Traditionally official statistics describes economic developments by using indicators such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However GDP alone does not tell how well (or bad) people and our environment are doing. Hence, the statistical gaps need to be filled in order to complement GDP with indicators that monitor social and environmental progress.
In 2011, The European Statistical System Committee (ESSC) adopted a report, on Measuring Progress, Well-being and Sustainable Development prepared by the Sponsorship Group, co-chaired by Eurostat and INSEE (France). The report summarises 50 specific actions, to be taken by the European Statistical System (ESS), to implement certain previous recommendations.
The ESSC decided to work further on the following priority pillars:
Multidimensional measurement of the quality of life;
Household perspective and distributional aspects of income, consumption and wealth;
This Eurostat dedicated section presents, as a single entry point, all relevant information (data, publications, etc.) related to the 'GDP and beyond' initiative in order to provide a comprehensive overview. It includes a general overview of achievements in terms of 'measurement' capacities on complementing GDP within the ESS. It presents improvements in existing methods as how to better measure the society’s well-being, prosperity and progress whilst maintaining environmental sustainability (information on these improvements can be accessed via the three priority pillars in the menu at the left side).
The image below shows that the ESS is moving beyond GDP to take the three pillars more and more into account. The colour gradation between the pillars indicates that the pillars are interlinked and sometimes overlap. For instance, a household’s disposable income affects their consumption pattern, which affects the environment, which in turns affects people’s well-being.