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Public Backing for Going Beyond GDP Remains Strong


Submitted by: Ethical Markets Media

Categories: Sustainability, Research, Reports & Publications

Posted: May 29, 2013 – 05:00 PM EST


LONDON, May 29 /CSRwire/ - The public around the world remains strongly in favor of replacing GDP with a broader way of reporting national progress, according to a new global poll released today.

The study, conducted by GlobeScan on behalf of Ethical Markets, business think tank Tomorrow’s Company and the ICAEW, surveyed 10,845 adults across 11 countries. The findings shows that more than two-thirds - 68 percent of citizens on average - in the countries surveyed favor replacing GDP with a broader indicator embracing health, social and environmental statistics as well as economic ones. Twenty-three per cent would rather retain a focus on money-based economic statistics.

The survey was previously conducted in 2010 and 2007 (available at Beyond GDP).  This year’s results show that while globally the proportion favoring going ‘beyond GDP’ has not changed since 2010, there were some significant shifts in individual countries.

The proportion of the public favoring measuring national progress using non-economic factors grew significantly in China (up by 12 points to 80%), the UK (up 11 points to 81%) and Australia (up 10 points to 81%). These three countries now have the largest proportions favoring a ‘beyond GDP’ approach.  India (where 44% want to see a new system), Kenya (43%) and Germany (57%) are the most skeptical of change.

In 2010 Germany and Brazil were with the countries with the largest margins favoring a new system of measuring national progress. But this year public opinion there has swung significantly in favor of a traditional money-based approach. Thirty-four percent in Germany and 32 percent in Brazil now prefer keeping a focus on money-based statistics.

Reaction to the Findings

Hazel Henderson, president of Ethical Markets Media (USA and Brazil), commented: “In these eleven countries, the public is still ahead of politicians, economists and financial analysts in seeing how GDP and money-based statistics short-change other important aspects of progress in health, education, environment and overall quality of life.”

Sam Mountford, Director at GlobeScan, commented: “These results show that, with a return to pre-crisis levels of growth continuing to elude most developed economies, the public remains clear in wanting to look beyond GDP for a more comprehensive measure of national progress. But the shifts in public opinion in some countries like Germany and Brazil suggest that media coverage of public indebtedness and economic stagnation in parts of Europe may have influenced people’s perspective.”

Claire Jones, Sustainability and Economics Manager at ICAEW, said: “Accountants are well aware that the choice of information to measure and report affects the way people think and behave. ICAEW supports the use of a broad range of indicators to assess national performance, rather than a narrow focus on GDP, and the survey confirms significant public support for this approach.”

Tony Manwaring, Chief Executive at Tomorrow’s Company added “At Tomorrow’s Company we believe that the future success of business lies in recognizing how value is created. Value creation has changed fundamentally in the Age of Sustainability, it must now integrate economic, social and environmental factors in order to deliver in the long-term. If this is true for companies and investors, then it is even truer for countries.  The way we currently measure value is no longer fit for purpose. As Bobby Kennedy put it many years ago, GDP 'measures everything, in short, except that which makes life worthwhile'. We welcome these findings as big step taken on the road for measuring what matters for the sake of people, planet and profit.”

About the Survey
A total of 10,845 citizens across 11 countries were interviewed face-to-face or by telephone between January and March 2013. Polling was conducted for Ethical Markets, Tomorrow’s Company and the ICAEW by the international polling firm GlobeScan and its research partners in each company. The margin of error per country ranges from x to y, 19 times out of 20.

About GlobeScan
For twenty-five years, GlobeScan has helped clients measure, understand and build valuable relationships with their stakeholders, and to work collaboratively in delivering a sustainable and equitable future. Uniquely placed at the nexus of reputation, brand and sustainability, GlobeScan partners with clients to build trust, drive engagement and inspire innovation within, around and beyond their organizations. For more information, visit

About Ethical Markets
Ethical Markets Media (USA and Brazil) is a global multi-media social enterprise with the mission of reforming markets and metrics while helping accelerate and track the transition to the green economy worldwide with our GREEN TRANSITION SCOREBOARD®; our PRINCIPLES OF ETHICAL BIOMIMICRY FINANCE™; our TRANSFORMING FINANCE TV series and our research and daily news at

ICAEW is a world leading professional membership organization that promotes, develops and supports over 140,000 chartered accountants worldwide. We provide qualifications and professional development, share our knowledge, insight and technical expertise, and protect the quality and integrity of the accountancy and finance profession. 

About Tomorrow’s Company
Tomorrow’s Company is a London-based global think tank delivering value for business leaders and owners by addressing the systemic and behavioral questions of the business world. We defined the inclusive duties of directors for the UK’s Companies Act 2006; our work on financial markets informed the creation of the UN PRI; our thought leadership is at the heart of the UK Stewardship Code and of the integrated reporting movement; King III in South Africa acknowledges our influence. We believe businesses can and should be a force for good. We inspire generations of business leaders to shape the way they do business. Our work today will restore the license for business to operate and for businesses to be successful tomorrow.

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