Public Backing for Going Beyond GDP Remains Strong

LONDON – 28 May 2013 – The public around the world remains strongly in favour of replacing GDP with a broader way of reporting national progress, according to a new global poll released today.
The study, conducted by GlobeScan on behalf of Ethical Markets, business think tank Tomorrow’s Company and the ICAEW, surveyed 10,845 adults across 11 countries. It shows that more than two-thirds – 68 percent of citizens on average – in the countries surveyed favour replacing GDP with a broader indicator embracing health, social and environmental statistics as well as economic ones. Twenty-three per cent would rather retain a focus on money-based economic statistics.

The survey was previously conducted in 2010 and 2007. This year’s results show that while globally the proportion favouring going ‘beyond GDP’ has not changed since 2010, there were some significant shifts in individual countries.
The proportion of the public favouring measuring national progress using non-economic factors grew significantly in China (up by 12 points to 80%), the UK (up 11 points to 81%) and Australia (up 10 points to 81%). These three countries now have the largest proportions favouring a ‘beyond GDP’ approach.  India (where 44% want to see a new system), Kenya (43%) and Germany (57%) are the most sceptical of change.

Beyond GDP

Reaction to the Findings

Sam Mountford, Director at GlobeScan, commented: “These results show that, with a return to pre-crisis levels of growth continuing to elude most developed economies, the public remains clear in wanting to look beyond GDP for a more comprehensive measure of national progress. But the shifts in public opinion in some countries like Germany and Brazil suggest that media coverage of public indebtedness and economic stagnation in parts of Europe may have influenced people’s perspective.”
Hazel Henderson, president of Ethical Markets Media (USA and Brazil), commented: “In these eleven countries, the public is still ahead of politicians, economists and financial analysts in seeing how GDP and money-based statistics short-change other important aspects of progress in health, education, environment and overall quality of life.”
Claire Jones, Sustainability and Economics Manager at ICAEW, said: “Accountants are well aware that the choice of information to measure and report affects the way people think and behave. ICAEW supports the use of a broad range of indicators to assess national performance, rather than a narrow focus on GDP, and the survey confirms significant public support for this approach.”
Tony Manwaring, Chief Executive at Tomorrow’s Company added “At Tomorrow’s Company we believe that the future success of business lies in recognising how value is created. Value creation has changed fundamentally in the Age of Sustainability, it must now integrate economic, social and environmental factors in order to deliver in the long-term. If this is true for companies and investors, then it is even truer for countries.  The way we currently measure value is no longer fit for purpose. As Bobby Kennedy put it many years ago, GDP ‘measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile’. We welcome these findings as big step taken on the road for measuring what matters for the sake of people, planet and profit.”

About the Survey

A total of 10,845 citizens across 11 countries were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between January and March 2013. Polling was conducted for Ethical Markets, Tomorrow’s Company and the ICAEW by the international polling firm GlobeScan and its research partners in each company. The margin of error per country ranges from 1.8% to 3.6%, 19 times out of 20.

Question wording

GDP1t. As you may know, all countries measure their progress and development through economic statistics such as Gross Domestic Product or GDP, which counts all of a country’s money-based income and production of goods and services. Which of the following points of view on the best way for the government to measure our country’s progress and development is closest to your own?


01 – The government should measure national progress using the   money-based, economic statistics because economic growth is the most important thing for a country to focus on.

02 – Health, social and environmental statistics are as important as economic ones and the government should also use these for measuring national progress.


99 – DK/NA


For More Information, Please Contact:

About Ethical Markets

Ethical Markets Media (USA and Brazil) is a global multi-media social enterprise with the mission of reforming markets and metrics while helping accelerate and track the transition to the green economy worldwide with our GREEN TRANSITION SCOREBOARD®; our PRINCIPLES OF ETHICAL BIOMIMICRY FINANCE™; our TRANSFORMING FINANCE TV series and our research and daily news at


ICAEW is a world leading professional membership organisation that promotes, develops and supports over 140,000 chartered accountants worldwide. We provide qualifications and professional development, share our knowledge, insight and technical expertise, and protect the quality and integrity of the accountancy and finance profession.

About Tomorrow’s Company

Tomorrow’s Company is a London-based global think tank delivering value for business leaders and owners by addressing the systemic and behavioural questions of the business world. We defined the inclusive duties of directors for the UK’s Companies Act 2006; our work on financial markets informed the creation of the UN PRI; our thought leadership is at the heart of the UK Stewardship Code and of the integrated reporting movement; King III in South Africa acknowledges our influence. We believe businesses can and should be a force for good. We inspire generations of business leaders to shape the way they do business. Our work today will restore the licence for business to operate and for businesses to be successful tomorrow.