Embedding sustainable development as the ‘central                  organising principle’Summary..............................
Embedding sustainable development as the ‘central                     organising principle’           SummaryThis paper di...
contribute to wellbeing – much of which would be non-marketed or personally       created.   •   It stresses long-termism ...
•   More integration across silos – for example, so that we have the right links       between NHS and social care to avoi...
1. There must be clarity about what is valued and the objective of   sustainable developmentThe term ‘sustainable developm...
“the unifying theme of the report, is that the time is ripe for our measurement          system to shift emphasis from mea...
Another example compares the relative impact of different life events on wellbeing, relativeto a change in income.        ...
This means that we should give greater weight to improvements in the well-being of thosewith the lowest levels of well-bei...
Links between Ecosystems and WellbeingSource: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005The new natural environment framework, ...
dangerous climate change. We are left with the challenge that ‘living within environmentallimits’, if adopted rigorously, ...
Richard Easterlin23. We do not accept this. More recent analytical research suggests thereis a clear link between conventi...
and Genuine Progress Index27. However, we do not recommend adopting that approachfor Wales. This is for three main reasons...
•    The European Union has a broad project, GDP and Beyond, to support the Europe            2020 agenda33. The European ...
2. Making hard choices in policy and investmentThe application of sustainable development as a central organising principl...
Hard choices – SD challenges                                   Wellbeing interventions – where benefits fall relative to c...
A good example is the data that describes cost of carbon reductions and the availablepotential for different technologies....
evidence and evaluation is one way that the public sector can mimic some of theinnovation drivers in the private sector, p...
Health  • Place progressively greater emphasis and resources to evidence-based      preventative measures, as envisaged in...
•   Focus on assisting the transition from economic inactivity to productive activity. The       focus would be on unemplo...
3. It must be possible to secure a sufficiently broad and deep mandate   for our approach to sustainable developmentThis s...
and measures that seem unrealistic now may be regarded as essential in 10 years. Thisdynamic has been the case with accept...
3. Engage: developing motivation to change behaviour     4. Exemplify: lead by example and maintain trust In Wales, we are...
4. Conclusion – sustainable development can be a central organising   principleThe overall theme of this paper is that it ...
Annex 1: Difficulty in defining sustainable development – a             snapshotThe idea of sustainable development gained...
Annex 2. Measuring social and economic progressRecommendations from: Report by the Commission on the Measurement ofEconomi...
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Making sense of sustainable development

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Making sense of sustainable development

  1. 1. Embedding sustainable development as the ‘central organising principle’Summary........................................................................................................................................2 1. There must be clarity about what is valued and the objective of sustainable development .............................................................................................................2 1. Application of the principle must inform distinctive present day choices in policy and investment.................................................................................................................3 2. Through its leadership the government can secure a sufficiently broad and deep mandate for its approach to sustainable development ............................................41. There must be clarity about what is valued and the objective of sustainable development ................................................................................................................................................5 1.1 Wellbeing – the heart of the central organising principle............................................5 1.2 Understanding well-being............................................................................................5 1.3 Is the wellbeing concept useful? ...............................................................................6 1.4 Wellbeing over the life-course.....................................................................................7 1.5 Equality and social justice dimension.........................................................................7 1.6 Environmental wellbeing.............................................................................................8 1.7 WAG approach to public health................................................................................10 1.8 Wellbeing and the economy......................................................................................10 1.9 Should we replace GDP?..........................................................................................11 1.10 GDP and Beyond....................................................................................................122. Making hard choices in policy and investment.....................................................................14 2.1 Hard choices 1: Trade-offs between long-term and short-term outcomes...............14 2.2 Hard choices 2: Silo breaking and system thinking..................................................14 2.3 Hard choices 3: Using evidence...............................................................................15 2.4 Hard choices 4: investment in resilience and future proofing...................................17 2.5 Would a wellbeing approach change how we look at policy?...................................173. It must be possible to secure a sufficiently broad and deep mandate for our approach to sustainable development ..................................................................................................20 3.1 Some approaches to securing a mandate................................................................20 3.2 Public acceptability changes over time ....................................................................20 3.3 The behaviour change agenda.................................................................................214. Conclusion – sustainable development can be a central organising principle...................23Annex 1: Difficulty in defining sustainable development – a snapshot..................................24Annex 2. Measuring social and economic progress ...............................................................25 Page 1 of 25
  2. 2. Embedding sustainable development as the ‘central organising principle’ SummaryThis paper discusses how the Welsh Assembly Government should embed sustainabledevelopment as its central organising principle. The Government of Wales Act (2006)establishes the current legal basis for the Assembly Government’s approach tosustainable development in Wales. Section 79 requires ministers to publish a schemesetting out how they propose, in the exercise of their functions, to promote sustainabledevelopment. The most recent scheme, One Wales, One Planet, was published by theCabinet in May 20091. This establishes Welsh ministers’ commitment to the centrality ofsustainable development in Wales2: Sustainable development will be the central organising principle of the Welsh Assembly GovernmentHaving established that sustainable development should be the central organisingprinciple for a government, the question remains: “what does this actually mean inpractice?”