FEATURE: Measuring green growth comes a step closer
Sam Bickersteth, CDKN’s Chief Executive, and Yolanda Kakabadse, CDKN’s Global and Latin America and the Caribbean Regional Advisor, and a member of the Green Growth Knowledge Platform’s (GGKP) Advisory Board, attended the GGKP’s 2nd annual conference in Paris earlier this month. Carolyn Fry interviewed them about the meeting’s outcomes and how the concept of green growth is being brought to fruition
How best to measure green growth was a key question up for discussion at the 2nd Green Growth Knowledge Platform’s (GGKP) annual conference, held earlier this month in Paris, France. The GGKP’s core partners, the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Bank jointly launched the report Moving towards a Common Approach on Green Growth Indicators at the meeting. The report is the first step towards an internationally agreed approach to monitoring green growth achievements.
The report identified five areas critical to assessing such progress: environmental and resource productivity and innovation; natural assets (including biodiversity) and their cost-effective management; the environmental quality of life (including access to basic services such as clean water); related green growth policies, economic opportunities and social context of green growth; and monitoring sustainability of overall economic developments. Having clearly defined indicators will enable countries to incorporate the green growth agenda into their national development plans and to monitor progress on tackling their main environmental, economic and social concerns.
“It was good to see the private sector getting involved in the discussion on green growth and helping to define and decide on ways to shape the indicators,” said Yolanda Kakabadse, who is a member of the GGKP Advisory Board as well as CDKN’s Global and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) Regional Advisor. The workshop discussed integrated reporting, for example. This is a voluntary reporting approach, incorporating environmental as well as financial information, that is now being adopted by progressive companies. “It’s good to see companies such as Puma taking actions on the sustainability of their supply chains and working in partnership with others,” agreed Sam Bickersteth,” CDKN’s Chief Executive.
The policymakers, economists, energy experts and government representatives present at the meeting also spent time debating how to make value chains greener. This is something that has the potential to benefit both developing and developed nations. “There was good thinking and discussion around this at the meeting,” said Yolanda. “If you take the supply chain for fisheries, for example, Unilever will not buy fish unless it is certified as coming from sustainable sources. Fish is supplied just as much from the coral triangle countries, Ecuador or Mexico as it is from Japan and Norway, so it pays the developing nations to offer certified products. It’s the same with soya or palm oil, which are supplied by tropical countries.”
“I was disappointed not to see more developing nations at the meeting,” admitted Sam. “It’s important that green growth is not seen as something only rich and emerging economies do but that developing countries also see the advantages of engaging with it. There are examples of progressive nations from every income level, be they low-income, emerging economies or rich, which say they want to go down the green growth path. Ethiopia and Rwanda both have green growth strategies, for example. They’re doing it because they believe it’s in their national interest to do so. CDKN and the other partners at GGKP share the conviction that green growth presents an opportunity for all countries, whatever their income level.”
The overall aim of GGKP is to address knowledge gaps in green growth theory and practice to help countries set policies for integrating economic and sustainable development. In addition to its core partners, GGKP has several knowledge and programme partners, of which CDKN is one. By being a partner, CDKN is able to share its lessons learned from climate compatible development projects and national engagements across Asia, Africa and LAC, as well as tapping into GGKP’s wider expertise.
“Sharing valuable information whether by apps and technology, or by getting people together face to face, is at the heart of CDKN’s mission,” said Sam. “With GGKP as a one-stop knowledge shop on green growth we’re going to be able make this vast array of information accessible to a very wide range of people. There’s something really exciting and positive about seeing that four of the major players – GGGI, OECD, UNEP and the World Bank – have green growth in their mandate and will be working with a broader community, not in a competitive way, but really sharing knowledge and collectively saying: ‘These are the key issues, let’s follow up on them’.”
Photo of Yolanda Kakabadse at the GGKP Annual Conference courtesy of Green Growth Knowledge Platform