The Finnish Expert Panel for Sustainable Development proposes that the forthcoming Finnish Government adopts indicators for overall sustainability to examine the impacts of decision-making. A three-part indicator would measure not only the profitability of the economy but also the wellbeing and natural capital of Finns.
The Expert Panel for Sustainable Development considers that the long-term sustainable economy sought by the negotiators for the future government will be realised only if the indicators are correctly targeted. By monitoring GDP growth alone, the long-term development of the economy is ignored and jeopardised, or even weakened, because GDP does not measure the wellbeing of the natural environment and people on which economic sustainability is based.
Indicators indicating overall sustainability would help to lay down effective steering mechanisms to prevent loss of wellbeing and unsustainable impacts on nature. Several science-based indicators have already been created for monitoring wellbeing, emission reductions and biodiversity, but they are not yet used consistently to set policy objectives and monitor impacts.
The Expert Panel for Sustainable Development considers that information on policy objectives and impacts obtained with the help of clearly defined sustainability indicators should also be actively communicated to citizens.
“In an era of multiple crises, problems cannot be solved one at a time or with a focus on just one perspective. Ensuring Finland’s resilience requires balancing economic and welfare objectives, such as quality of life, health and safety, within the limits set by nature,” says Lassi Linnanen, Chair of the Expert Panel for Sustainable Development.
The Expert Panel recalls that Finland is committed to sustainable development, and in order to achieve this, progress in overall sustainability must be measured and steered with correctly targeted indicators.