. We suggest three conditions must be met for the concept to be useful for agovernment. These are summarised in the sections below and elaborated in the rest ofthis paper.1. There must be clarity about what is valued and the objective of sustainable developmentA clear definition and overall aim must be agreed for use in Wales and command broadsupport – and it must be clear what is that we value and are trying to produce throughsustainable development. To qualify as a ‘central organising principle’ for a government orcountry, the concept must be very widely applicable and make sense when applied anagenda that spans health, the economy, education, environment, planning etc. Drawingon the definitions used in One Wales, One Planet, we propose that the outcome fromsustainable development should be ‘maximisation of wellbeing of Welsh citizens overthe long term’ as an overall goal – a ‘super-outcome’ to which all other outcomeobjectives contribute. There are several important feature of this: • It is not exclusively or primarily a ‘green’ idea – it is a broad concept and covers all the components of well-being – health, material wellbeing, employment and self actualisation, community and social relations, etc • It is has a strong environmental basis, recognising that eco-systems provide valuable services that underpin the wellbeing of people – ranging from food and clean water to their value for amenity and aesthetics. • It implies a shift of emphasis from measuring value through economic activity alone to a wider concept of ‘value’. Value is defined here as those things that1 Welsh Assembly Government, One Wales: One Planet, a new Sustainable Development Scheme for Wales, 22 May 2009.[link]2 The SD scheme establishes sustainable development as the central organizing principle for the Assembly Government, but also extends the approach to the wider public sector: “we will encourage and enable others in the wider public sector in Wales, to embrace sustainable development as the central organising principle”. Page 2 of 25
  3. 3. contribute to wellbeing – much of which would be non-marketed or personally created. • It stresses long-termism – focussing on the full life course of an individual and the wellbeing of people in the future. It makes us consider natural, human, social, economic capital as stocks to manage and endowments to hand on, and avoiding the transfer of harms to the future. • We care about the distribution of wellbeing and fairness, placing greater weight on people with poor wellbeing and tackling misery. The objective could also be expressed as ‘harm minimisation’. The stronger role for government is in tackling misery. • The focus on ‘Welsh citizens’ is not parochial, but recognises interconnectedness, and that people in Wales are not indifferent to the rest of the world. • There is a good and growing evidence base about wellbeing driversThese ideas are explored in greater depth in section 1.1. Application of the principle must inform distinctive present day choices in policy and investmentThe way the concept is applied must inform policy decisions and resource allocations inthe present. If it does not present hard-edged, distinctive choices, it has limited practicalvalue and becomes little more than a vague aspirational statement about the future. Weargue that pursuit of wellbeing does surface hard trade-offs, and that these are different tothe trade-offs of more conventional policy-making. For example • It will favour investments that yield higher benefits over the longer term at the expense of shorter term measures with lower gains. Sustainable development should lower implicit societal and political discount rates. • It can mean breaking down silos, better integration and system redesign to allow resources to flow to the most effective approaches, to exploit synergies and account for externalities. • It will rely on rigorous application of evidence – especially cost-effectiveness evidence, to ensure that we achieve as much as possible with the available resources • It may involve greater emphasis on resilience, future proofing, and system thinking – and increase investment at the expense of consumptionGenerally we might expect this to mean: • Greater focus on prevention / early intervention: with manifestations in health, criminal justice, environment & energy, family policy, education etc. • More attention to dealing early and effectively with failure – as this has long terms costs and consequences. For example, do we focus enough on children who are failing at school, recognising that the school doesn’t bear the full life-course consequences? Do we allow too many to end up in prison? Page 3 of 25
  4. 4. • More integration across silos – for example, so that we have the right links between NHS and social care to avoid bed-blocking, better handling of transition (eg. when someone comes out of prison), use of ‘upstream’ changes to farming practices rather than downstream water treatment for water quality. • Greater focus on mental health and recognition of drivers of wellbeing in, say, planning where greater weight could be given to securing housing supplyNote: this approach can be viewed as an assertive efficiency agenda. We can seesustainable development as achieving the outcomes that are most highly valued(wellbeing maximised and fairly distributed over the longer term), through the most efficientuse of resources (cost effectiveness), irrespective of institutional barriers (silo-busting).These ideas are explored in greater depth in section 2.2. Through its leadership the government can secure a sufficiently broad and deep mandate for its approach to sustainable developmentAn active and committed government will lead and persuade its citizens through hardchoices and sound trade-offs. However, in any democracy, the public has a veto atelections and can reject a government – and ministers should not be expected to do thingsthat will lose elections. Further challenges may come from those involved in deliveringchanges: professions, service providers, regulators, public servants, or those that believethey will lose out can all potentially defect from sustainable development. However, thegovernment is not a powerless hostage to public opinion, and by the way it governs it canlead. A government seeking to secure a mandate for sustainable development would: • Build trust and confidence – for example through external scrutiny, independent advice, piloting and experimentation, openness and searching evaluation. • Act consistently and comprehensively. People worry about investing in the long- term if they feel there will be free-riders or that the ‘rules’ will change later. • Create compelling narratives – that explain what we are doing and how we change Wales for the better over the longer term. • Seek to make larger changes over a longer period – ‘slow, big wins’. Governments overestimate what they can achieve in the short term and underestimate what they can achieve in the long term”. • Promote behaviour change and culture change– use techniques from behavioural science and economics to change attitudes, motivation and behaviour • Robust political leadership will determine the maximum rate at which change will be accepted by the public and stakeholders. However, there may be limits to the changes that any government can make before being overwhelmed by opposition and unintended consequences and this establishes a political constraint on SD. These ideas are explored in greater depth in section 3. Page 4 of 25
  5. 5. 1. There must be clarity about what is valued and the objective of sustainable developmentThe term ‘sustainable development’ has become widely used and misused – a brief noteon the definitional problems is at Annex 1. However, if it is to be a central organisingprinciple for the Assembly Government, it must have a clear meaning as it applied inWales.1.1 Wellbeing – the heart of the central organising principleThe Government of Wales Act provides powers to Welsh ministers to promote andenhance economic, social and environmental well-being3. One Wales, One Planetprovides the following definition, built on the legal foundations of the Act. In Wales, sustainable development means enhancing the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of people and communities, achieving a better quality of life for our own and future generationsNote the strong citizen focus in this definition. In Wales, sustainable development isdefined in terms of the enhancement of the well-being of people and communities, andquality of life. There is broad stated public support for this approach: a 2005 poll4, 89% ofthose surveyed in Wales agreed with the statement: A government’s prime objective should be achieving the greatest happiness of the people, not the greatest wealth.The other important feature of this definition