The perennial debate over whether income is a good measure of development continues. Today there is wide agreement that many other measures besides per-capita income are needed for measuring overall progress, from health and education to environmental quality as GlobeScan Surveys show, first by Ethical Markets Media in conjunction with the European Parliament’s Beyond GDP conference November 2007, by Ethical Markets in 2010 and by Ethical Markets with the ICAEW and Tomorrow’s Company in 2013 (www.Globescan.com and www.beyond-gdp.eu). The European Commissions’ Conference Beyond GDP in November, 2007, shows a new level of official interest. Britain’s New Economics Foundation released its Happy Planet Index following all the publicity around Bhutan’s efforts to measure Gross National Happiness (GNH) in that Buddhist nation. Happiness surveys have become all the rage as Hazel Henderson reviews in Chapter 1 of Ethical Markets: Growing the Green Economy (2006). We believe that GNH is an appropriate indicator for Bhutan, a small Buddhist nation, but that focusing on “happiness” in other countries has proved too subjective and culture-biased, whereas focusing on results, i.e., wellbeing is a better approach. Todd Moss of the Center for Global Development reviewed the debate in Is Wealthier Really Healthier? (Foreign Policy, March/April 2005). The first program in the Ethical Markets TV Series advanced the debate in Redefining Success.
A 2005 study for the National Academies of Science, Beyond the Market, focuses on the non-money sectors, long covered by Hazel Henderson and advisory board members Edgar Cahn and Riane Eisler. Methodologically challenged, Beyond the Market‘s Advisory Panel was composed solely of economists whose training produced the very myopia they were charged to overcome. Better approaches include the OECD’s social indicators in their Better Life Index, launched in 2011, which surveys 36 nations with evidence on where they rank on housing, income, jobs, community, education, environment, civic engagement, health, life satisfaction, safety and work-life balance – similar indicator sets as the Ethical Markets Quality of Life Indicators; Revolutionary Wealth by futurists Alvin and Heidi Toffler; Edgar Cahn in No More Throwaway People (2000) and The Real Wealth of Nations by Riane Eisler; and Charles Eisenstein’s Sacred Economics (2011), following earlier studies including Lewis Hyde’s The Gift (2007) and Genevieve Vaughan’s For-Giving (1997). The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that reducing US death rates from cancer by 1% would add $500 billion to the US economy in The Value of Health and Longevity (National Institutes of Health, 2006). A ground-breaking set of cultural indicators for food security, sovereignty and sustainable development was proposed in October 2006 by the International Indian Treaty Council, a broad coalition of indigenous peoples.
The Canadian Index of Wellbeing (CIW) launched in 2009, on which Hazel Henderson serves as an Advisor, is now a template for a similar set of indicators of wellbeing being developed for the United Kingdom in the conservative-liberal government of Prime Minister David Cameron.
The Kingdom of Bhutan’s GNH captivated media worldwide after its introduction at the first International Conference on Implementing Indicators for Sustainability and Quality of Life (ICONS) in Curitiba, Brazil, 2003. Hazel Henderson served as a co-organizer and presented the early version of our Ethical Markets Quality of Life Indicators. As media and NGO fascination with GNH grew, the prime Minster of Bhutan was invited in April 2012 to co-chair with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon a High-Level Meeting on Happiness
and Well-Being: Defining a New Economic Paradigm. In as much as this interest in “happiness” has successfully challenged GDP’s focus on money-denominated statistics, this has led to a healthy new debate on broader measures.
The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, released in March 2005, synthesizes information from scientific literature, peer-reviewed data sets and models. This global tool incorporates knowledge held by the private sector, practitioners, local communities and indigenous peoples, concerning the state of natural systems and human well-being. Their useful reports were published by the World Resources Institute and Island Press, Washington, DC. Synthesis Reports are downloadable from www.Millenniumassessment.org. The Environmental Performance Index (EPI) was released in 2006 in a pilot from Yale University, Columbia University, and the World Economic Forum. Top ranked countries at the time of release were New Zealand, Sweden, Finland, the Czech Republic and Britain.
