The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity, European Communities, 2008

Environmental Accounting – Explorations in Methodology , Eds. Amitabh Kundu & Michael von Hauff, MANAK Publications, 2008. Co-author of two chapters : “Green Accounting Methodology for India and its States” and “Green Accounting for Forest Resources in India and its States”.

Accounting for Freshwater Quality in India, co-author,
Green Accounting for Indian States Project, Monograph 8, TERI Press, September 2007

Estimating the Value of Educational Capital Formation in India, co-author,
Green Accounting for Indian States Project, Monograph 5, TERI Press, June 2007

The Value of Biodiversity in India’s Forests, co-author,
Green Accounting for Indian States Project, Monograph 4, TERI Press, December 2006

Natural resource accounting for Indian States – Illustrating the case of forest resources, co-author.
Ecological Economics, 2007, vol. 61, issue 4, pages 635-649

Accounting for the Ecological Services of India’s Forests – Soil Conservation, Water Augmentation, and Flood Prevention, co-author, Green Accounting for Indian States Project, Monograph 7, TERI Press, April 2006

Estimating the Value of Agricultural Cropland and Pasture land in India, co-author, Green Accounting for Indian States Project, Monograph 2, TERI Press, December 2005

The Value of Timber, Carbon, Fuelwood, and Non-Timber Forest Products in India’s Forests, co-author, Green Accounting for Indian States Project, Monograph 1, TERI Press, January 2005

Interest Rate Risk and Derivatives, author of a chapter on The Future of India’s Debt Market
(Ed. G. Bhardwaj, Tata McGraw-Hill Series, 1998)

Report of the Expert Group on Foreign Exchange Markets, (Reserve Bank of India, June 1995). Co-author of the Report and member of the Expert Group, headed by Executive Director of RBI, O.P. Sodhani. This “Sodhani Committee” Report is widely regarded as an enlightened blueprint for the development of India’s foreign exchange market.

In addition, Pavan has written many articles to draw attention to challenge presented by the economic invisibility of most ecosystem services and biodiversity, and on the importance of recognizing, measuring, and rewarding the economic value of ecosystem services. This includes an opinion piece for Nature (2009). From 2000, he has also written frequently for several Indian newspapers and magazines (Economic Times, Indian Express, Sanctuary) to popularize the concept of “Green GDP” and measurement of holistic economic growth as against measuring increasing production or ‘GDP growth’ as a yardstick of progress.

Pavan has also lectured frequently on these subjects and the related topics of holistic economics, the economics of nature, green national accounting, and rethinking Corporate performance, at many forums & institutions, including the University of Cambridge, the University of Oxford, The London School of Economics, The Natural History Museum, London (Science Lecture, 2009), Tallberg Forum, The World Economic Forum (Davos), at UNFCCC COP-14 (Poznan), COP-15 (Copenhagen), and COP-16 (Cancun), at UNCBD COP-9 (Bonn) and COP-10 (Nagoya), for IUCN (at Geneva, and in Asia), the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE Bi-Annual Meetings, 2006, 2008, 2010), at Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), at Ethos (SaoPaolo), at , and at public venues such as the Sydney Opera House (2010).


BA Hons Physics, University of Oxford, UK, 1981

Diploma in Economics, Accountancy, and Law, ICAEW, UK, 1983


Fluent in English and Hindi

Working knowledge of French

Other interests

In his spare time Pavan manages a model rainforest restoration & eco-tourism project in Tarzali, North Queensland, Australia ( and an organic farming and eco-tourism venture in the Nilgiri hills of south India ( He enjoys walking in the countryside and visiting national parks and sanctuaries.

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