is long-termism – reflecting the pursuit ofwellbeing for future generations, locking in a commitment to maintain ‘endowments’ ornatural, social, human and economic capital that will affect wellbeing in the future.It is important to recognise that sustainable development is not only or primarily anenvironmental concept – it is not ‘greening up’ of government activity, but a broader anddeeper concept.1.2 Understanding well-beingThere is a growing literature on well-being and a compelling evidence base on whatdetermines well-being is accumulating, with some good overview surveys5 6 7. In 2009,President Sarkozy of France commissioned a panel of eminent economists, including twoNobel laureates, to examine how better to measure economic performance and socialprogress8. The authors focus on well-being and sustainability as the overall objective:3 GOWA (2006) establishes a number of functions for ministers, including several of a general nature such as implementing EU legislation or transfer of ministerial powers. The two specific functions relate to promotion of wellbeing (s.60) and support of culture (s.61). [link]4 NOP for the BBC The Happiness Formula. October 2005. [link]. The detailed poll is accessible from this news story. The relevant statistic is drawn from page 97.5 Young Foundation, The State of Happiness, 2010 [link].6 Social Market Foundation, Wellbeing: how to live the good life and what the government should do to help. [link]7 Layard R, Happiness: lessons from a new science. Penguin, February 2005. A technical annex to the book has been made available on line [link]8 Stiglitz, Sen, Fitoussi , Report by the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, October 2009 (for President Sarkozy of France) [http://www.stiglitz-sen-fitoussi.fr] Page 5 of 25
  6. 6. “the unifying theme of the report, is that the time is ripe for our measurement system to shift emphasis from measuring economic production to measuring people’s well-being. And measures of well-being should be put in a context of sustainability.”The chart below draws on the panel’s description of the dimensions of wellbeing.The authors draw an important distinction between wellbeing now, and the means tomaintain wellbeing in the future: Sustainability poses the challenge of determining if at least the current level of wellbeing can be maintained for future generations Current well-being has to do with both economic resources, such as income, and with non-economic aspects of peoples’ life (what they do and what they can do, how they feel, and the natural environment they live in). Whether these levels of well-being can be sustained over time depends on whether stocks of capital that matter for our lives (natural, physical, human, social) are passed on to future generations.The main recommendations of the Commission on the Measurement of EconomicPerformance and Social Progress are summarised at Annex 2.1.3 Is the wellbeing concept useful?Though a relatively new field in social, psychological and economic research, there is nowa considerable body of evidence and data that illuminate what does and does notcontribute to wellbeing, and what governments may do to influence it. Informationresources are expanding rapidly: the World Database of Happiness9 contains over 6,000studies of measures of wellbeing, trends and correlations. A couple of illustrativeexamples are shown below:The purpose of this paper is not to summarise this extensive literature, but to show that theconcept has the potential to draw conclusions that inform policy and investment. Forexample, Deutsche Bank has examined economic drivers of wellbeing in OECD countriesand drawn some conclusions:Source: Deutsche Bank Research, The broad basis of Source: Deutsche Bank Research, The happysocietal progress. 200810 variety of capitalism. 2007119 Erasmus University, Rotterdam. World Database of Happiness [link] Page 6 of 25
  7. 7. Another example compares the relative impact of different life events on wellbeing, relativeto a change in income. Relative impacts on wellbeing compared to a one-third loss of incomeSource: Richard Layard, 200312. The table compares impacts on wellbeing arising from various life eventswith a one-third fall in income, set to a base of 1.The findings in the wellbeing literature are often contested and subject differinginterpretations. However, this is no different to most of the economic and social researchwe rely on to guide more conventional policy, and it does not preclude policymakersmaking assessments and judgments about what the research suggests we should do.1.4 Wellbeing over the life-courseAs well as the wellbeing of future generations, it is also worth looking at the drivers ofwellbeing over the life-course of an individual – often with the realisation that earlyinterventions can pay large wellbeing dividends later in life. A major study by the ForesightProgramme, Mental Capital and Wellbeing13, examined many drivers of well-being over thelife-course. One of its ‘system maps’ is shown below.1.5 Equality and social justice dimensionThe definition above is elaborated to reflect social justice and equality objectives. We areclear that the distribution of well-being is important. The definition is qualified as follows: • In ways which promote social justice and equality of opportunity;10 Stefan Bergheim, The Broad basis of societal progress: freedom, trust, tolerance, education and much more. Deutsche Bank Research, 2008. [link]11 Stefan Bergheim, The happy variety of capitalism, Deutsche Bank Research, 2007. [link]12 Layard, R. What would make a happier society? Lionel Robbins Memorial Lectures delivered at LSE 5th March 2003 [link ]13 UK Department of Business Innovation and Skills, Foresight Programme, Mental Capital and Wellbeing, [link] Page 7 of 25
  8. 8. This means that we should give greater weight to improvements in the well-being of thosewith the lowest levels of well-being – the wellbeing formulation may be inverted to makethe harm reduction and minimisation priority. Social justice might be defined in terms ofthe distribution of well-being between citizens. This concept that has a parallel inconventional economics – “equity weighting” is used in the relationship between incomeand welfare (a pound for a poor person is worth more than for a rich person)14. This ideais integral to pursuit of wellbeing because the research literature shows that many of thedeterminants of wellbeing are relative: a person’s wellbeing is determined with reference toothers. More fundamentally, it has been argued recently (in ‘The Spirit Level’) that overallsocietal wellbeing outcomes are inversely related to inequality15: “…the effects of inequality are not confined just to the least well off: instead they affect the vast majority of the population”.In some ways, this view implies that the redistributive trade-off in addressing inequalitymay not be as hard as they appear as everyone benefits. However, this analysis has beensubject to serious challenge16.1.6 Environmental wellbeingThe One Wales, One Planet definition also recognises that over the longer term, thenatural and cultural environments are critical determinants of well-being. The definition isfurther qualified as follows: • In ways which enhance the natural and cultural environment and respect its limits using only our fair share of the earth’s resources and sustaining our cultural legacy.Ecosystems services and wellbeing. Some commentators argue that an exclusive focuson well-being will undervalue the environmental dimension of sustainable development. Infact, ecosystems are integral to human wellbeing. The relationship between well-beingand the environment is through ‘eco-systems services’ – valuable non-market outputs likewater quality, landscape, soil productivity etc. that enhance wellbeing. This approach isexpressed in the Millennium Ecosystems Assessment17 in the chart below.When looking at major environmental systems, like the climate, oceans, forests, ourconcern is still ultimately about people. We are concerned about the stability of the climatebecause of what instability does to human welfare and things that matter to us, includingwildlife. This ‘anthropocentric’ view recognises that nature itself is value-free and hasbeen through large and violent changes in climate in history.14 A £1 increase in the income/consumption of a poor person has more value (‘utility’ U) than the same increase in the income of a rich person. HM Treasury uses an evidence-based approximation that utility doubles for each halving of consumption (C). In other words an extra £1 of consumption by someone earning £10,000 a year will be worth twice as much as to someone earning £20,000. The function is U=log(C). See HM Treasury Green Book, Annex 5 [link]15 Wilkinson R, Pickett K, The Spirit Level, Allen Lane, 2009. [slideset]16 Policy Exchange, Beware False Prophets: Equality, the Good Society and The Spirit Level, July 2010. [link]17 Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005. Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis. Island Press, Washington, DC. 2005. [link] Page 8 of 25
