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Conference To Assess New Measures of Economic and Social Progress

A conference is planned Wednesday to begin establishing a Genuine Progress Indicator in Vermont. It will measure more than the state’s monetary progress by including environmental and social indicators such as an happiness index.

The Vermont Legislature passed a measure in the just adjourned session calling for the development of a Genuine Progress Indicator to move beyond the monetary Gross State Product. On Wednesday, the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont will host a conference: “Measuring What Matters” to move the initiative forward.  Genuine Progress Indicator Project Coordinator Eric Zencey.

Participants will look at nine indicators to create a Genuine Progress Indicator, including Standard of Living, Environment, Health, Use of Time, and Psychological Well-being.  Co-coordinator and a founder of Gross National Happiness USA Tom Barefoot says we’ve outgrown the Gross Domestic Product as the standard for determining progress.

Common Good Vermont works with non-profits across the state. Project Coordinator Lauren-Glenn Davitian says the purpose of the conference is to find ways to measure some of the new indicators.

The conference will be held at the Davis Center on the University of Vermont campus Wednesday beginning at 9 a.m.  Maryland is the only other state that has implemented a Genuine Progress Indicator.  The Gund Institute has until January to present a report to the Vermont Legislature.