I. Why Environmental Welfare Indicators?

UNOSD Consultative W/S
2013. 12. 10
On Environmental Welfare Policy
and Its Measurements
Hoi-Seong Jeong
Institute for
the Environment & Civilization
I. Why Environmental Welfare and
Its Indicators ?
I. Why Environmental Welfare Indicators?
Modern Society and Welfare State: Arguments and Limitations
Unfair society and arguments on welfare state
 Aggravation of relative poverty
Arguments are aimed for coexistence(living together) but limited to the issues of
the present generation.
Human Happiness, More than Just Material Satisfaction
After the basic human needs for survival are fulfilled quantitatively, attention is
naturally drawn to qualitative values of economic growth.
A welfare nation, in the true sense, is one where even the qualitative value of
economic growth is equally distributed and most of its members feel happiness.
Environment as a Prerequisite for National Welfare
Environmental quality as a basic needs to sustain human dignity
Securing a high quality environment is a sufficient & necessary condition for
sustainable growth of happiness.
I. Why Environmental Welfare Indicators?
Harmony Between the Present and Future Generations
Excessive consumption in the present generation can undermine the foundation
of welfare of the future generations.
Welfare policy should serve for the foundation of prosperity and happiness to be
shared by the future generations as well.
Environmental Welfare and EW Indicator system
All these challenges and the emerging SDGs require a new concept of
environmental welfare policy and it’s measurement, an EW indicator system.
Keeping track of change and trends in EW using a well designed EW indicators
systems to condition outcomes and evaluate the effectiveness of EW Policy
II. Logical Background of
Environmental Welfare Policy
1. Environment and Human Happiness
Dual Characteristics of Environmental Resources
• As a basic need:
- Environmental assets (air, water, soil, etc.) are at the bottom of human needs
for existence: Prerequisites for universal welfare
 80% of major diseases are related with the exposure to environmental risk
factors (85/102diseases).
 An estimation of 24% of the disease-related health loss and 23% of the
mortality rate is attributable to environmental causes.
• As a Luxury Goods:
- As income levels rise the demand for high quality environmental assets also rises.
1. Environment and Human Happiness
The Paradox of Happiness
• The Easterlin’s Paradox- The rise in income level doesn’t necessarily increase the
national happiness.
The Theory of Treadmill
(Happiness ends with
The Theory of
(Comparison with
Increase of
The Theory of Desiredistention
(Desire-whetting Society)
1. Environment and Human Happiness
Human Happiness and Environment
• Law of diminishing marginal utility
- Ordinary goods: diminishing marginal utility (buyable happiness)
- Environmental goods: accumulating marginal utility (non-buyable happiness)
• Income elasticity of demand
- Environment: high income elasticity of demand.
 The paradox of happiness doesn’t apply.
- Ordinary goods: low income elasticity of demand
• Exclusiveness of consumption
- Enjoying environmental quality doesn’t require exclusiveness and comparison
with others.
• Diversity and boredom
- Environment, highly diverse, precludes boredom and serves
as a source of lasting happiness.
2. Background of Environmental Welfare Policy
Welfare State and Environmental Problem
- First, damage caused by chemicals uses (such as asbestos)
- Second, regressive nature of environmental damages
- Third, regressive tendency of climate change impacts
- Fourth, inequality in accessibility to natural environment
Inequality in accessibility to nature
Regressive quality of climate change
Regressive quality of environmental damage
Damage from the use of chemicals
2. Background of Environmental Welfare Policy
The Deepening Problem of Environmental Injustice
Inequality in the distribution of environmental services
Inequality in the sharing of environmental damages
Increases in Environmental Threat to the Social Weak
350,000 yearly deaths due to climate change and 20,000,000 climate-related
refugees in 2008
Increase in medical expense & decrease in food production and hike in food
Danger of nuclear accidents (ex. the Fukushima nuclear disaster)
Environmental Injustice among Nations
Ratio of Environmental diseases: OECD 14% vs. Non-OECD 24%
Duration of diseases: Non-OECD member countries suffers more than 15 times
than OECD member countries
3. Defining Environmental Welfare Policy
Concept and Purposes of Environmental Welfare Policy
- The Concept of Environmental Welfare Policy
• Intends to guarantee all the people in nation - both present generation and
future generation – minimum levels environmental quality and services
as basic needs that are required to enjoy decent quality of life
- The Purposes of Environmental Welfare Policy
• To let the entire nation enjoy environmental quality as a basic need for quality life.
