From Growth to Inclusive Green Growth: The Economics of Sustainable Development

2Rapid growth is necessary to meet the urgent development needs of the world’s poor. But growth will be unsustainable in the long run unless it is both socially inclusive and green – the latter by ensuring that the earth’s natural assets are able to adequately provide the resources and environmental services on which humans depend.

Inclusive green growth requires tackling political economy constraints, overcoming deeply entrenched behaviors and social norms, and developing innovative financing instruments to change incentives and promote innovation – and thus address the market, policy, and institutional failures that lead to the overuse of natural assets.

Greener growth is necessary, efficient, and affordable. It should focus on what needs to happen in the next five to 10 years to avoid getting locked into unsustainable paths and causing irreversible environmental damage. How will we know if we’re getting there? Green growth also requires better indicators to monitor economic performance. National accounting indicators like GDP only measure short-term economic growth, whereas indicators like comprehensive wealth – including natural capital – help us determine if growth is sustainable in the long run.

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