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Brief Published: 10 May 2021

Nature & Wellbeing Prioritised in New GDP Replacement


China’s tech hub Shenzhen is moving on from GDP as a measure of the city’s productivity, instead embracing Gross Ecosystem Product (GEP) which acknowledges the contribution of nature, and its impact on human wellbeing.

Gross Domestic Product is the single monetary measure of the market value of all goods and services produced by a locality in a specific period. Some believe this measure is flawed, as it does not include the economic contributions of nature or human wellbeing – while also ignoring the environmental cost of consumption (i.e., ecological damage, pollution etc). 

Gross Ecosystem Product embraces the contribution of the natural world and its impact on mental wellness. This has become even more important during Covid-19 lockdowns, as recourse to nature has bolstered many consumers’ mental health. See The Brief and Harnessing the Outdoor Opportunity for more. GEP, therefore, attempts to capture the value and benefit people get from ecological systems which are excluded from GDP measures, to encourage a system that acknowledges sustainable development.

Before Shenzhen announced that the city would pursue GEP, a study from China’s Qinghai province proved its suitability for use across the world. The study advocates for its use to encourage global conservation and restoration projects.

While a shift away from GDP has been attributed to the negative impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on this metric, it also represents a positive move towards respecting the natural world and human wellbeing as a measure of a society’s ‘success’.

We track the values and priorities of today’s sustainability-minded consumers in Meet the New-Era Eco Consumers.