• To let the entire nation enjoy decent life having their environmental rights satisfied.
 The target class of social welfare policy is more vulnerable to environmental
 Environmental welfare policy pursues symbiosis within a human society
and symbiosis between humans and nature.
• Related Concepts: environmental welfare, ecological welfare, environmental
equality, environmental justice, ecological justice
3. Defining Environmental Welfare Policy
<Table> Comparison of Environmental and Social Welfare
Policy Target
Means of Approach
Participation in
Policy Process
Service Provision
Environmental Welfare
Social Welfare
Public provision
Private provision
Long-term approach
Short-term approach
Current generation and future generations
Current generation
Emphasis on advanced prevention
Outcome equity improvement
Spatial approach comprehensive improvement of
quality of life
Household/individual focus point,
class section, group
Emphasis on participation in decision making
process effecting the environment
Provider → beneficiary
Locally based service
Income, biological weakness, region based,
physical requisites
Source: Koh, Jae Kyung(2013)
3. Defining Environmental Welfare Policy
Meaning of Emerging of the Idea of Environmental Welfare
Extensive transition from ex-post welfare to preventive welfare
Supplementing material welfare with emotional/mental welfare
Transition from present-bound welfare to one embracing future generations
From consumption-centered welfare to productive welfare (for preserving
production elements)
From spatially isolated welfare to spatially integrated welfare
 By closing the regional and residential gaps in environmental quality
Environmental Welfare towards a Sustainable Welfare State
• What matters most for mechanized men in the modern industrial world
→ Nature as it is, which has no affectation
→ Nature provides a foundation for safe living and gives stability and richness to
our mind
• A sustainable welfare state in a true sense is a society where people can find
peace and happiness in nature, where life evolves through continuous
cooperation and adaptation.
• The concept of environmental welfare aims for such kind of welfare state.
4. Principles of Environmental Welfare Policy
Securing Environmental Basic Rights
Securing the basic rights of people to enjoy the environment as a basic need
(for the socially and economically disadvantaged)
Considering the aspect of ecological justice as well
Proactive and Prevention-oriented Welfare
Preventive measures are more effective and economical than reactive ones to
improve human welfare.
Environmental welfare policy that intends to provide a healthy and sound
environment could prevent outbreak of disease and supply comfortable
Democratic Community-based Approach
Environmental welfare intends to cure inequality in the spatial distribution
of environmental resources and services.
Policies should be established and implemented through democratic
procedures so that opinions of beneficiaries can be well reflected.
4. Principles of Environmental Welfare Policy
Providing a Productive Welfare
By providing the good environmental conditions for the socio-economically
weak to maintain good health, environmental welfare can promote the
productive activities of them
Many policies to protect the environment can create good jobs for the
uneducated and poor social groups that are subject to social welfare.
