Measuring Comprehensive Wealth in Canada

(2017-02-02) In December 2016, the International Institute for Sustainable Development released a report entitled "Comprehensive Wealth in Canada - Measuring What Matters in the Long Run." Global Forest Watch Canada is pleased to have provided input into this report through geospatial analysis of ecosystems and ecosytem quality, as one of the metrics that should be measured. The report and further details on the subject can be found at:

"Comprehensive wealth focuses on the role of people, the environment and the economy in creating and sustaining well-being. Complementing indicators like gross domestic product (GDP) and addressing issues they can’t capture on their own, comprehensive wealth measures are key to successfully guiding Canada through the 21st century and beyond."     

Comprehensive wealth measures Human Capital, Natural Capital, Produced Capital, and Social Capital.

"Natural capital refers to extractable resources such as timber, minerals, oil and gas. It also includes ecosystems such as carbon-storing forests." 

Overall, the report found a growth in Canada's comprehensive wealth. But because Canada's development model is so heavily based on exploiting natural capital, some of that growth has been at the expense of an unsustainable trend in natural capital depletion. 

"...Canada must reverse the trend in its natural capital, both to ensure continued flows of resource commodities and to ensure the on-going provision of environmental benefits like clean air and water. Climate change represents a major threat to the latter and more research is needed to understand its potential impacts on Canadians and their well-being."

(All quotes from the IISD website as linked above.)

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