The Global Green Economy Index™ (GGEI) is defined by 18 underlying indicators, each contained within one of the four main dimensions of Climate Change & Social Equity, Sector Decarbonization, Markets & ESG Investment, and Environmental Health. Each dimension is equally weighted (25% each) in calculating the total score. Each indicator is also equally weighted within the four main dimensions.
This section briefly describes these underlying indicators and datasets, providing direct links to the original data sources where possible. For more detail on our approach to aggregating these diverse data sources to define the composite indicators in the GGEI and its four main dimensions, as well as our approach to data selection, weighting, measuring progress and distance from targets, and other issues associated with creating an index, please visit the Methodology section. The Methodology section also explains our decision on weighting the two elements of measurement (progress over time at 25% & distance from global targets at 75%). Sign up for our newsletter for periodic updates about the practice, including data packs and other insight from the Global Green Economy Index™ (GGEI)
Dimension 1: Climate Change & Social Equity
Political leadership has a critical role to play in mainstreaming the concept of green economy and reducing country-wide emissions. However, given the historic linkages between emissions and economic activity, these approaches to mitigating emissions must also consider social equity. This first dimension of the GGEI is defined by two indicators linked to climate change performance and two indicators linked to social equity. In terms of measurement, progress between 2005 and the present is considered for all four indicators. The targets for social equity are also considered. For the indicators of GHG emissions/GDP and GHG emissions/per capita, there is not yet disaggregated data by country illuminating the rate at which these emissions intensities must improve to keep on a 1.5C warming pathway (see the Climate Action Tracker for a thorough approach to this challenge).
1.1 GHG Emissions/GDP using exchange rates
GHG emissions/GDP is a key indicator linked to national climate change performance, as it looks at overall GHG emissions in the context of GDP, providing insight into whether countries are decarbonizing and succeeding at producing more overall welfare (GDP) with less emissions output. As of Q1 2022, the GGEI does not employ a target indicator value in this case, as country-level data on the rate at which GHG emissions/GDP must improve to achieve national NDCs aligned with the 1.5C pathway are not yet established with verification from the scientific community. To access the data source for this indicator, please click here.
1.2 GHG Emissions/per capita
GHG emissions/per capita is a key indicator linked to national climate change performance, as it looks at overall GHG emissions in the context of population, providing a different perspective on whether countries are decarbonizing and succeeding at reducing the emissions output relative to their population size. As of Q1 2022, the GGEI does not employ a target indicator value in this case, as country-level data on the rate at which GHG emissions/per capita must improve to achieve national NDCs aligned with the 1.5C pathway are not yet established with verification from the scientific community. To access the data source for this indicator, please click here.
1.3 Income Equality
The Gini Coefficient measures the degree of income equality in a country, based on household incomes. A zero Gini coefficient indicates perfect equality while a 100 Gini coefficient indicates perfect inequality. As of Q1 2022, the target indicator value has been set at 37.5, which represents the average Gini coefficient values of the 160 countries tracked in the GGEI. This indicator target value will be monitored and updated as global targets allow. To access the data source for this indicator, please click here.
1.4 Gender Equality in the Workplace
Labor force participation rate is the proportion of the population ages 15 or older that is economically active, which means all people who supply labor for the production of goods and services during a given time period. To calculate Gender Equality in the Workplace, the ratio of female to male labor force participation is derived from dividing the female labor force participation rate by the male labor force participation rate and multiplying by 100. As of Q1 2022, the target indicator value has been set at 100, which implies general equality in terms of labor force participation. To access the data source for this indicator, please click here.
Dimension 2: Sector Decarbonization
The performance of efficiency sectors – including buildings, electricity & heat, manufacturing & construction, transport, and waste & resource efficiency – are at the root of the green economic prospects of most countries. By transitioning to more efficient resource use in these sectors, many countries can realize productivity gains and lessen their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The GGEI looks at the sector decarbonization efforts in these 5 sectors in terms of the progress (or lack thereof) between 2005 and the present. As of Q1 2022, there is not sufficient data to establish country-level targets by sector to benchmark each country’s most recent performance against. For example, there are general estimates about the rate of efficiency improvements required in the buildings sector to achieve global emission reduction targets. However, these estimates are not disaggregated by the unique sectoral factors present in each of the 160 countries tracked by the GGEI. These sector-based targets will be added as they are verified by the scientific community. Until then, the GGEI simply scales each country’s most recent sector score relative to the other countries tracked in the index. All values are weighted by GDP to account for the wide range of economy sizes among countries tracked on the GGEI.
