The Commission is working on a new tool to measure the wealth and wellbeing of countries beyond the traditional GDP. The new tool will aim to measure 'true' progress, taking environmental and social indicators into consideration.
“The Commission is working to present a comprehensive strategy to move beyond GDP,” said Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas, presenting, on 19 November 2007, a Commission initiative to measure the progress, wealth and wellbeing of nations.
“Next year we will present a communication with a concrete roadmap for action. The Commission has also started to work on an index that would measure progress on environmental issues. Indicators planned for the environment include air pollution in big cities of Europe, the quality of the air that we breathe and the quality of water,” added Dimas. However, he admitted that if finding indicators for environmental issues was relatively simple, it could be more complicated for social issues.
According to the Commission, the EU is committed to taking the lead in the move to integrate non-economic factors into policy-making by 2010. “The special importance of this system is that it would include stock-taking of natural resources and human and social capital, rather than just the use of these resources. The system would also focus on the role of eco-systems in providing welfare,” highlights a press statement.
These topics were discussed at a high-level conference ‘Beyond GDP – measuring progress, true wealth and the wellbeing of nations’, which gathered, on the same day, experts and policy makers from the economic, social and environmental fields to consider the limits of GDP in measuring world economic performance.
The aim of the conference was to highlight that moving towards a low-carbon economy, preserving biodiversity, promoting resource efficiency and achieving social cohesion are today as important as economic growth.