The global economy is not fit for purpose and is a direct cause of social and environmental breakdown, the Green Economy Coalition (GEC) warned on Thursday, as it launched a programme in Davos, Switzerland, where the World Economic Forum (WEF) is being held, to assess and accelerate policies for reform around the world.
The Green Economy Tracker is a pioneer tool to benchmark how countries are transitioning towards greener, fairer economic systems, assessing progress and highlighting “best in class” policies that are already driving change towards a safer future, the GEC said.
It is complemented by GEC’s Global Green Economy Barometer 2020, a report which reviews developments across key policy areas and makes recommendations for action to accelerate the transition.
The top five global risks most likely to have a major impact in the next decade are all environmental, the WEF’s latest ‘Global Risks Report’, which was released last week, shows.
The tracker and barometer respond to growing calls for economic reform from central bankers, insurers and businesses in the face of systemic risk posed by climate change and biodiversity loss.
The tracker highlights key reforms being pioneered by countries around the world, showing that a new economic agenda that puts people and planet first is possible and emerging in some unexpected places.
For example, Bangladesh, and Trinidad and Tobago, two countries severely exposed to climate risks, are leading the way in “stress testing” banks’ resilience to environmental impacts.
The tracker is a publicly available online tool that draws on expert insight to assess countries’ progress on 20 policies in five key areas.
It rates the ambition of 20 high, middle and low-income countries, and the GEC plans to update it regularly and add more countries until it achieves full global coverage.
It finds that no single country is yet pursuing a deep and consistent green economic reform agenda, but that global leaders are emerging.
For example, Sweden and France rate highest in terms of national green economy plans, and many other progressive policies including a jointly developed comprehensive green finance plan; while Costa Rica also scores highly, with a national green economy plan and generating almost all of its electricity from renewables.
The tracker also sounds a warning bell where countries are dragging their feet on key policies. This includes Brazil, Peru, Botswana and Senegal, all globally significant hotspots of biodiversity, but which have minimal policies to protect their natural resources and disincentivise damaging activities.
Moreover, countries with considerable oil and gas sectors are divided on green finance – the United Arab Emirates is promising bold investments to decarbonise and diversify its economy, but like Canada and Trinidad and Tobago is stalled on how to break its dependence on fossil fuel exports.
Also, few governments have taken steps to reform their welfare and social protection systems to soften the landing for millions of workers whose jobs are at risk from automation and decarbonisation.
The tracker and barometer build on a framework for green economic reform launched by leading global labour, economic and environment institutions in July 2019.