Global economic sustainability indicator: analysis and policy options for the Copenhagen process

  • Paul J. J. Welfens
  • Jens K. Perret
  • Deniz Erdem
Original Paper


The traditional discussion about CO2 emissions and greenhouse gases as a source of global warming has been rather static, namely in the sense that innovation dynamics have not been considered much. Given the global nature of the climate problem, it is natural to develop a more dynamic Schumpeterian perspective and to emphasize a broader international analysis, which takes innovation dynamics and green international competitiveness into account: We discuss key issues of developing a consistent global sustainability indicator, which should cover the crucial dimensions of sustainability in a simple and straightforward way. The basic elements presented here concern genuine savings rates—covering not only depreciations on capital, but on the natural capital as well—, the international competitiveness of the respective country in the field of environmental (“green”) goods and the share of renewable energy generation. International benchmarking can thus be encouraged and opportunities emphasized—an approach developed here. This new EIIW-vita Global Sustainability Indicator is consistent with the recent OECD requirements on composite indicators and thus, we suggest new options for policymakers. The US and Indonesia have suffered from a decline in their performance in the period 2000–07; Germany has improved its performance as judged by the new composite indicator whose weights are determined from factor analysis. The countries covered stand for roughly 91% of world GDP, 94% of global exports, 82% of global CO2 emissions and 68% of the population.


Global warming Innovation Sustainability International Economics Factor analysis 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul J. J. Welfens
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jens K. Perret
    • 1
  • Deniz Erdem
    • 1
  1. 1.European Institute for International Economic Relations, EIIWUniversity of WuppertalWuppertalGermany
  2. 2.University of WuppertalWuppertalGermany

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