Press Release

12 November 2007

 

Worldwide Support for True Wealth Measures:

Three-Quarters Say Governments Should Look Beyond Economics and Measure Social and Environmental Progress

 

Three-quarters of people in ten countries believe their governments should look beyond economics, and include health, social and environmental statistics in measuring national progress. Only 19 percent believe that economic growth alone is the most important measure.

 

Around 1,000 respondents in each country were asked which of two points of view was closest to their own:

 

 

Support for the ‘beyond GDP’ statement is especially strong in developed countries. The French and Italians are most enthusiastic, with 85 percent of people supporting true wealth measures from health and social statistics. Only 10 percent support purely economic indices. In the developing nations of India and Kenya, around 70 percent agree with the broader growth measures, but a significant minority of 27 percent still believe in economics alone.

 

This survey was conducted by GlobeScan, on behalf of Ethical Markets Media, in June to August 2007, and looked at opinions in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Italy, Kenya and Russia. Alignment in the United States seems likely. Previous studies (from the Americans Talk Issues Foundation) have shown up to 79 percent approval of a ‘scorecard’ of quality of life indicators in the United States.

 

These international polling results are timely as a handful of governments have started using growth measures that look beyond pure economics. The ‘Green GDP’, unveiled by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao in 2004, was an effort to adjust China’s economic model to take more account of its environmental consequences. Although recently suspended, the concept was popular with the Chinese population. And Bhutan’s Gross National Happiness Indicators have received media attention worldwide. More recently, the British Conservative Party policy paper recommended using a beyond GDP index as a superior measure to GDP.

 

Further, many governments and non-government organizations have taken the initiative and devised their own indices. The best-known and emulated worldwide is the United Nation’s Human Development Index, founded in 1990, which measures quality of life criteria. The World Wildlife Fund’s ( WWF) Living Planet Index employs data on species loss. Ecological Footprint analyses measure hectares used to sustain our lifestyles. Other similar indices  include the Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) and the Calvert-Henderson Quality of  Life indicators, assessing national trends in the USA since 2000. Many local and city indexes  are now in use worldwide, such as those in Sao Paulo, Brazil and Jacksonville, Florida since 1985.

 

This research across 10 countries shows public support for such broader measures of true wealth, looking beyond GDP. Clearly, international public opinion would be supportive of the goals  of the Beyond GDP Conference in  the European Parliament in November 2007.

 

For media interviews, please contact:

Mr. Chris Coulter, Vice-President

GlobeScan Incorporated

London, UK

+44 20 7253 1441

chris.coulter@GlobeScan.com

 

Hazel Henderson, President

Ethical Markets Media, LLC

St. Augustine, FL

(904) 829-3140

www.EthicalMarkets.com

hhlibry@hazelhenderson.com