  9. 9. Links between Ecosystems and WellbeingSource: Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 2005The new natural environment framework, A Living Wales18, will be a major statement of theimplementation of sustainable development principles in Wales as applied to the naturalenvironment. The first objective of the policy is: sustainable development demands that we create a positive future path for development in its widest sense. This means building sustainable use of our land and seas into the direction of all policies, plans and programmes so that our economic, environmental and social needs are not placed in inappropriate conflict with one another.Addressing climate change. For challenges like climate change, the required rate ofchange justified by the science and global equity almost certainly exceeds the currentwillingness of the public to accept major changes to lifestyles, consumption and to theeconomy, infrastructure and landscape. Research for WAG by the Tyndall Centresuggests that to have a 50% chance of meeting the widely held objective of holding globalwarming to less than 2 degrees Celsius, developed countries would need to peakemissions in 2012, then subsequently reduce by 8% pa by 2015 and 20% pa by 2020,moving to full decarbonisation by 2026-719. This is exceedingly challenging. WelshMinisters have opted for a more modest target than this: from 2011, a 3% reduction perannum on emissions over which Wales has some control. Though this is more ambitiousthan most developed countries, it falls short of what science tells us necessary to avoid18 A Living Wales, a new framework for our environment, our countryside and our seas, Welsh Assembly Government 2010 [link]19 Kevin Anderson. 3%, 6% and 9% - Emission Reduction Scenarios for Wales. Presentation to the WAG Cabinet sub- Committee on Climate Change, Nov 2009. Page 9 of 25
  10. 10. dangerous climate change. We are left with the challenge that ‘living within environmentallimits’, if adopted rigorously, would require a degree of intervention for which we do not yethave broader public support. It is this that informs the third condition: that we must be ableto secure a broad mandate for sustainable development. There are similar challengeswith meeting ecological footprint20 targets.Regulation, compliance and unregulated impacts. A great deal of government effortand private sector investment goes in to complying with regulations – health and safety,environmental, workplace rights and so on. Regulations can be seen as attempts bylegislators to secure wellbeing outcomes by proxy (for example, in setting water or airquality standards) whilst establishing a level playing field so that all businesses face equalcompliance costs. There is an ever-present danger of excessive focus on those aspects ofwellbeing that are regulated at the expense of those that are not subject to regulation. Forexample, air quality standards aimed at health protection may close an industrial plant in adeprived area causing (unregulated) physical and mental health impacts associated withunemployment and greater deprivation. This is not argue against high environmentalstandards, but for legislators to take a rounded view of wellbeing and to introduce highstandards carefully and with long transition times.1.7 WAG approach to public healthSustainable development and public health have strong overlapping themes. The WelshAssembly Government and its partners have identified four main ambitions for 2020 for thepublic health agenda, Our Healthy Future21. These are: • Across society, we will take care of and responsibility for, our own and others’ health and well-being. • Organisations and individuals will work together to improve and protect the health of the people of Wales. • The gap between communities with poor health and those with good health will be reduced. • Healthy public policy will support and enable people to lead healthy lives.1.8 Wellbeing and the economyThe Assembly Government’s Economic Renewal Programme stresses the centrality ofwellbeing and the important place of the economy in sustainable development: ‘As a Government, we want a strong economy, not as an end in itself, but for the integral contribution it can make to the quality of life and the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of people and communities in Wales, placing sustainable development as our central organising principle.Some argue that economic growth and GDP do not contribute to wellbeing beyond acertain level22 - an effect sometimes known as the Easterlin paradox, after the economist20 Ecological Footprint is a composite index based on estimated productive land area required to provide resources or mitigate a variety of environmental impacts. Wales’ ecological footprint is currently 5.16 global hectares per person, compared to a global availability of 1.88 global hectares. It tells us that we are using 2.7 times our fair share of the planets resources to sustain our lifestyles. The 2008 assessment suggested Wales ecological footprint is increasing at 1.5% per year. Unchecked, this means it could rise by 20% by 2020. See Stockholm Environmental Institute, Wales’ Ecological Footprint - Scenarios to 2020 for Welsh Assembly Government, 2008 [link]21 Welsh Assembly Government, Our Healthy Future, Consultation summary. 2009 [link] Page 10 of 25
  11. 11. Richard Easterlin23. We do not accept this. More recent analytical research suggests thereis a clear link between conventional measures of income and wellbeing: researchers at theUniversity of Pennsylvania analysed income and wellbeing data for over 140 countries,and drew three main conclusions24: First, we show that within a given country, richer individuals report higher levels of life satisfaction. Second, we show that richer countries on average have higher levels of life satisfaction. Third, analyzing the time series of countries that we observe repeatedly, we show that as countries grow, their citizens report higher levels of satisfaction. Importantly, we show that the magnitude of the relationship between satisfaction and income is roughly the same across all three comparisons, which suggests that absolute income plays a large role in determining subjective well-being.It is however the case that there are diminishing marginal returns – meaning that eachadditional pound or dollar or income adds less to wellbeing.1.9 Should we replace GDP?There has been a long debate about the appropriateness of GDP or GNP as a measure of‘progress’ or societal success. Perhaps the most eloquent words spoken about the use ofconventional economic measures were spoken by Robert Kennedy in 196825: … GNP — if we judge the United States of America by that — that GNP counts air pollution and cigarette advertising and ambulances to clear our highways of carnage. It counts special locks for our doors and the jails for the people who break them. It counts the destruction of the redwoods and the loss of our natural wonder in chaotic sprawl. It counts napalm and it counts nuclear warheads, and armored cars for the police to fight riots in our cities. It counts Whitmans rifle and Specks knife, and the television programs which glorify violence in order to sell toys to our children. Yet the Gross National Product does not allow for the health of our children, the quality of their education, or the joy of their play. It does not include the beauty of our poetry or the strength of our marriages, the intelligence of our public debate or the integrity of our public officials. It measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country; it measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are AmericansThere are measures that attempt to address some the deficiencies highlighted inKennedy’s speech. These include the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare (ISEW)2622 For example, Richard Layard – Lionel Robbins memorial lecture 2003 [link] argued that national average happiness is independent of national income above $15,000. The effect was referred to by the Archbishop of Wales in his Christmas 2010 message [link]23 Easterlin R. Does Economic Growth Improve the Human Lot? Some empirical evidence, 1974. University of Pennsylvania [link].24 Sachs D, Stevenson B. Wolfers J. Subjective Wellbeing, Income, Economic Development and Growth, University of Pennsylvania, for the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. September 2010 [link]25 Robert Kennedy, 18 March 1968, at University of Kansas26 ISEW deducts ‘defensive’ spending, reflects changes in the stock of natural capital, and values non-marketed productive work (housekeeping, caring etc). It was developed in Daly, H. & Cobb, J. For the Common Good. 1989. [Wikipedia article] Page 11 of 25
