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Wellbeing should be integral to sustainable development

24 July 2012

Responding to the government's launch today of new measures of national wellbeing alongside a separate set of Sustainable Development Indicators (SDIs) [1], WWF said that wellbeing should be seen as an integral element of sustainable development.

The group observed that, out of the 41 measures of wellbeing, only 5 are environmental, saying that this downplays the contribution of the natural environment to quality of life, and the importance of maintaining the conditions of wellbeing in the future.

Luke Wreford, economic policy officer at WWF-UK, said: “It’s great that the government is adopting broader measures of progress beyond GDP – this was one of the few useful things that governments around the world committed to at Rio.

“However, we’ve now got two overlapping frameworks, when really wellbeing should be seen as an integral element of sustainable development. It would be much better to combine the two frameworks to provide greater clarity for policy makers. There is also a lack of targets and goals, so it's hard to see how these indicators alone will lead to the shift in the government's direction we so urgently require. This is the real test – especially when the Treasury is currently derailing the green policies that would get us on track for a sustainable future."


Notes to editors:

1. Defra: New plans to assess UK progress towards sustainable future (24.07.12): http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2012/07/24/sustainable-development-indicators/

For more information:

George Smeeton, Senior Press Officer WWF-UK
Tel: 01483 412 388, Mob: 07917 052 948, email: GSmeeton@wwf.org.uk

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