The World Bank’s Wealth of Nations Index (1995) estimated that 60% of national wealth was social and human capital; 20% environmental capital and only 20% the traditional built capital (factories, etc.), a refreshingly radical view soon “deep sixed” and removed from public view. The current president of the World Bank, Dr. Jim Yong Kim, an M.D., is more enlightened and stated in his book Dying For Growth (2002) that “the quest for growth in GDP” had “worsened the lives of millions of women and men” (quoted in The Economist, Stand up for Doing Business, May 25 , 2013).
Another look at quality of life on the whole planet can be found in the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Report. This report uses scientific analysis to compare the Ecological Footprints of 150 nations. Our Advisory Board Member Mathis Wackernagel co-edited the report (www.footprintnetwork.org). Local quality of life was rated by The Economist‘s Intelligence Unit in a ranking of cities’ “livability.” Surprisingly, Pittsburgh was rated the top city in the US in 2011 (29th globally) with Vancouver, Canada, the overall winner.
The breakthrough conference on quality-of-life indicators, ICONS, in Curitiba, Brazil, October 2003, which brought together over 700 statisticians, policy wonks, government officials and business leaders, yielded some important concessions from the IMF. The consensus among statisticians about the need for national accounts to include assets created by public investments was endorsed by Brazil’s finance minister in his negotiations with the IMF. The fund agreed in April 2004 that needed public investments in infrastructure could be excluded from Brazil’s calculations of its ‘primary surplus’ on a pilot project basis. This ‘backdoor’ admission of the need to include accrual accounting in GDP is a step in the right direction. But it’s high time the IMF took some leadership in requiring that a country’s investments in infrastructure assets be properly accounted for so as to offset public debt. Today, the lack of asset accounts overstates public debt, particularly in Japan where public debt is overestimated at over 200% of GDP. This also ignores that this debt is held by Japanese Postal Office savers, not other outside holders. Furthermore, such public investments, beyond water treatment, public health, roads, etc., should also include investments in education. Conferences like ICONS bring quality-of-life debates to the fore, such as the different preferences of Europeans for leisure versus what they see as a “workaholic” US society. Jeremy Rifkin’s The European Dream (2004) explores these differences in cultural choices, which are ignored by traditional economic statistics.
These issues and how to reform international finance, the World Bank, and the IMF are the subject of five programs in the Ethical Markets TV Series, its mini-series, “International Financial Reform,” moderated by Hazel Henderson and first aired in Brazil with guest panelists Kenneth Rogoff (former Chief Economist of the IMF), Sakiko Fukuda-Parr (lead author of the UN Human Development Report), and John Perkins (author of the explosive best-seller, Confessions of an Economic Hit Man Berrett-Koehler, San Francisco, 2004). This 2005 TV series is part of Ethical Markets ongoing series Transforming Finance whose episodes are on demand at www.ethicalmarkets.tv. These programs can be ordered for educational use from www.films.com.
The ICONS conference was preceded by a gathering of 600 business executives interested in exploring socially responsible business and investing, co-sponsored by Brazil’s Instituto Ethos de Empresas Responsibilidade Sociale, on whose international board Hazel Henderson serves. The broader focus of both conferences on indicators measuring socially responsible companies, ethical investing and overhauling economic statistics and national accounts (GNP and GDP) brought together statisticians specializing in both macro level indicators and micro measures of urban quality of life and corporate social performance.
These back-to-back conferences drew participants from all over Latin America as well as from North America, Europe and China. Most impressive at the ICONS conference were the quality-of-life indicators from Brazil’s statisticians at the Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics (IBGE), The Research Institute of Applied Economics (IPEA), the Universities of Sao Paulo, Fundacao Dom Cabral and the Social and Economic Development Index. Many municipal research institutes also presented, including the State of Rio Grande do Sul, the State and City of Sao Paulo’s social responsibility indicators, SEADE and the Atlas ranking Quality of Life in Brazil’s cities.
