The Sustainable Portion of Gross Domestic Product: A Proposed Social Ecological Economic Indicator for Sustainable Economic Development

  • Abbas MahravanEmail author
  • Brenda Vale


This article discusses a way of measuring the sustainable portion of Gross Domestic Product (GDPs) and argues for its use as an ecological-social economic indicator to evaluate the economic footprint of human activities and products as being environmentally and culturally sustainable. It proposes a method for calculating GDPs based on four quantitative factors: the domestic product or economic activity, its ecological footprint, its overshoot portion of energy use, and the cost of generating the overshoot portion of energy use using renewable resources (in this study wind and solar electric systems). As a case study of using GDPs as an indicator, this article investigates the economic footprint of the Otago Central Rail Trail (OCRT) which has been cited by the New Zealand Tourism Strategy 2015 as a successful tourism project. Using GDPs the finding for the OCRT is that 43.6 % of total OCRT GDP must be spent to restore the environment damaged through its development.


Sustainability Ecological economic indicator Ecological footprint GDPs 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ArchitectureRazi UniversityKermanshahIran
  2. 2.School of Architecture and DesignVictoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

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