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The Beyond GDP Newsletter keeps its readers up to date two to four times a year on important developments related to measuring progress, wealth and well-being. To subscribe, simply use the form to the right.
The contribution and value of nature to human welfare and well-being – in other words, our natural capital - tends to be overlooked in many policy decisions and business choices. As a result, ecosystems are being degraded and natural resources are being used in an unsustainable way. Accounting for natural capital allows us to collect and systematise information on the stocks and flows of natural resources and trends over time. In doing so, natural capital accounting informs sustainable policy decision making and business choices. This newsletter explores current efforts made at national, EU and global level to carry out natural capital and experimental ecosystem accounting and assessments. Lisa Waselikowski, Statistical and Scientific Analyst at Eurostat, explains the INCA (Knowledge Innovation Project on Integrated Natural Capital Accounting) project and discusses the importance of natural capital and ecosystem services accounting. Lars Hein, Professor in Ecosystem Services and Environmental Change and deputy chair of the Environmental Systems Analysis Group at Wageningen University, introduces the MAIA (Mapping and Assessment for Integrated Ecosystem Accounting) project and draws on its experience with the UN SEEA-EEA Framework.
Inequality has many dimensions, from income and wealth, to gender, environment, health, education and access to justice. Statistical analysis reveals that many forms of inequality are growing in Europe and across the globe. Historical data illustrates the limitations of a growth focused economic model and the urgent need for policy makers to address inequality. This newsletter explores the different forms of inequality and the methods used to measure it, as well as discussing the role of policies and institutions in shaping and reducing inequality in the future. Lucas Chancel, co-director of the World Inequality Lab, explains his work on the measurement of economic inequality and the development of the World Inequality Report 2018. Ricardo Fuentes-Nieva, Executive Director of Oxfam Mexico, discusses the policy measures to reduce inequalities within nations and results from Oxfam’s Even it up campaign.
The concept of circular economy is gaining growing attention, it represents one approach to address the increasing scarcity of resources and environmental pressures linked to a linear economic model. This newsletter explores the circular economy concept, with a focus on the challenges and opportunities which exist in measuring the transition. At the EU level and internationally, initiatives are in place which aim to monitor circularity. Manfred Rosenstock, Deputy Head of Unit at the DG Environment, describes the design and the role of the EU Circular Economy Monitoring framework. Dr. Bing Zhu, Director of the Institute for Circular Economy at Tsinghua University, explains the development of the Chinese Circular Economy indicator System.
Building resilience has merits in the context of a range of policy areas, but measuring resilience presents challenges due to the dynamic and multifaceted nature of the concept - which is the focus of this newsletter. In Europe and internationally, attempts to implement resilience thinking are present in fields such as development aid, climate adaptation, and fiscal policy. Interviews with Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Network, and Garry Peterson, Professor at the Stockholm Resilience Centre, describe their experiences with resilience in the context of Transition and the Arctic Resilience Report respectively.
In an urbanised world city data is more relevant to policy makers and citizens than ever. This newsletter explores initiatives which attempt to develop indices and apply data to support sustainable development. Over three interviews, Dr Robert Ndugwa from UN-Habitat explaines the role city data will play in contributing to the SDGs and the New Urban Agenda; Carolien Gehrels, from Arcadis, describes their work in developing the Sustainable Cities Index; and Ramon Canal Oliveras provides practical experiences from the Technical Programming Cabinet of Barcelona City Council.
More and more companies publish sustainability reports as part or in addition to their standard financial reporting. This newsletter edition discusses this growing trend, by analysing how companies report on the economic, environmental and social impacts of their decision-making. Representatives of two organisations fostering this trend, Ole Lund Hansen from the UN Global Compact and Eric J. Hespenheide from the Global Reporting Initiative, were interviewed on what has been achieved, and where there is room for improvement.