Buildings are a key focus in the decarbonization effort as they contribute significantly to GHG emissions. In New York City where the Dual Citizen LLC practice is based, buildings account for more than 50% of total emissions. Prior editions of the GGEI used Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification statistics to estimate the extent of sustainable building in the countries covered. However, the uneven adoption of this standard globally made this an imperfect proxy, also because LEED certification statistics applied mostly to commercial buildings. For the current GGEI edition, we have standardized the approach, measuring each country according to GHG emissions/GDP from the sector. This provides a comparable measure across countries and across the five sectors covered in the GGEI. To access these data, please click here.
2.2 Electricity & Heat
Electricity & Heat are a key focus in the decarbonization effort with estimates suggesting that over half of global energy consumption is related to heating, mainly for homes and industry. In the developing world, the urgency around electrification involves trade-offs between how to bring electricity and heat to more of the population without significantly increasing GHG emissions. Pathways to decarbonizing this sector are also complicated by the diverse infrastructure in different countries and differing financial commitments to retrofit them. Like with buildings, we have standardized the measurement approach to this sector, measuring each country according to GHG emissions/GDP from the sector. This provides a comparable measure across countries and across the five sectors covered in the GGEI. To access these data, please click here.
2.3 Manufacturing & Construction
Manufacturing & Construction are also a key focus in the decarbonization effort as they contribute significantly to GHG emissions. Zero carbon steel and concrete offer hope that innovation may produce the type of decarbonization rates required to achieve emission reduction targets in 2030. Many leading materials companies have set Science-Based Targets, providing further encouragement that progress may be realized, particularly as the majority of emissions in these companies are scope 1 and 2, where more complete data exist for tracking purposes. For the current GGEI edition, we have standardized the approach, measuring each country according to GHG emissions/GDP from the sector. This provides a comparable measure across countries and across the five sectors covered in the GGEI. To access these data, please click here.
Transportation is another sector which has a major contribution to global GHG emissions. It is a sector that receives a lot of media attention with the rise of electric vehicles (EVs) and country-level policy incentives for consumers to drive them. Improving efficiency levels in this sector is vital especially considering the increased vehicle usage expected as a result of development in Asia and Africa. For the current GGEI edition, we have standardized the measurement approach, measuring each country according to GHG emissions/GDP from the sector. This provides a comparable measure across countries and across the five sectors covered in the GGEI. To access these data, please click here.
2.5 Waste & Resource Efficiency
Increasing resource efficiency is essential in a world with growing population and finite resources. The sector of Waste & Resource Efficiency can realize improvements across a variety of dimensions: increased recycling; waste reduction by consumers and businesses; improved emissions intensity linked to waste treatment; and development of circular economic models whereby economic processes are restorative and regenerative by design. For the current GGEI edition, we have standardized the approach, measuring each country according to GHG emissions/GDP from the sector. This provides a comparable measure across countries and across the five sectors covered in the GGEI. To access these data, please click here.
Dimension 3: Markets & ESG Investment
Transitioning to a green economy will require significant public and private investment, as well as a commitment from national leaders to promote the right mix of fiscal and policy incentives to accelerate green growth. Unlike in 2010 when the first GGEI was published, sustainability is now a top priority of investors and private sector leaders alike. Climate risks and investment opportunities are accelerating, and shareholder and customer activism are always lurking for stakeholders that don’t take sustainability seriously. This third dimension of the GGEI offers a window into which markets have the greatest momentum around green investment and innovation, and the extent to which they are moving towards gender equality in governance.
3.1 Green Investment Attractiveness
The GGEI uses IRENA installed renewable energy capacity data as a proxy for measuring the attractiveness of national markets for investment. The 15-year trend in new installed renewable capacity (2005-2020) is used to identify countries that have attracted significant renewable investment during this period. At present, the GGEI is not able to establish a comparable target for this indicator, so instead the cumulative 2020 installed renewable energy capacity is weighted by GDP and then normalized to reflect the second component of the overall indicator score. The IRENA data cover the following types of renewable energy capacity: bioenergy, geothermal energy, hydropower (excl. pumped storage), marine energy, pumped storage, solar energy, wind energy. You can access these data by clicking here.
3.2 Green Innovation
The GGEI considers cumulative patent publication data for environmental technology from 1990- 2005 and cumulative patents from 2005-2019 as the measurement approach for green innovation. These patent data are derived from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) database. This method of looking at two 15-year periods captures the progress different markets are making in promoting green innovation within their borders. Due to the characteristics of this indicator, however, there is not a globally verified target for green innovation to reference. Thus, the second part of the measurement is defined simply as the volume of patents filed in the most recent year where data are available, weighted by GDP over time. You can access these data by clicking here.
3.3 Gender Equality in Governance
Women remain underrepresented in decision-making positions in government, although there is some evidence of recent improvement. Gender parity in parliamentary representation is still far from being realized. Without representation at this level, it is difficult for women to influence policy. The GGEI references the percentage of women in national parliamentary bodies to measure gender equality in governance. The progress aspect of the measurement is based upon the change from 2005 (or the closest year where data exist) and the present (or the closest year where data exist). The target value is 50, which implies gender parity. You can access these data by clicking here.