Considering Next Generation’s Welfare
The future generation have a right to enjoy as much welfare as the present
Efforts should be made to protect this right from being infringed upon
(environmental quality, foundation for natural resource use, biodiversity, etc)
III. Review on Environmental Indicators
from the Perspective of EW Policy
1. Environmental Indicators and Trends
 Why Environmental Indicators
• To enhance the environmental sustainability of nations an index which can
assess their current circumstances and evaluate the state of SD and issues
being faced is needed
• Major Functions of Environmental Indicators
- Keeping track of changes and trends in environmental conditions
- Suggesting the direction for environmental policy
- Assessing policy effectiveness
- Provision of environmental information
 Trends in the SD indicator Development
• Currently most international organizations and many countries including Korea
have put environmental indicators systems and SD indicators in place and are
using them to assess the environmental conditions and environmental policy
• This presentation briefly reviews the environmental indicators, the UNCSD, OECD
and EU etc. are all developing indexes and carrying out assessments of countries
on sustainable environmental management
2. Review on Various Environmental Indicators Systems
1) World Environment Indicators (World Bank)
 Based on urban sustainability indicators, the system was developed to
assess the environmental pollution occurring as a result of rapid
development in the US in the 1970s with indicators divided into 4
sections outlined below:
– Main Indicators – on natural resources including: agriculture, land, forest,
coast, water, mineral, fossil fuel etc.
– Pollution Indicators – on climate change, greenhouse gas, acidification etc.
– Bio-resources Indicators – on biodiversity, coast and land features
– Human Indicators – related to human life such as: health, water quality, air
quality, food safety, housing, waste and access to employment etc.
 The indicators are based on the ideal of an absence of threats to
ecological balance and all people being able to share in the benefits of a
healthy environment
2. Review on Various Environmental Indicators Systems
2) OECD Environmental Indicators
 Realizing the importance of environmental conditions the OECD began
developing various core environmental indicators in the early 1990s.
 While advising member countries to develop environmental indicators
reflecting their circumstances, the OECD is are actively using the results to
assess their environmental performance.
 The indicators measure the influence of human activity on the environment,
current environmental circumstances and the effectiveness of efforts to
address these areas
- Environmental Issues: climate change, ozone layer depletion, eutrophication,
acidification, toxic materials, quality of urban environment, waste production,
land degeneration (desertification, erosion)
- Natural Resources: water resources, biodiversity/scenery, forest resources, fish
- Basic Indicators: population growth and density, GDP, industrial production,
energy provision and provision structure, traffic volume, agricultural
productivity etc.
2. Review on Various Environmental Indicators Systems
3) UNCSD Sustainable Development Indicators
 The program to develop sustainable development indicators was launched
in 1995
- In 1996 the first draft of the UNCSD sustainable development indicators (SDI)
system of 134 indicators covering the main aspects of Agenda 21
(society/economy/ environment/institutions) was announced
- In 2001 through experimental research on the previous SDI a new core SDI
covering 4 sectors (society/environment/economy/institutions) 15 areas, 38
articles and 57 indicators was selected
 The system makes a general assessment of the current state of sustainable
development through
- Ensuring the provision of statistical data over time for each indicator item,
- Analyzing the trends of change in indicators and
- Working to grasp what effect the outcomes have on the sustainability of
2. Review on Various Environmental Indicators Systems
4) National Sustainable Development Indicators
A. EU – Sustainable Development Indicators
 In 1997 the EU developed SDIs based on the 132 indicators of the UNCSD
system, and later edited them in 2001
 Divided into 4 sections (society, environment, economy, institutions) and made up of
15 areas, 38 items and 64 indicators
B. UK – Sustainable Development Indicators
 Put together in 1996, and made up of 21 sections, 51 areas and 118 indicators.
Edited in 2005 to be 6 sections with 147 indicators.
