As the UK calls on countries to start green accounting, putting value to nature, biodiversity and ecosystems, Sonam Pelden writing recently in Bhutan Business recently gives a fascinating insight into the country’s Gross National Happiness accounting system. Based not only on the market economy but also natural, social, cultural and human wealth, demonstration perhaps that a triple bottom line economy can work at national levels. A demonstration also then of NSR National Social Responsibility?
A new study on Initial Estimate of Value of Ecosystem Services in Bhutan revealed that the country’s ecosystem is worth more than Nu 700bn a year, much higher than the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of Nu 72.3bn a year.
The staggering value of the ecosystem in Bhutan was arrived at to come up with a new national accounting system apart from the GDP. The accounting system, based on Gross National Happiness (GNH), would not only count what market economy produces but also consider natural, social, cultural and human wealth. Benefits are in terms of clean air, healthy soil, recreation and other values.
Recognising the value and importance of forests, not just as market value but as environment and social value is a key component. Something we here in the UK need to heed …
Bhutan’s constitution mandates the country to preserve a minimum of 60% forest coverage for all time to come. Today, Bhutan has total forest coverage of 74.5%.
Sonam and Business Bhutan are on twitter at @sonampelden and @business_bhutan