Defra Consults on New Indicators to Measure UK’s Progress on Sustainable Development

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman has launched a new consultation to gather responses to a set of proposed Sustainable Development Indicators designed to help measure the UK’s progress towards economic, social and environmental sustainability.

“These new indicators will help us take stock of our progress [towards sustainability] and give the public the means to chart our success” said Ms Spelman.Amongst the measures proposed is an assessment of our natural resource consumption encompassing a mechanism to allow valuation of natural capital. In total, there are 12 headline measures with 25 supporting indicators.

The measures will be used alongside the Office for National Statistic’s national wellbeing measures to provide a broad range of measures to demonstrate how society is progressing.

The Environment Secretary stated that this move towards adopting a wide set of indicators demonstrates the UK’s leading role in championing the need to move beyond GDP (Gross Domestic Product – the traditional measure of a country’s development based only on economic values) as the sole measure of development – an issue which received international recognition at the recent Rio+20 summit.

Defra is seeking reactions to the proposed indicators from academics, NGOs and businesses as well as other interested stakeholders. Submit your response at Defra’s open consultation webpage. Consultation is open from now until 15th October 2012.