  12. 12. and Genuine Progress Index27. However, we do not recommend adopting that approachfor Wales. This is for three main reasons. • Firstly, there is limited political, official and public attention and resources available to give to embedding sustainable development. This capital needs to be used on developing the ideas and machinery that create meaningful change. It is more important to focus on articulating and making hard choices (see section 2) and on building a political mandate (section 3). GDP has its uses and abandoning it would needlessly arouse suspicion that we were no longer concerned with the economy. • Secondly, an aggregate index will often mix different very measurements and in doing so lose important information. We prefer to use a suite of indicators that characterise wellbeing in a disaggregated way. In fact, we should see this as a major purpose of the new National Survey for Wales. • Thirdly, it may distract from improving the way we consider more conventional economic data. President Sarkozy’s commission recommended a focus on the household perspective, greater attention to wealth and debt, and concern for income distribution – these ideas are to be welcomed.1.10 GDP and BeyondIf we do not seek to replace GDP, there is great scope to widen the scope of measures ofprogress. There is now considerable activity in statistics organisation devoted to what isloosely termed “GDP and beyond”, drawing a deliberate contrast with “Beyond GDP”.There are several relevant initiatives underway: • Statistics Wales is incorporating wellbeing measures in the new National Survey of Wales28 and the Assembly Government Cabinet agreed in January 2010 that a new sustainable development indicator would be ‘the wellbeing of Wales’, with the ‘overall life satisfaction’ element of wellbeing to be measured using the National Survey29. • The UK Office for National Statistics is developing new measures for wellbeing30 and publishing research articles on the subject31 • European national statistics organisations have agreed the Sophia memorandum on measuring progress, wellbeing and sustainable development32;27 GPI is promoted by ‘Redefining Progress’ organization [web link] [Wikipedia article]28 Statistics Wales, National Survey for Wales. 2011. [link]29 Welsh Assembly Government, Cabinet minutes, 11 January 2010. [link]30 ONS, Measuring national wellbeing, Consultation. 2010 [link]31 ONS, Understanding wellbeing. September 2010 and ongoing. [link]32 Sophia memorandum: measuring progress, wellbeing and sustainable development, Sophia Bulgaria, September 2010 [conference] [memorandum] Page 12 of 25
  13. 13. • The European Union has a broad project, GDP and Beyond, to support the Europe 2020 agenda33. The European Commission has issued a communication34 and the European statistical organisation, Eurostat, has developed a work programme35. • The OECD has a programme on measurement of the progress of societies36; • President Sarkozy of France established the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress lead by top economists.3733 European Commission and partners: Beyond GDP: measuring progress, true wealth and the wellbeing of nations [link]. Note that this evolved into GDP and Beyond, to avoid the idea that GDP had become an obsolete measure.34 COM(2009) 433 final. GDP and beyond: measuring progress in a changing world. August 2009. [link]35 Eurostat, GDP and Beyond, [link]36 OECD, Measuring the Progress of Societies, [link]37 Stiglitz J, Sen A, Fitoussi JP, Commission on the measurement of economic performance and social progress, 2008 and ongoing [link]. Page 13 of 25
  14. 14. 2. Making hard choices in policy and investmentThe application of sustainable development as a central organising principle will lead toseveral forms of immediate ‘hard choices’ and different choices – if it does not, then it haslittle value. Each type of choice is about securing the best possible long-term well-beingreturn from the available resources. These choices can be framed as a broad efficiencyand effectiveness agenda for a government, and are particularly important when theresources are becoming more scarce. Four examples are suggested below.2.1 Hard choices 1: Trade-offs between long-term and short-term outcomesSustainable development create trade-offs and tensions between dealing with theimmediate needs of the current population and investing in better outcomes later in the lifecourse of people who are young today or for future generations. A determination topursue long-term outcomes presents governments with some very hard-edged choicesabout the use of resources and policy focus. For example, it may mean a gradual shift ofresources to preventative health or early-years interventions with lower spending ontreatment. It may mean action to grip teenagers going wrong, rather than deal with theconsequences later in life in prisons. It means making investments today that may bearfruit handsomely decades from now – a kind of societal “invest to save”. In a growingeconomy, these changes may be managed by allocating proceeds of growth to longer-term objectives.2.2 Hard choices 2: Silo breaking and system thinkingSilo-breaking. The principle requires us to break down traditional administrativeboundaries or ‘silos’. For example the best health outcomes may be achieved through thepublic health agenda largely pursued outside medical settings. Good schools may bemore effective at reducing crime than the police. Highly disruptive families may imposecosts on many different services, but there may be no service that sees the full picture andcan act accordingly. Some of the best environmental strategies may be in resourceproductivity and realised through a growing economy, new housing and new vehicles.System thinking. In each case, the design of the optimum approach involves taking aview of the full system in which outcomes are determined. This in itself is difficult, as mostpolicy makers are themselves located in a silo – for example with responsibilities forschools but not for impacts on criminal justice system or unemployment that may flow fromschool failure. This requires development of policy-making structures that allow a fullsystem view of wellbeing determinants – and this does not happen spontaneously.Breaking silos and promoting long-termism do not happen easily, but these are importantconcepts with the Enabling Government framework, reflecting its outcome focus.Techniques such as pooled budgets, commissioner-provider splits, innovation margins andinstitutional champions (for example, Hungary has a Commissioner for Future generations)can all help.The diagram below illustrates some of the challenges that arise from costs and benefitsarising at different times and in different silos. Page 14 of 25