Scientific research recently developed the concept of Planetary Boundaries, looking at critical environmental thresholds. Will Steffen and Katherine Richardson were involved in the work on Planetary Boundaries and discuss making them relevant to policy makers. In addition, the newsletter gives an overview of some emerging indicators for resource use and ecological thresholds in the EU and globally.
What are the latest developments around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals? Fabiola Riccardini from the Italian Institute for Statistics worked on developing indicators for the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. She provides insights into the challenges of defining suitable indicators and the opportunities ahead for the international community. The newsletter also relates this agenda to the Europe 2020 Strategy and the Sustainable Development Strategy of the European Union.
This newsletter edition looks at green economy and green growth indicators, featuring interviews with José Pineda on the Green Economy Progress Index and Myriam Linster on the OECD Green Growth Indicators. What is the reasoning behind the development of indicators measuring progress towards green economy? We also discuss how to monitor progress towards a green economy through current and future initiatives, both at EU and international level.
This newsletter edition looks at social indicators beyond GDP, featuring an interview with Michael Green on the 2014 Edition of the Social Progress Index. What could be the merits of looking at social developments separately from GDP as an established metric? We also discuss the role of social indicators such as youth unemployment within economic governance at EU level, for example within the European Semester.
This edition of the newsletter focuses on sustainability indices, featuring an interview with Sir Partha Dasgupta and Dr. Pablo Muñoz about the recently published Inclusive Wealth Report 2014, to discover what makes the Inclusive Wealth Index stand apart. We also explore the trade-offs around which factors to include when designing a sustainability index.
October’s newsletter focuses on the recent progress in environmental-economic and ecosystem capital accounting. An interview with Eurostat’s Head of environmental accounts, Anton Steurer, helps better understand Eurostat’s role in supporting progress in this field while the newsletter’s spotlight article provides an overview of recent developments.
In this edition of the newsletter Martine Durand from the OECD explains in the interview OECD’s efforts towards taking a holistic approach to measuring what matters to people, and thereby increase the effectiveness of policy making. We also review progress to date in measuring happiness, well-being and life satisfaction.
Our revamped newsletter reveals interesting examples and important lessons from around the world on the use of alternative indicators in policy making. We interview Enrico Giovannini, Italian economist and statistician, for his insights and experiences from working at the OECD and his role as an Italian minister in trying to apply “Beyond GDP” indicators to decision making.
This newsletter deals with the measurement of progress from a social perspective. It offers an interview with Robert Manchin, Managing Director of the Gallup Organisation Europe, on measuring well-being and social progress. The spotlight of the newsletter summarizes major findings of a global poll of GlobeScan, revealing that the world remains strongly in favour complementing GDP with a broader measure of national progress.
This newsletter offers an interview with Glenn-Marie Lange of the World Bank, who is leading the Global Partnership for Wealth Accounting and the Valuation of Ecosystems Services (WAVES). The spotlight of the newsletter summarizes major achievements in the measurement of progress, wealth and well-being in 2012.
Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment, sees the Rio+20 Conference on sustainable development as "a vital opportunity for changing the metrics". In the main article of the newsletter he explains the aims of the EU delegation at Rio+20.
"The ‘Beyond GDP’ debate concerns not only civil society and international organizations but is also discussed within individual national societies, including Germany" says Member of the German Parliament ("Bundestag") and Chair of the Study Commission on ‘Growth, Wellbeing and Quality of Life’ Ms Daniela Kolbe in an exclusive article.
An important step was taken in the beginning of June towards measuring progress in the EU on a broader basis than GDP alone, when the European Parliament (EP) adopted its resolution on “Beyond GDP” and a new regulation on European environmental accounts as an important implementation tool.
A subject once discussed mainly by researchers and university scholars, the need to develop new indicators to better measure a nation's prosperity and quality of life is now high on the agenda of European policy makers and national governments. This newsletter highlights recent developments in efforts to find measures that complement the current and best known measure of economic activity – Gross Domestic Product (GDP)