A Wellbeing Economy is one which places people and the environment at the heart of it.
As governments seek to respond to multiple, interconnected global crises and build resilience to future social, environmental and financial shocks, many are asking fundamental questions about what we value and what our economies are actually for – and who benefits.
A wellbeing economy can be defined as an economic system operating within safe environmental limits, which serves and priorities the collective wellbeing of current and future generations.
Scotland is leading the wellbeing economy agenda on the international stage and is a founding member of the Wellbeing Economy Government network (WEGo), which also includes New Zealand, Finland, Wales and Iceland.
In Scotland, the wellbeing economy approach is based on the principles of resilience, sustainability, equality and prosperity. It emphasises that the economy is a means to improved health and collective wellbeing – not an end in itself. It recognises that a strong economy and societal wellbeing are embedded in and dependent upon a healthy natural environment. It reorients our economy away from one which the OECD describes as “grow first, redistribute and clean up later”, to one which gears economic activity – from the outset – towards the creation of a fairer, greener and more resilient society.
Around the world, governments are looking beyond traditional, narrow measurements of economic performance such as GDP, to prioritise greater wellbeing, sustainability and equality.
Many are now looking towards indicators of wellbeing, quality of life, and a healthy environment as metrics of economic success, as well as investment in our people, environment and infrastructure to build resilience for future generations.
In December 2022, the Scottish Government published a national Wellbeing Economy Monitor to track Scotland’s progress on its transition to a wellbeing economy. The monitor will be updated at least once a year.