  15. 15. Hard choices – SD challenges Wellbeing interventions – where benefits fall relative to costs Smart grid Public health Future Water metering Youth inclusion vs prison Climate adaptation Intensive family interventions Social care vs NHS beds NEETS to work Now Catchment sensitive farming Renewables decarbonisation vs water treatment Biofuels Energy efficiency Same silo Different siloThe diagram (work in progress) maps the challenges of wellbeing programme redesign by showing wherethe investment costs and resulting benefits fall in different parts of the system or in the future.Transfer of harms. If we have ‘innovative silos’, in which each attempts to maximise itsown direct performance with the resources allocated to it, there will be a series of transfersor ‘dumping’ of harms or costs to other silos: • Between different parts of the public services – for example in the costs associated with school failure from education to criminal justice, or from the planning system to housing benefit, or from NHS mental health services to the police. • Between tiers of government (central to local) – eg. from pension provision to social care • Between sectors (from public to private) – for example in transport investment to congestion, from flood defences to households via flood insurance and cleaning up costs2.3 Hard choices 3: Using evidenceIt may sound obvious, but the use of evidence, especially economic evidence related tolong-term cost-effectiveness, should be an important guide to where policy and investmentis focussed. One Wales, One Planet establishes this approach38: Full costs and benefits - we will identify and take account of the full range of costs and benefits, including those over the long-term, those not measured in monetary terms (such as environmental costs and benefits), and those costs that are global as well as local in our policy making. We will promote whole system thinking, taking account of risks - especially to the economic, social and environmental wellbeing of communities - and uncertainties associated with action and inaction.38 Welsh Assembly Government, One Wales, One Planet, May 2009. See supporting principle 2 on page 26. [link] Page 15 of 25
  16. 16. A good example is the data that describes cost of carbon reductions and the availablepotential for different technologies. The marginal abatement cost curve for the UK in 2020as set out in the 2007 UK Energy White Paper is shown below. The technologies to theleft of the chart hanging below the axis are those that save users more than they cost –and these should generally have priority in policy and investment terms. Using this sort ofevidence, and consideration of wider benefits would tend to focus energy investment ondemand side energy efficiency measures rather than energy production technologies. Onthe basis of this sort of evidence we have reorientated WEFO funding towards energyefficiency. We should note, with some concern, that much of the national response toclimate change adopts technologies from the right hand side of this chart: UK investmentin renewables is by 2020 is expected to reach £136 billion, but only £21 billion for energyefficiency39.Why is using evidence a ‘hard choice’? The reason it can be a hard choice to pursueevidence is that interest groups (both external and internal to government) can formaround particular ideas, approaches or technologies. Further, evidence can challengeprior commitments, established ideas and received wisdom – all creating barriers toeffective sustainable development (and sometimes in the name of sustainabledevelopment).Evidence in public sector innovation. The private sector has an effective innovationsystem – unattractive ideas ultimately cause business failure, successful ideas areselected by consumers and create growth. The key ingredient in private sector innovationis failure: this allows a lot of new ideas to be tried, but ensures resources are directedaway from poor products or services. The equivalent function in the public sector isperformed by scrutiny and voter disaffection – but this can cause public sector agents toclose ranks and defend poor ideas or ineffective spending. A rigorous approach to39 Dieter Helm, in Delivering a 21st Century Infrastructure for Britain, Policy Exchange , 2009. [link] Page 16 of 25
  17. 17. evidence and evaluation is one way that the public sector can mimic some of theinnovation drivers in the private sector, providing the evidence is acted upon.The Assembly Government is strengthening its approach to evidence-based policy-makingthrough development of the Policy Mill, Policy Gateway and Policy Integration Team – it isalso, of course, the core business of civil servants to use evidence. However, thestructural changes implied by adopting wellbeing as an organising principle may requiremore profound programme redesign. Some possible examples of how our approach maychange are set out in the following section.2.4 Hard choices 4: investment in resilience and future proofingThere are trade-offs between consumption and investment in infrastructure. This is visiblein the interpretation of the duty of regulators40 to protect consumer interest by holding billsdown (freeing up income for current consumption), but sometimes at the expense ofinvestment that would serve consumers or citizens better in the future. There areimmense challenges in infrastructure: decarbonising and securing energy supplies;introducing economic demand management (smart grids, road pricing, congestioncharging); developing a supply infrastructure for electric vehicles; climate changeadaptation through water and flood management; digital inclusion and the move to veryhigh speed broadband; meeting housing and mobility demands of a growing, aging,affluent and atomising population; and the aggressive pursuit of resource productivity innatural resources, waste and energy. ‘Social infrastructure’, for example for social andhealth care and for all tiers of education will face similar demands.A government pursuing sustainable development will be diverting a greater share ofnational resources into investment and into infrastructure, at the expense of currentconsumption.2.5 Would a wellbeing approach change how we look at policy?The use of wellbeing-maximisation as a central organising principle is only worthwhile if itchanges the way we design our policies and services. These are some examples, not acomprehensive list of how a long-term wellbeing maximisation approach may change theway we make policy or deliver services41:Schools • Ensure the incentives and performance management for schools give proper weight to addressing the needs of those failing and at risk of leaving unqualified, considering the lifetime negative wellbeing consequences. The full lifetime cost of failure is not fully internalised in schools incentive structures • Teach ‘resilience’ – drawing on the evidence that it improves academic performance and employability.40 Note ‘under investment’ pre-dates the current privatised regulated industries – one of the prime motivations for water privatisation was to correct historic under-investment in environmental measure and water quality.41 These are not conclusions, more like questions that might be prompted by applying a ‘long-term wellbeing maximisation’ principle. Page 17 of 25
  18. 18. Health • Place progressively greater emphasis and resources to evidence-based preventative measures, as envisaged in Our Healthy Future, and relatively less to treatment – though recognise that demographics and societal preference will drive underlying demand • Challenge the approach to the last years of life – considering whether the expense and intensity of interventions in the last two years of life provide the dignified death that most people say they want. • Place greater emphasis on mental health, with investment in cognitive behavioural therapies.Families and community • Integrate services and intervene intensively for the 2-3% families at most risk. A dysfunctional family can create costs up to £250,000/year across many different domains – and no single agency is likely to have the full picture or be able to make the optimum investment. • Focus on adults and parenting skills, even if the objective is to secure wellbeing and social mobility of the children • Find ways to help isolated older people to develop social networks and remain involved • Recognising that relationship breakdown has negative wellbeing consequences, provide support for couples in difficulty and address potential drivers o breakdown (drugs, debt, prison) • Promote opportunities for neighbours to get to know each other, based on clear evidence that this tends to enhance wellbeingCriminal justice system • Learn from Finland. Shift sentencing policy to minimise overall harm, including cost to taxpayer and consequences of reoffending: generally moving to community sentencing, restorative justice and prison as a last resort. • Greatly expanding ‘youth inclusion’ programmes and focussing on failure at school. • Focus prisons on reducing reoffending, with greater attention aid to preparing for law-abiding life outside, avoiding extremely disruptive short-stay sentences and greater attention to transitions from custody to the community • Adopt a harm minimisation approach to drugs – perhaps including prescribingEconomy • Hard choices may lead to accepting a lower rate of GDP growth in exchange for reduced inequality and wellbeing. Page 18 of 25
