Economic development measured solely in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) limits our worldview. Alone, GDP doesn’t accurately reflect progress or real prosperity. And, when emphasized as the singular goal of economic development, it can undermine the building of economies that thrive within planetary boundaries and support healthy, prosperous communities.
In response to GDP’s shortcomings, VEC developed “A Beyond GDP Framework for Vancouver,” which proposes indicators that paint a more holistic picture of Vancouver’s economic health. This research intersects a growing “Beyond GDP” movement seen at the international, national and local levels.
Phase one was carried out in partnership with experts from a diverse range of organizations, including the OECD, BC Assembly of First Nations, and C40. The resulting report presents VEC’s proposed framework and outlines the method, process and rationale behind the selection of 36 Beyond GDP indicators.
The project’s proposed framework includes many metrics without available Vancouver data because its goals are to:
All to achieve a more complete picture of Vancouver’s economy, beyond what GDP can provide.
explain how the indicators address our goals as a society
offer different perspectives to consider details and merits of the indicators
there are 36 metrics in this first iteration of the framework
GDP is an important metric, but we and many economists around the world think it has become too dominant in society. Decisions are made to boost GDP which don’t benefit enough people in society and too often GDP is concentrated in the hands of the ‘1%’. We want to broaden the definition of economic prosperity ‘beyond GDP.’
Download the report to find an overview of all available data that relates to the 36 indicators. Appendix C summarizes what data is available at the municipal, metro, provincial and national level with links to the original datasets.
The data that exists is available to varying degrees: some may be narrowed down to the municipal level, some exist only at the provincial level, and others may need to be developed as they don’t currently exist.
This framework presents indicators built on values specific to the city of Vancouver. We invite and encourage other cities to learn from our method and process to develop their own unique framework based on values specific to their city.
We would encourage any city or community interested in developing their own ‘Beyond GDP’ framework to reach out to us and also consider membership of C40 (if applicable) and/or the Wellbeing Economy Alliance who have many resources to help you!