Business as usual is not an option

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This week the WWF’s Living Planet Report on the health of the planet and the impact of human activity was published. In this post, OECD Secretary-General Angel Gurría, who contributed the report’s foreword, argues that we need to shift our economies onto greener growth paths.

The fight against climate change and the protection of biodiversity and ecosystems must be a priority in our quest to build a stronger, fairer and cleaner world economy. Rather than an excuse to delay further action the recent financial and economic crisis should serve as a reminder of the urgency of developing greener economies.

“Business as usual” is not an option. That’s why the OECD is developing a Green Growth Strategy to help governments design and implement policies that can shift our economies onto greener growth paths. Central to this is identifying sources of growth which make much lighter claims on the biosphere. This will require fundamental changes to the structure of our economies, by creating new green industries, cleaning up polluting sectors and transforming consumption patterns.

If they are to promote this change, policy makers and citizens will need reliable information on the state of the planet and objective analyses of the various options proposed. The OECD will continue to refine green growth indicators and improve the way in which we measure societies’ progress.

An important element will be discussions with other stakeholders to explore common ground, and ways to co-operate in educating and motivating people to adjust their lifestyles. That is why the OECD has invited governments, civil society organisations and experts with a wide range of views to join us in shaping the policies and identifying the actions that will enable us to leave a healthier planet to future generations.

Simon Upton, OECD Environment Director, discusses green growth:


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