While most indicators still use economic statistics, researchers recognize the problems with macro-economic measures like GNP and GDP which are too highly aggregated to offer useful real world detail. They “fly over” a country like a plane at 50,000 feet, so that per-capita averaged income masks poverty gaps, social exclusion and mal-distribution between urban, rural and regional populations. Even business groups are focusing on broader health, education and equity issues, as well as on “triple bottom line” (social, environmental and economic) corporate accounting, socially responsible business, investing and consumerism.
Brazil has led in the creation of the new indicators such as its Observatory since hosting the 1992 UN Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, where over 170 governments agreed in Agenda 21 to overhaul GNP/GDP by broadening its scope to account for human, social and environmental capital and costs of depletion and social disruption – “externalities” not borne by the private sector and ignored by mainstream economists. RIO+20 saw a recommitment to overhauling GDP since little progress had been achieved since 1992. A new Inclusive Wealth Index was introduced by the UN University but this still relies too heavily on outmoded economic models, including contingent valuation, WTP (willingness to pay or be compensated) which ignores inequality, information asymmetry and gaps in income and wealth. Only when all social and environmental costs are “internalized” on corporate and government balance sheets, can prices reflect full costs so as to steer societies in more optimal, healthy directions toward sustainable development and quality of life (Henderson, Hazel, “Time to Internalizing Those Externalities and Get Prices Right“). This activity has been accelerated by the news of the corporate crime scandals and political corruption in the USA, and the same for Europe. The costs and harmful effects borne by others are often ignored as “externalities” in economist-speak. Now those hidden social and environmental costs are being quantified, as for example in the USA by the American Sustainable Business Council of which Ethical Markets is a member.
The enthusiasm of participants in quality of life indicator conferences may be related to their former sense of isolation within traditional business and government institutions and operating under conventional economics. Fragmented approaches of individual disciplines have created a conceptual Tower of Babel, with an inability to see whole social systems now requiring integrated policies. Now, economists, sociologists, demographers, anthropologists, thermodynamicists, game theorists, biologists, health statisticians and ecologists all rub shoulders and find useful interfaces and opportunities for more trans-disciplinary cooperation.
New alliances are being forged between banks and “green” asset managers, for example, Banco REAL (now part of Spain’s Banco Santander), Banco do Brazil and the new BOVESPA Index of superior corporate governance (which has outperformed the regular BOVESPA since its inception). BOVESPA has also launched a new Social Stock Exchange composed of nonprofit civic organizations and charities so that they now receive investments for social returns. This market for social investors has closed budget gaps for many vital Brazilian charities. BOVESPA also has a “green” index of sustainable companies, similar to the Dow-Jones Sustainability Group Index, London’s FTSE 4Good, the US-based CALVIN Index and the Domini Social 400. In Business Week in 2008, the de-bunking of the venerable but outdated Dow Jones Average went public – pointing out that the Dow’s total figure was out of touch with the more realistic Standard and Poors 500. Since then, the Dow has reached new nominal highs in May 2013, largely due to the US Fed’s money printing QE1, QE2 and its 2012 QE3 bond-buying, while the real US economy experiences minimal growth and high levels of unemployment beyond the official 7.5%.
New statistics include measuring cultural assets: creativity, design, music, art and growing efforts to close poverty gaps and spread participatory democracy to include all racially and ethnically diverse citizens. As the ICONS participants in Brazil agreed, statisticians and technicians should strive to communicate their data widely – as servants to all people and the democratic process. Key methodological issues include what to measure, how to measure, at what levels – from local, municipal, corporate to national and international. Values and cultural norms underlying government statistics and corporate accounting are highlighted – particularly “triple bottom line” reporting of corporations’ economic, social and environmental performance (Global Reporting Initiative).
