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The Green Economy Pocketbook

This pocketbook argues for the transition to a green economy to tackle the economic recession and severe degradation of the environment.

By GEC · 02nd June, 2012
Walter Mario Stein 357731
Image: Walter Mario Stein / Unsplash

This pocketbook argues for the transition to a green economy to tackle the economic recession and severe degradation of the environment.

A green economy is an opportunity to re-orient the economy to deliver wellbeing within the limits of the natural environment.

There are several areas where changes need to be made to achieve this aim:

Measuring what matters to redefine what we mean by ‘progress’. This entails using new indicators that factor in human wellbeing and a healthy environment alongside traditional instruments such as GDP growth. Both governments and companies can use these new metrics to ensure we “achieve a form of prosperity that includes financial and material wellbeing but can also go beyond that, to include a good quality of life and the realistic hope of sustaining it into the future. This is about addressing not only material poverty but also the poverty associated with environmental deprivations – including bad health, poor living conditions, and degraded soils and water bodies”.

Influencing financial flows to ensure market signals support investment in a green economy and there is a broad shift in the financial sector to long-term goals. Governments have a key role to play by putting in long-term policy frameworks that encourage investment in green areas:

  • By ‘greening’ public procurement (between 13-17% GDP)
  • Ending pervasive subsidies (energy, transport, industrial etc)
  • Rewarding business to innovate and take risks to consolidate the green economy

Greening high impact sectors via renewable energy (and support for the Sustainable Energy For All initiative), sustainable agriculture and public transport. Companies that are part of this transition can make competitive gains through resource efficiency.

Investing in people to reduce inequalities and reduce poverty. This requires investment in education, skills, and training to ensure a just transition and green jobs.

Managing our natural systems so that we recognise the dependence of people and economies on nature; for a stable climate, food, clean air, water, energy and raw materials. Current economic growth is unsustainable because it is resource intensive, contributes to climate change and destroys future livelihoods by degrading the environment. Companies should be aware of risks associated with continuing to use nature unsustainably.

The Green Economy Coalition acknowledges there are actors who argue valuing nature could mean it is effectively privatized and subject to market forces which could limit local communities’ and indigenous peoples’ access to the ecosystems they depend on. The GEC says it does not hold the answers and recommends further discussion. The report notes Payments for Ecosystem Services (PES) were worth US$77 billion a year in 2007 and are projected to be US$300 billion a year by 2020.

9 principles are put forward for a green, fair inclusive economy: Sustainable, Justice, Dignity, Healthy Planet, Inclusive, Accountable, Resilience, Efficiency and Sufficiency and future Generations.

Read report

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