Green Economy

According to UNEP, a green economy is defined as an economy that is low on carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive. In a green economy, growth in employment and income are driven by public and private investment into such economic activities, infrastructure and assets that allow reduced carbon emissions and pollution, enhanced energy and resource efficiency, and prevention of the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. A green economy aims at reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities, and that aims for sustainable development without degrading the environment.

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The Principles of a green economy

  1. Well being Principle

A green economy is people-centred and it enables all people to create and enjoy prosperity. The green economy’s purpose is to create genuine, shared prosperity while focusing on growing wealth that will support wellbeing. This wealth is not merely financial, but includes the full range of human, social, physical and natural capitals.

It prioritizes investment and access to the sustainable natural systems, infrastructure, knowledge and education needed for all people to prosper.

It is built on collective action for public goods, yet is based on individual choices and offers opportunities for green and decent livelihoods, enterprises and jobs.


  1. The Justice Principle

The green economy promotes equity within and between generations. The economy is inclusive and non-discriminatory. It shares decision-making, benefits and costs fairly; avoids elite capture; and especially supports women’s empowerment.

It promotes the equitable distribution of opportunity and outcome, reducing disparities between people, while also giving sufficient space for wildlife and wilderness.

It takes a long-term perspective on the economy, creating wealth and resilience that serve the interests of future citizens, while also acting urgently to tackle today’s multi-dimensional poverty and injustice.


  1. The Planetary Boundaries Principle

The green economy safeguards, restores and invests in nature.


An inclusive green economy recognizes and nurtures nature’s diverse values – functional values of providing goods and services that underpin the economy, nature’s cultural values that underpin societies, and nature’s ecological values that underpin all of life itself.

It acknowledges the limited substitutability of natural capital with other capitals, employing the precautionary principle to avoid loss of critical natural capital and breaching ecological limits.


  1. The Efficiency and Sufficiency Principle

The green economy is geared to support sustainable consumption and production.

An inclusive green economy is low-carbon, resource-conserving, diverse and circular. It embraces new models of economic development that address the challenge of creating prosperity within planetary boundaries.

It recognises there must be a significant global shift to limit consumption of natural resources to physically sustainable levels if we are to remain within planetary boundaries.

  1. The Good Governance Principle

The green economy is guided by integrated, accountable and resilient institutions.

An inclusive green economy is evidence-based – its norms and institutions are interdisciplinary, deploying both sound science and economics along with local knowledge for adaptive strategy.

It is supported by institutions that are integrated, collaborative and coherent – horizontally across sectors and vertically across governance levels – and with adequate capacity to meet their respective roles in effective, efficient and accountable ways

It requires public participation, prior informed consent, transparency, social dialogue, democratic accountability, and freedom from vested interests in all institutions – public, private and civil society – so that enlightened leadership is complemented by societal demand.