Dimension 4: Environmental Health
Environmental health is a bedrock of sustainable development. The tension between natural ecosystems and human activity is increasing, with implications for public health, community cohesion, and overall social welfare. In previous editions, the GGEI defined this dimension based upon the work produced through the Environmental Performance Index. From Q1 2022 onwards, the six topics defining this dimension – Agriculture, Air Quality, Biodiversity, Forests, Oceans, and Water Stress – are measured according to independent data sources. This allows us to ensure that the measurement approach to the Environmental Health topics can capture the change over time (usually from 2005 to the present) as well as the distance to globally established targets, which exist for five of the six indicators in this dimension.
Agriculture is central to the global economy, both from the perspective of food security and nutrition, and the overall economy as many individuals and communities depend on agriculture for income. Like many environmental health topics, agriculture represents the tension between increasing productivity and output while preserving the quality of soil and other inputs to agricultural production. The GGEI references organic agriculture data collected through the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (FiBL) to calculate the percentage of arable land that is farmed through organic methods. Due to the data collection process at FiBL, the change variable is measured between 2010 and 2020, and as of Q1 2022, there is not a global target associated with this indicator. To access the data source, please click here.
4.2 Air Quality
Air Quality is highly correlated to health outcomes, particularly in the developing world, and is often highlighted as the most vivid example of how the green economy links to the economy, environmental and social outcomes simultaneously. Again, pollution linked to economic activity can negatively impact community air quality, highlighting the tension between how economic activity provides income for communities while creating adverse (and costly) public health outcomes. The GGEI references air quality data collected through the State of Global Air platform which collects the average annual population weighted PM2.5 exposure in each of the 160 GGEI countries tracked. Due to the data collection process at the State of Global Air, the change variable is measured between 2005 and 2020; as of Q1 2022, the global target associated with this indicator as defined by the World Health Organization that annual average concentrations of PM2.5 should not exceed 5 µg/m 3. To access the data source, please click here.
Biodiversity and ecosystem productivity are interrelated. Ensuring a natural and healthy balance of species (both plant and animal) has a direct impact on crop variety and land management. The GGEI references data associated with SDG15, measuring the average proportion of terrestrial key biodiversity areas (KBAs) covered by protected areas. Due to the data collection process at the UN for SDG15, the change variable is measured between 2000 and 2020; as of Q1 2022, the global target associated with this indicator as defined by the United Nations Global Biodiversity Summit that 30% of terrestrial KBAs be covered by protected areas by 2030. To access the data source, please click here.
Forests are deeply integrated to our climate and economies. Forests capture and sequester carbon in trees and soil, and are often referred to as carbon sinks when they absorb more carbon from the atmosphere than they release. Climate change and the increased prevalence of forest fires has a meaningful impact on global emissions portfolios, as these fires rapidly release large amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, often unexpectedly. At the same time, forests are critical to our global economy, both in terms of forest products produced for international markets and the ties between local communities and surrounding forests. Since the GGEI was first published in 2010, “deforestation free” pledges have become mainstream in both companies and countries, through the New York Declaration on Forests. The GGEI references data from the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, measuring the total forest area in each of the 160 countries covered. Due to the data collection process at the FAO, the change variable is measured between 2000 and 2020; as of Q1 2022, the global target associated with this indicator is zero, reflecting the goal of countries to be deforestation free. To access the data source, please click here.
Oceans are deeply integrated to our climate and economies. Oceans provide 50% of the earth’s oxygen and absorb 50 times more carbon dioxide than the earth’s atmosphere. Oceans are also a conduit for global trade and where fish species live and are fished for human consumption, through global operations and more localized fisheries. The GGEI references data associated with SDG14, measuring the average proportion of marine key biodiversity areas (KBAs) covered by protected areas. Due to the data collection process at the UN for SDG14, the change variable is measured between 2000 and 2020; as of Q1 2022, the global target associated with this indicator as defined by the United Nations Global Biodiversity Summit that 30% of marine KBAs be covered by protected areas by 2030. To access the data source, please click here.
4.6 Water Stress
Water stress is a growing concern globally, and is being exacerbated by global climate change. Generally speaking, water stress refers to the percentage of freshwater withdrawals by all activities relative to the total freshwater available. As climate-induced freshwater scarcity spreads – often amplified by associated political conflict over freshwater resources – countries (particularly in the developing world) are facing increased water stress. The GGEI references data associated with SDG6, measuring the percentage of freshwater withdrawals in each GGEI country relative to the freshwater available. Due to the data collection process at the UN for SDG6, the change variable is measured between 2005 and 2018; as of Q1 2022, the global target associated with this indicator as defined by UN Water is that freshwater withdrawals not exceed 25% of the total freshwater available. To access the data source, please click here.
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