26 January 2010

France creates ‘Sustainability Barometer’

Governments and businesses consistently talk of building a greener and more sustainable future. But how can we measure ourselves? Is there a meter stick for "greenness"? How many green centimetres will be green enough?

France is helping pave the way for the EU to measure economic and global sustainability. And no doubt, other governments will take notice.

The "sustainability barometer" will take many factors into account; the end result should give a concrete measurement of not only greenhouse emissions, but also the overall health and well-being the country's society.

Is this possible? Certainly, it is worth trying. The sustainability barometer will revolve around nine major factors. All of which focus on forming a green and equal society.

The government will measure climate change and energy consumption via carbon footprint but it will go further: The barometer will also take into consideration biodiversity and maintenance of natural resources, including the measurement and growth of various bird populations.

Transportation efficiency will be measured by its emissions efficiency as well as its ability to bond society and better the economy. Another addition will be the'imported footprint', which accounts for C02 emitted from trade.

The GDP will still be used to measure consumption and production patterns. However, the amount of the country's GDP concentrated in Research and Development will tell whether the economy is working towards dependable growth and new technology.

And, the baromter will find levels of societal inclusion along demographic lines. Data regarding employment of the young (16-24) and elderly (55-64) will be considered among other factors, which include proportional female representation in national government.

Public health and preventative care will factor into this new barometer. International aid will illustrate the ability of the country to contribute to less fortunate nations and further demonstrate its contribution towards a sustainable, globalised world.

This report can guide the policies of the French government, NGOs, local authorities, businesses and citizens as to where to build the economy, how to better society, and to identify the severity and location of environmental concerns.

Likely, the conclusion of this report will drive the EU's new 2020 strategy will set to succeed the 2010 Lisbon strategy early this year.


Author: Michael Good | Climate Action

Image Credits: electricinca/Flickr; pizzodisevo/Flickr; dimnikolov/Flickr

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