The Earth Institute at Columbia University, headed by Jeffrey Sachs, monitors the Millennium Development Goals for the 21st century agreed on by over 190 UN member states in 2000. Sachs picks up the issue of investments in infrastructure as the bedrock of human development. Sachs fails to call for the remedy of including asset accounts in GDP to track the value of infrastructure — but merely notes the shortfall in African countries vis-à-vis other developing countries (“Doing the Sums on Africa,” The Economist, May 22, 2004). Among the Millennium Development Goals: reducing poverty and the global gap between the world’s rich and poor; bringing better nutrition, education and health care to the world’s 2 billion deprived people; and reducing military arsenals while resolving conflicts by negotiation and peaceful means. US support for the UN rose on its continued relevance in matters of war and peace, despite cynicism over the Oil for Food scandal. The effort of Sach’s team to operationalize these Goals is summarized in his book, The End of Poverty (2005). At Rio+20, 191 countries agreed to change the focus to their newer Millennium Sustainability Goals (MSGs) which embrace all the broader multi-disciplinary indicators beyond economics which EMQLI uses.
The Millennium Challenge Account (MCA) provides a select group of developing countries funding to combat HIV/AIDS in Africa and the Caribbean. The Millennium Challenge Corporation runs the MCA based on 16 quantitative indicators to measure the extent to which countries are “ruling justly, investing in their people and establishing economic freedom.” These unbundled indicators (beyond simplistic GDP-growth and ability to service external debt) include among budget deficits and trade policy such broader indicators as immunization rates, primary-school completion rates, control of corruption and protection of civil liberties. For a deeper look at these new international aid initiatives, see David Roodman’s indicators (Ranking the Rich) ranking rich countries’ generosity in aid programs to alleviate poverty (www.cgdev.org).
Greater policy focus is on the absurdity of measuring a country’s progress by growth of its per capita GDP, many of which still lie outside traditional macro-economic analysis: energy independence, arable land; ecological assets (forests, rivers, unique flora and fauna); the education, health, age and demographic structure within populations. Such assets and other factors are not all accounted for in GDP, nor are public infrastructure assets (universities, hospitals, airports, rail and highways and communications networks). This has led to the mis-pricing of the sovereign bonds of EU countries, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal, during the Eurozone crises following Wall Street’s financial meltdown in 2008 (Henderson, Hazel, “What’s Wrong With Market Economics and GDP?”). The USA corrected some of these shortcomings of its GDP in 1996 and Canada followed suit in 2001 by accounting for such public assets as “savings” thus reducing the US deficit figure.
Although the World Bank’s Wealth Index, initiated in 1995, recommends accounting for such assets, including social capital (e.g., civic organizations, well-run cities and social services) and human capital (intellectual assets, culture), this proved too radical, as mentioned, and few in financial circles bother to assess or include such data on sustainability and quality of life (see for example the Economic Report on Africa 2003, UN Economic Commission for Africa, July 2003 (http://www.uneca.org). In 2003, the best performers by GDP per capita growth rates were Mozambique, Rwanda and Uganda, whose economies grew by 12%, 9.9% and 6.2% respectively. But, as pointed out (The Economist, Aug. 16, 2003, p. 68) all three economies had been ravaged by wars and despite over a decade of peace, none had regained its pre-war level of prosperity. Growth rates must be related to baselines! All three countries depend on charity. At the time, aid accounted for 50% of Uganda’s national government budget; in Rwanda 60% and Mozambique 70%. The highly-aggregated GDP measures also obscured large areas of stagnation with growth of incomes occurring largely in their capital cities with huge regional disparities in poverty-ridden rural areas. These examples of the problems of over-averaged statistics are the reason for the unbundled systems approach of Ethical Markets Quality of Life Indicators and their display on our website as a “dashboard” – now the preferred approach by the OECD, CIW and those for the UN’s MDGs, pioneered by Jochen Jesinghaus.
