Universiteit Leiden

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Indicators for "decoupling"

Indicators to measure progress in de-linking economic growth and environmental pressure.

1998 - 1999
Ester van der Voet
Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning and the Environment

One of the aims of the Dutch government is a sustainable economic development, combining economic growth with a better management of resources. In the policy document "Environment and Economy - on the road to a sustainable economy" the de-linking of economic growth and environmental pressure is formulated as an explicit policy aim: while the economy grows, environmental pressure must be reduced, not only per capita or per unit of GDP, but also absolutely. In order to measure whether such a de-linking actually occurs, one or more indicators are required. This project aims at providing information and considerations to travel the road toward either the selection or the development of such indicators. The main activities within the project are: 

  1. a literature survey: the development of indicators and indicator sets is a booming business; by this survey we hope to get an overview of the existing sets and get an impression of activities within and outside the Netherlands.
  2. a first assessment of the different methodologies especially in the field of the aggregation of large amounts of information: data required, policy relevancy, the various pros and cons of aggregation etc.
  3. an exploration of a limited number of possibilities to arrive at one or more "de-linking indicators": how to arrive at the indicators, what do they look like, how do they react to economic and environmental developments, and most importantly what exactly do they indicate.
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