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What measures would be in a national sustainability index?29th May 2012 by John Drummond
The OECD Better Life Index is a stronger snapshot of total social and economic wellbeing than individual measures like GDP or CO2 reductions. But it’s a snapshot of today and yesterday.
What I believe we need is national and international sustainability indices. National governments should be defining their own targets for 15, 20, 30 years from now in terms of aspirations to sustain and improve lifestyles.
The test for inclusion would be whether the measures are likely to help the nation to track progress towards stronger and more robust communities, economies and environments. The focus is on long-term sustainability (or continuity).
I suggest a national panel to develop these measures. And membership should not be confined to our traditional sources – academics, business leaders, government ministers – but also to people who have experience or insight on significant areas of home and community life.
But what kinds of measures would we be using? This is where I would welcome any thoughts from the vast brains gathered around this network. The kinds of measures I suggest would be a combination of the expected and the unexpected:
- emissions reductions (sure)
- overall employment and reduced unemployment (of course)
- the retained capital of banks
- the affordability of housing for first time buyers (or a change in our perceptions of ownership)
- sales of electric cars
- a reduction in the gap between top earners and lower income earners
- a reduction in food miles
- the percentage of people saving for their retirement
- an increase in the longevity of marriages (currently 11 years)
- employers agreeing young people leave school with the skills they need for a successful working life
- real changes in behaviour to address social issues (overall numbers of people eating well, moving more, drinking less, smoking less, saving energy, recycling more etc…)
It’s a starter for ten. What would be on your list?
By John Drummond
Chairman, Corporate Culture
Tags: OECD Better Life Index