Why We Don't Really Measure Natural Capital but Really Should

By Robert Smith, IISD Associate on December 13, 2013

This policy brief discusses the critical importance of shifting the focus of economic measurement from GDP alone to a broader measure based on the concept of inclusive wealth.

He identifies this as the sum of produced and financial assets along with the value of natural, human and social capital. The notion behind inclusive wealth is that every nation has a portfolio of five asset classes at its disposal, and governments play a key role in ensuring that the value of this portfolio is growing over time. He argues that IISD has a pivotal role to play in advancing this concept as of the underpinnings of the United Nation's new Sustainable Development Goals, which will help steer the global development agenda from 2015 forward.

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Report details

Measurement, Assessment, and Modelling
Focus area
Act Together
IISD, 2013