The US economy is still fueled by household, government and corporate debt, domestic and trade deficits, while headline unemployment figures omit millions of discouraged workers no longer counted among those seeking work. Growing awareness of the need to “unpack” such macro-economic indicators led to many media stories on the “hidden unemployment” of those discouraged job seekers, under-employed part-timers, structurally-unemployed youth and minorities (see Employment Indicator). Another anomaly is that growth in hourly productivity translates into fewer jobs as companies strive for efficiency and profits by downsizing their workforces. The10-year study by The Russell Sage and Rockefeller Foundations of the changing structure of US employment and declining average wages pointed to some startling conclusions. Almost one American worker in five reported having been paid less than $8 per hour in 2001. Furthermore, the median American worker’s real hourly wages rose only 7% between 1973 and 2001 (see Income Indicator) according to The State of Working America, published by the Economic Policy Institute — EPI President, Lawrence Mishel serves on our Advisory Board (www.epi.org). The issues of the working poor led Congress to pass legislation to raise the minimum wage to $7.50 following the initiatives in many states. If the US minimum wage kept pace with inflation, it would be at least $12.50 per hour.
Why are returns to capital outpacing returns to employees? Why do ordinary American workers get to keep less of what they produce than ordinary workers in other rich countries? The Russell Sage – Rockefeller Foundations’ reports on why the gap between rich and poor is wider than in most other rich democracies: “its politics, stupid”! These differences in income distribution seem to be traceable to differences in constitutional arrangements, electoral systems and economic institutions. These differences, in turn, affect the political balance, the level of spending on the welfare state and a wide range of other economic policies. Economic inequality is less pronounced in countries that favor multi-party systems and proportional representation (rather than a two-party system) and produce more equal economic outcomes. A summary of this ground-breaking research was published in The American Prospect, January 2004 (www.prospect.org). In our Current Issues, we cite the 2011 study by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, The Spirit Level, and the research of the Human Givens Institute, both in the UK, which confirm that inequality leads to measurable social costs.
Journals cover the growing debate about quality of life in both the USA and Canada. We are proud to have helped lead this debate. In the USA, a member of our original Advisory Board, Jeff Madrick, editor of the journal Challenge and regular columnist for the New York Times, edits Indicators: The Journal of Social Health to report on those who are measuring quality of life. Madrick noted in his inaugural Letter from the Editor “For too long, the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) has borne, almost alone it seems, the responsibility of measuring how well-off we are…But consider what GNP does not measure: the distribution of income, the hours people must work, household labor, the degradation of the environment, the use of leisure time…. It tells us little about education, healthcare or job satisfaction…nor does it distinguish between kinds of investment in the future of our economy.”
These are all issues covered by the Ethical Markets Quality of Life Indicators since its inception as the Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators (desk reference manual published in January 2000, available here ). In Hazel Henderson’s article for Madrick’s Challenge (December 1996) What’s New in the Great Debate About Wealth and Progress, she made the same points. In Canada, Ron Colman’s journal, Reality Check, covers this ongoing debate, with in-depth examinations of how Canada accounts for its wealth of forest resources and how more accurate valuation of these ecological assets could protect them from over-exploitation; how conventional economic measures distort our sense of who’s well-off and who’s not, as well as the Canadian government’s $9 million commitment to develop its Canadian Index of Wellbeing and other indicators of environmentally-sustainable development (http://www.nrtee-trnee.ca). Reality Check illustrated the importance of more comprehensive macro indicators, with examples of how measuring the social costs of technological choices can led to better national policies in Canada’s transportation and food systems (www.gpiatlantic.org/realitycheck). Ron Colman serves on our Advisory Board and is currently guiding the follow-up research from the UN conference mentioned earlier on measuring wellbeing, April 2012.
