How Do You Measure Green Growth? World Bank & Partners Are Working on Indicators

April 4, 2013


Global GDP and CO2 emissions, as index (1990=100), 1990-2011

  • The World Bank, UNEP, OECD, and Global Green Growth Institute are working together through the Green Growth Knowledge Platform to develop measurements for green growth.
  • Indicators on green growth can help the public to better understand how it can contribute and support the transition to a green economy.
  • This report is the first step toward an internationally agreed upon approach to monitor progress toward green growth.

Four leading international organizations unveiled a conceptual framework for green growth indicators on April 4 that marks the first step toward developing a global approach to monitoring green growth progress.

The joint report, Moving toward a Common Approach on Green Growth Indicators, is the result of coordinated efforts by the World Bank, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations Environment Program, and Global Green Growth Institute, under the banner of the Green Growth Knowledge Platform (GGKP) and its program on green growth measurement and indicators. 

International cooperation on testing, exploring, and refining measurement tools on green growth is essential for supporting the practical implementation of policies in both developed and developing countries in their transition to green economies and assessing their progress.

In offering a conceptual framework for green growth indicators, the preliminary report marks the first time that the participating international organizations have shared a joint vision for a set of indicators that can help communicate the central elements of green growth and green economy. The indicators can alert governments and citizens to pressing issues where policy action and societal responses are needed to address the environmental challenges.

Supporting decisions with data

Indicators on green growth and green economy provide information on and communicate the need for policy action and national plans for green growth. They also help the public to better understand how they can contribute to green growth and support the transition to a green economy.

The framework – the first step toward an internationally agreed upon approach to monitor progress toward green growth – is part of the GGKP's mission to help address knowledge gaps in green growth theory and practice and to support design and implementation of policies to move towards a green economy.

It sets a new threshold for global cooperation aimed at accelerating and scaling up the use of measurement tools on green growth. It also sets out an agenda for further progress, highlighting outstanding challenges for the measurement, interpretation and implementation of green growth indicators in practice.

What to measure

While there is no single green growth model, and green growth strategies need to be tailored to country conditions, the following areas are identified as central to monitoring progress toward green growth:

  • environmental and resource productivity and innovation;
  • natural assets (including biodiversity) and their cost-effective management;
  • the environmental quality of life (including access to basic services such as clean water);
  • related green growth policies, economic opportunities and social context of green growth; and
  • monitoring sustainability of overall economic developments, for example through comprehensive wealth accounting.

The green growth measurement framework gives countries flexibility to incorporate green growth into their national development plans and to monitor progress on tackling their main environmental, economic and social concerns.

A common framework will help to bridge the experience of governments, the private sector, and civil society on reporting and measurement tools for green growth. It can contribute to aligning government and corporate information on environmental impacts and to identify obstacles to economic opportunities and growth.