  19. 19. • Focus on assisting the transition from economic inactivity to productive activity. The focus would be on unemployment and jobs at all levels in the economy, not just hi- tech or knowledge-based. • Focus on building the foundations of sustainable growth (establishing conditions in which forward looking and well managed businesses can thrive – with clear signalling about environmental and other wellbeing imperatives) rather than direct business support • Reshape apprenticeships and other programmes for teenagers to strengthen psychological fitness to help young people find and keep work • Ensure the planning system properly reflects the wellbeing value of employment and development • Design transportation, housing and economic development policy to reduce commuting time and allow a more localised economic and social geographyEnvironment and rural • Promote resource efficiency as a dominant environmental strategy. • In energy sector transition, place greater emphasis on the demand side and energy efficiency – relatively less on renewables. Be wary of high carbon cost technologies (microgen, PV etc) • Address diffuse water pollution through catchment management on farms, with less reliance on expensive and energy intensive water treatment. • Recognise total cost of flooding includes private costs (pooled cleaning up costs through insurance) and seek harm minimising allocation between avoiding floods, reduction of impact when a flood happens and costs of damage/repair. • Give greater weight in the planning system to the value that people place on owning their own home and living in pleasant surroundings • More carefully differentiate protected areas – avoid overprotecting some and under- protecting others and give weight to accessibility as a wellbeing driver • Recast farming as a land management occupation and production of a mix of market good (food) and non-marketed goods and services – for which payments are made. • Only go beyond regulations made at UK or EU level where the wellbeing case justifies it (applies generically). Page 19 of 25
  20. 20. 3. It must be possible to secure a sufficiently broad and deep mandate for our approach to sustainable developmentThis section discusses the third principle for embedding sustainable development as acentral organising principle: that the rate and extent of change in advancing sustainabledevelopment must be sufficiently acceptable to citizens. This idea is addressed in OneWales, One Planet, which defines one of the core principles for sustainable developmentas citizen involvement: Involvement - people and communities are at the heart of sustainable development, so we will be inclusive in our involvement of all our stakeholders in the development of our policies and programmes, and the identification of solutions that meet their needs, pro- moting innovation in the way that we deliver services.Securing a sufficient mandate’ is an expression of the same idea expressed in the negat-ive – that the agenda for sustainable development cannot go beyond what people andcommunities are willing to accept at any time, whilst aiming to change that over time. Thenegative expression is chosen because it reflects the reality of resistance to change andthe real challenge that ambitious governments experience in bringing citizens with them.3.1 Some approaches to securing a mandateSome approaches to winning public acceptance include42:• Establishing a clear narrative that supports the policy and is maintained over time• Promote a coherent governing philosophy – in this case sustainable development as a central organising principle meaning the maximisation of wellbeing over the longer term• Piloting and developing compelling case studies – allowing for problems to be ironed out at small scale, while providing convincing exemplars that build confidence• Carefully cultivating public trust in the government• Allow, encourage and seek independent critique and advice• Adopting behaviour change strategies (see below)• Keep back resources to fund change and innovation (don’t allow all resources to be consumed in the programmes of the past)• Making large changes gradually to avoid dislocations and to allow for structural adjust- ment. The following observation from Geoff Mulgan captures this idea: Governments overestimate their power to achieve change in the short term, and under- estimate it in the long term3.2 Public acceptability changes over timeThe discussion of major environmental challenges in relation to the ecological footprint andclimate change (see 1.6 Environmental on page 8) suggests that profound and rapidchanges are justified by the science. Ministers have determined that, at least for now, anambitious but achievable rate of change should form the basis of our approach to environ-mental targets. This is an example of applying the principle of securing sufficient public ac-ceptance. However, attitudes and the willingness to accept or demand change will evolve42 This section draws on the thinking of Geoff Mulgan. Lessons of power, Prospect Magazine, May 2005. [Link] and his book Good and bad power: the ideals and betrayals of government. Penguin, 2006 Page 20 of 25
  21. 21. and measures that seem unrealistic now may be regarded as essential in 10 years. Thisdynamic has been the case with acceptability of restrictions on public smoking for ex-ample. However, smoking provides a reminder of how slow change can be. The RoyalCollege of Physicians first highlighted the mortal risk from smoking in 1961. The impactsof smoking are largely personal and controllable through stopping, whereas impacts of cli-mate change are global, systemic and require unprecedented international and intergener-ational collective action, which even if achieved can only reduce the rate at which the haz-ard risks increase.3.3 The behaviour change agendaPolicymakers have recognised that many of the most important decisions related to sus-tainable development are in the hands of individuals, families, communities and busi-nesses. For this reason, interest in influencing behaviour has grown rapidly in recentyears and there is a substantial body of popular43 and professional work to draw on44 45 4647 .The UK sustainable development strategy develops a simple model which focuses on fourmain elements (each beginning with ‘E’)48. The 4-E model for behaviour change From: Securing the future: UK sustainable development strategy, 2005. Chapter 2The model captures four essential features of a behaviour change strategy: 1. Encourage: establish an incentive structure 2. Enable: make it easy to respond to the incentives43 Thaler and Sunstein Nudge: Improving decisions about health, wealth and happiness, 2008 [Nudge blog]44 Darnton A GSR Behaviour Change Knowledge Review. Reference Report: An overview of behaviour change models and their uses, London. Government Social Research. 2008 [Link]45 GCN/COI Communications and behaviour change. 2010 [Link]46 Cialdini Influence: The psychology of persuasion. 2007 [Cialdini’s Wikipedia entry]47 New Economics Foundation Behavioural Economics: Seven Principles for Policy Makers, 2005 [link]48 UK Government, Securing the future: delivering the UK sustainable development strategy, [Link]. See Chapter 2, Helping people make better choices. Page 21 of 25
  22. 22. 3. Engage: developing motivation to change behaviour 4. Exemplify: lead by example and maintain trust In Wales, we are adopting this framework – recognising the value of its simplicity and cov-erage and the merits of sticking with one memorable model. Within this model, it is import-ant to have detailed understanding of human behaviour. There is much work in this area,but a particularly useful formulation for policy-makers has been provided by the Institute forGovernment, termed ‘MINDSPACE’ (an acronym) 49Many of the outcomes we seek from sustainable development and wellbeing maximisationrequire ‘co-production’ or decisions and action to be taken by individuals, families com-munities or businesses where regulation would not be possible or desirable and ‘soft’measures are necessary. The science of behaviour change will become an important partof policy making and delivery for sustainable development.49 Institute for Government, MINDSPACE Influencing behavior through public policy, 2010 [link] Page 22 of 25