Other initiatives include many in Europe following the Beyond GDP Conference in 2007; early stage work on Quality of Life Indicators for Mexico City and the City of Shanghai, China; a Local Sustainability Certification initiative by the Institute for Political Ecology, Santiago, Chile (www.sustainabilitycertification.org). Japan for Sustainability is a non-profit platform for disseminating information on Japan’s progress toward sustainability (www.japanfs.org). The European Commission’s Joint Research Center is continuing work on its Dashboard Tool for Measuring Policy Performance, designed by the Consultative Group on Sustainable Development Indices (CGSDI). Their Policy Performance Index (PPI) evaluates governmental policy and performance on Economy, Environment and Social Care. The contrasting paradigms are illustrated in the gap between the Davos-based World Economic Forum vis-à-vis the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brazil. http://www.forumsocialmundial.org.br/home.asp. In 2007, France’s then President Sarkozy formed his Commission with economist Joseph Stiglitz, Amartya Sen and Jean-Paul Fitoussi, whose report called GDP a “fetish” but offered few reforms beyond economics toward the needed systems view we take in EMQLI (see Henderson critique, IPS 2008)
For an overview of these “life satisfaction” methodological approaches, see Life Satisfaction: the state of knowledge and implications for government, by Nick Donovan and David Halpern, with Richard Sargent, commissioned by the cabinet of Office Strategy Unit of the British government. The group surveyed national and cultural differences and trends. For example in Denmark the percentage of people who were “very satisfied” with the quality of lives rose from 51% in 1973 to 64% in 2001. By contrast, in Belgium during the same period, those “very satisfied” fell from 44% to 18%. The study ranges over genetic and demographic factors to work, unemployment, inequality (both caused serious loss of satisfaction), to health (a crucial factor), and education, which had very little effect. Social life and leisure were key contributors to a satisfied life – as our Re-Creation Indicator also shows. Relationships with spouses, family and community were also key, as well as freedom and democracy. Yet in 2013, as Europe suffers under “austerity” and other obsolete economic approaches, even Sweden, long a model of social inclusion and stability, suffered riots due to unemployment and rising poverty gaps.
As we now see, social, environmental, and ethical auditing and the “triple bottom line” of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) are now matched by a host of new macro-level and global indicators and indexes. As the Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators, our indicators were introduced to the professional statistical community in 2000, developed as a new tool for assessing national trends in the USA. Since this release of our technical reference manual in January 2000, our Quality of Life Indicators have been widely and favorably reviewed (see “Endorsements“). They have been presented at professional conferences in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, China, and Venezuela, as well as at United Nations conferences and in Germany, Britain, Sweden, Poland, Czech Republic and many other European countries. During visits to Brazil, Hazel Henderson presented the Indicators before many government, business and civic society organizations as well as on a half-hour program on TV Cultura. Our Indicators serve as a backdrop and thematic underpinning of the financial lifestyle TV series Ethical Markets.
Both macro and micro sets of social and environmental indicators are proliferating; for example, the “Social Health of the States” released by Marc J. Miringoff (Miringoff 2001) of Fordham University’s Institute for Innovation in Social Policy (also a former consultant to the Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators). Examples of environmental and sustainability indicators abound in many states, from Maine to Oregon. Other indicators follow the pioneering work of the annual United Nations Human Development Index, launched in 1990. All these attest to the growing importance of measuring both corporate and governments’ social performance and societies’ overall quality of life. In 2000, the Calvert Group launched the Calvert Social Index of around 600 socially responsible corporations. The Dow Jones Sustainability Group Index launched in 1999 and in 2001, London’s FTSE100 launched its own FTSE4 Good, and Brazil’s stock exchange, BOVESPA, launched its New Market Index of socially-responsible companies, which has out-performed its main index by a steady 1% ever since. New corporate metrics, including Innovest, KLD and many others measuring “triple bottom line” performance (people, planet, profit), ESG integrated reporting has been acquired by Morgan Stanley, and we at Ethical Markets, in cooperation with Biomimicry 3.8, have issued our Principles of Ethical Biomimicry Finance™ offered under license to asset managers – these new metrics build on and access many of these earlier metrics.
