Recognising that the wellbeing of society should not be measured only in economic terms, IEEP has been strongly involved in the European Commission’s ‘Beyond GDP’ process. We have led and participated in several indicator focused studies, investigating how ‘sustainability’ can be measured by new and existing indicators or baskets of indicators, assessing their level of uptake and analysing their potential to become effective tools for policy making.

Some of our key work includes the following:

In the Beyond GDP initiative we collaborated with a range of partners in developing the concept for and organising the high level European conference ‘Beyond GDP’ held in November 2007. The aims of the initiative were to raise political awareness of the limitations of traditional measures of economic growth, discuss complements to classical indicators like GDP, and encourage a deeper understanding of the links between our societies and our natural and human capital.

We were one of the partners in SRDTOOLS, a DG Research supported study on sustainable development evaluation at regional level using the ‘four capitals’ approach – economic, human, social, and environmental.

The issue of environmental indicators was also explored in the context of the work on The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) report for Policy Makers, which was led by IEEP. Chapter 3, authored by IEEP, focused on the strengthening of indicators and accounting systems for natural capital.

Our ongoing work includes:

The FP7 DG Research funded project INSTREAM (INtegrating MainSTREAM Economic Indicators with Sustainable Development Objectives). We are one of the partners in this project conducting a qualitative and quantitative assessment to link key mainstream economic indicators with leading well-being and sustainability indicators. IEEP is focusing in particular on policy links, with the aim of identifying and evaluating institutional needs and opportunities.

Indicators are also the focus of another FP7 project OPEN EU (One Planet EcoNomy Europe). The goal of the study is to develop an academically robust family of sustainable development indicators, place these in a scenario modelling tool for evidence-based policy, and create a new forum for the visions, knowledge and interests of various stakeholders to help transform the EU into a One Planet Economy by 2050.