  23. 23. 4. Conclusion – sustainable development can be a central organising principleThe overall theme of this paper is that it is possible to make sustainable development a‘central organising principle’ for a government, wider public sector and nation.The government must be able to state its objective clearly. In this case we propose themaximisation and fair distribution of wellbeing of people in Wales over the longer term. Itwill place greater emphasis on the long term outcomes and investment in resilience andinfrastructure. It must draw rigorously on the cost-effectiveness evidence to know whatworks and ensure limited resources are used to greatest effect. In both policy-making anddelivery it will need to take a full systems view and break down silos or other institutionalbarriers to maximising wellbeing. Finally, it will recognise sustainable development to be apolitical programme, requiring high standards or governance and trust building to secure amandate for the hard choices that sustainable development must involve. Page 23 of 25
  24. 24. Annex 1: Difficulty in defining sustainable development – a snapshotThe idea of sustainable development gained prominence following the BrundtlandCommission in 198750 Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needsAs an idea, ‘sustainable development’ commands widespread support: for examplethrough 178 countries’ support for Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration of 1992, its positionas Millennium Development Goal seven, and through the 2005 UK SustainableDevelopment Strategy, Securing the Future. Yet as an idea, it is poorly defined andoverused. It is often little more than an exhortation to resolve difficult problems and toreconcile the irreconcilable51, a vague aspiration to create a better future52 or a programmeof primarily environmentally-based activities53. It has sometimes been used as a vehiclefor promoting particular ideologies or economic prescriptions54 and it has been embracedby some extremely unlikely businesses55. It is sometimes described in terms of managing‘capitals’56 and has its ‘weak’ and ‘strong’ variants57.Critics divide into two main camps. Many argue that the term is too loose to be useful58: I know that this term is obligatory, but I find it also absurd, or rather so vague that it says nothingThey argue that it fails through contradiction – who could favour development that isunsustainable? Others claim that the concept is so challenging that it only has meaningfollowing huge changes in human civilisation that are well beyond what is generallydescribed by proponents of sustainable development, for example that living withinenvironmental limits cannot be consistent with economic growth59 or the resourcedemands of current and projected human populations are untenable60.50 United Nations. "Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development." General Assembly Resolution 42/187, 11 December 1987 [Link]51 For example, the Division of Sustainable Development in the UN says: “The achievement of sustainable development requires the integration of its economic, environmental and social components at all levels”.52 For example, the UK Sustainable Development Strategy sates: “The goal of sustainable development is to enable all people throughout the world to satisfy their basic needs and enjoy a better quality of life, without compromising the quality of life of future generations”53 The UK Sustainable Development Strategy focuses on four areas, of which three are environmentally driven: Sustainable Consumption and Production: Climate Change and Energy; Natural Resource Protection and Environmental Enhancement; and, Sustainable Communities54 For example, Agenda 21 states: 2.3 The international economy should provide a supportive international climate for achieving environment and development goals by: (a) Promoting sustainable development through trade liberalization…55 Paul Adams, CEO of the tobacco multinational BAT says: “For us, sustainability means addressing key business-related social, environmental and economic impacts in a way that aims to bring value to all our stakeholders, including shareholders.”56 See Jonathan Porritt, former Chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission, Capitalism as if the World Matters, 2007. The concept was developed by Forum for Future and finds many variants in the literature. The five capitals of this model are – Natural, Social, Human, Manufactured and Financial.57 Strong sustainability does not allow for substitution of natural capital for human capital, the weak version does, aiming to maintain total capital stock.58 Luc Ferry, French philosopher, cited in translation on Wikipedia (link)59 For an exploration of these issues see Tim Jackson, Prosperity Without Growth? The transition to a sustainable economy, 2009. Sustainable Development Commission.60 International Policy Network, Morris J, Goklany I (eds) The population bomb revisited. Vol 1, 3, Electronic Journal of Sustainable Development, 2009. www.ejsd.org Page 24 of 25
  25. 25. Annex 2. Measuring social and economic progressRecommendations from: Report by the Commission on the Measurement ofEconomic Performance and Social Progress by Professor Joseph E. Stiglitz,Professor Amartya Sen and Professor Jean-Paul Fitoussi1: When evaluating material well-being, look at income and consumption rather than production2: Emphasise the household perspective … The household perspective entails taking account ofpayments between sectors, such as taxes going to government, social benefits coming fromgovernment, and interest payments on household loans going to financial corporations. Properlydefined, household income and consumption should also reflect in-kind services provided bygovernment, such as subsidized health care and educational services.3: Consider income and consumption jointly with wealth … Measures of wealth are central tomeasuring sustainability. What is carried over into the future necessarily has to be expressed asstocks – of physical, natural, human and social capital.4: Give more prominence to the distribution of income, consumption and wealth5: Broaden income measures to non-market activities … Many services that households produce forthemselves are not recognized in official income and production measures, yet they constitute animportant aspect of economic activity6: Quality of life depends on people’s objective conditions and capabilities. Steps should be taken toimprove measures of people’s health, education, personal activities and environmental conditions. Inparticular, substantial effort should be devoted to developing and implementing robust, reliablemeasures of social connections, political voice, and insecurity that can be shown to predict lifesatisfaction.7: Quality-of-life indicators in all the dimensions covered should assess inequalities in acomprehensive way8: Surveys should be designed to assess the links between various quality of life domains for eachperson, and this information should be used when designing policies in various fields9: Statistical offices should provide the information needed to aggregate across quality-of-lifedimensions, allowing the construction of different indexes.10: Measures of both objective and subjective well-being provide key information about people’squality of life. Statistical offices should incorporate questions to capture people’s life evaluations,hedonic experiences and priorities in their own survey.11: Sustainability assessment requires a well-identified dashboard of indicators. The distinctivefeature of the components of this dashboard should be that they are interpretable as variations ofsome underlying “stocks”. A monetary index of sustainability has its place in such a dashboard but,under the current state of the art, it should remain essentially focused on economic aspects ofsustainability.12: The environmental aspects of sustainability deserve a separate follow up based on a well-chosenset of physical indicators. In particular there is a need for a clear indicator of our proximity todangerous levels of environmental damage (such as associated with climate change or the depletionof fishing stocks.) Page 25 of 25