Questioning financial markets, auditing standards and political corruption has accelerated trends toward greater transparency and accountability. Groups including the Network for Sustainable Financial Markets, the Green Economy Coalition (both of which Ethical Markets is a member), Trucost, Carbon Tracker, GMI, RepRisk, Bank Tracker, all track the many externalized costs across the global economy and how financial markets mis-price stocks and sovereign bonds in the same way that consumer goods are underpriced. In today’s fragile global financial system, Hazel Henderson points out that financial players’ claims to “discover” prices are hollow since externalities are routinely ignored. Canada has become a leader in quality of life and sustainability indicators, and we developed a working relationship with many of our Canadian colleagues at the National Roundtable on the Economy and the Environment (ended in March 2013 and archived at the Library and Archives Canada Web archive) and the Canadian Policy Research Network Ottawa (www.cprn.org). The Toronto Globe and Mail reported the North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation’s finding that: “The health of [the North American] environment that sustains 394 million people and an economy worth US $9 trillion is at risk.” The Commission, set up by the NAFTA partners, the USA, Canada and Mexico, assesses the sustainability of these three economies.
Many governments have joined in the move toward sustainability and quality of life concerns accelerated by the Beyond GDP conference of the 27 countries of the European Union in November, 2007. Disappointment emerged at the lack of follow-through following the Agenda 21 Agreement they signed at the Earth Summit in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro. Few of the 170 countries overhauled their national accounts, specifically Gross National Product (GNP) and its narrower version Gross Domestic Product (GDP) which were to be expanded to account for environmental assets, the costs of depletion and pollution, as well as social and human “capital” (social cohesion, community and family values, healthy, well-educated people). The 191 countries recommitting to these changes at Rio+20 must be monitored. As this evolution of the field of social and environmental indicators continues, many are designated as indicators of sustainable development, defined in the Brundtland Commission report, Our Common Future, as “development which meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (WCED 1987). In the forthcoming “Transitioning to the Solar Age: From Economism to Earth Systems Science” (2013), Hazel Henderson tracks this evolution. Increasingly, global civic watchdog organizations from Amnesty International and Transparency International (which targets corruption) to Greenpeace and the Green Economy Coalition, and Occupy Wall Street assess governmental responsibility for social and environmental as well as economic performance.
Civic groups worldwide since 1992 have created The Earth Charter (www.earthcharter.org), now recognized as a universal declaration of human responsibilities, which complements the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The sixteen principles of The Earth Charter have been adopted by many cities worldwide. As an early supporter of The Earth Charter, Hazel Henderson is proud that our former partner and continuing friend, The Calvert Group, was the first major company to endorse the Charter. The indicators project was launched in December 2003 by the Earth Charter Action Partnership to assist cities around the world that support the Earth Charter in clarifying priorities, goals, targets and measuring progress toward Earth Charter principles (www. EarthCharter.org).
We are privileged to have Dr. Jochen Jesinghaus, pioneer of the “dashboard” model we use, statistician with the European Commission, on our Advisory Board. His ground-breaking statistical dashboard method of displaying statistics helps achieve deeper comprehension about their crucial role in steering policy-making.
And, we are proud that as the Calvert-Henderson indicators, our quality of life indicators were translated into Chinese by the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing. A delegation from the Confederation of Indian Industry visited us in March 2007 seeking our cooperation in using our indicators in India and ongoing, many global representatives coordinated by the State Department visit our office in St. Augustine to discuss the opportunities opened by following quality of life metrics. They also visit our colleagues in Jacksonville, whose Quality Indicators of Progress have served as a global model for municipal indicators since their inception led by the late sociologist Dr. Marian Chambers in 1985.