 The 6 sections are: sustainability indicators, sustainable economy, sustainable
community, environment and resource management, international cooperation and
development and ‘other’
C. Germany – Sustainable Development Indicators
 Created in 2008 based on an image of a future society which has achieved
sustainable development,
 The indicators were organized into 4 categories: fairness between generations,
quality of life, social solidarity and international responsibility
 Analyzed as handling important social conditions which all of international society
should be aiming towards
2. Review on Various Environmental Indicators Systems
D. USA – Sustainable Development Indicators
 Set up in 1998 based on 20 issues chosen for national sustainable
 The 20 issues chosen were divided into 3 groups of indicators: economic,
environment, and social indicators; matching the national sustainable
development strategy areas
E. Korea – Sustainable Development Indicators
 With the establishment of the SD implementation plan in October 2006 at
a cabinet meeting, national sustainability indicators
 77 in total suitable for measuring conditions in Korea) were chosen in order
to objectively diagnose the national level of sustainability
 The indicators were structured to be similar to international systems with four
levels: 3 sections, 14 areas, 33 items and 77 indicators
 The information provided by the sustainable development indicators,
which probe the status of national SD, is being used as foundational data
for the supplementation of national SD strategy
2. Review on Various Environmental Indicators Systems
5) EPI and ESI
A. Environmental Performance Index (EPI)
 Purpose: environmental performance assessment of reduction of pressure
of human demands of the environment, ecosystem durability and the
sound management of natural resources covering all nations of the world
 Announced: officially presented once every two years at the Davos Forum held
in Switzerland
 Outcomes: serving to keep countries around the world alert to the importance
of environmental improvement
B. Environmental Sustainability Index (ESI)
 Purpose: Provide pre-outlooks on individual countries’ long-term
sustainability through assessment of environmental quality and also social
and economic conditions etc.
 The 2005 ESI was composed of 5 main areas with 20 indicators
3. Comparison of Major Environmental Indicators System
WB Indicators
OECD Environmental Indicators
Agriculture & Rural Development
Population growth & density
Aid Effectiveness
Climate Change
Growth and structure of GDP
Financial Sector
Urban Development
Private & government final
consumption expenditure
Consumption and
production patterns
Industrial production
Structure of energy supply
Road traffic volumes
Labor & Social Protection
Private Sector
Public Sector
Stock of road vehicles
Social Development
Global economic
OECD Better Life
Economic Development
Economic Policy & External Debt
Science & Technology
UNCSD Indicators
Life Satisfaction
Agricultural production
3. Comparison of Major Environmental Indicators System
WB Indicators
OECD Environmental Indicators
UNCSD Indicators
OECD Better Life
Climate Change
Natural hazards
Water quality
Energy & Mining
Ozone layer depletion
Air Pollution
Oceans, seas and
Toxic contamination
Urban environmental quality
Soil degradation
Water resources
Forest resources
Fish resources
4. Implications for the Environmental Welfare Policy Analysis
Diverse but unclear environmental indicator systems
• Very diverse environmental indicator systems have been designed until now
- Most of them address various categories of environmental issues and
- also focus environmental conditions and policy efforts either separately or
• Most EI systems use too many indicators without clear purposes and targets
• Recently equality and poverty and climate change issues seem to be drawing
more attention.
Insufficient for the Measurement of Environmental Welfare
It could be argued that those systems have a certain limitations in diagnosing
nation’s environmental welfare conditions and policy efforts.
Accordingly one must redesign an environmental indicator system to review
EWP efforts of a nation.
Ⅳ. Concluding Remarks:
Directions for Developing New EW Indicator System
1. An Approach to the Environmental Welfare Indicators
Emphasis Shift in the Environmental Welfare Indicators System
Giving more priority to a proactive and prevention measure than mere cure
after things happened
Maintaining a good balance between the present and the future generations’
welfare conserving the environment and resources for future use
Considering the improvement of productive capacity of the social weak rather
than the mere improvement of consumption level of them
Giving priority in the provision of the community-based welfare goods and
services rather than individual-oriented ones to improve the society’s overall
welfare level
Major Features of Environmental Welfare Indicators Could Illustrate
The improvement of quality of life - in particular for the social weak who are
vulnerable for environmental deterioration - rather than mere environmental
An integrated welfare policy considering the disparity of social class and regions
together and the use of environmental policy as a mean of social welfare
The welfare of the future generation emphasizing precautionary measures and
the conservation of the environmental as productive resources
2. Major Categories and Indicators of Environmental Welfare
Securing Environmental
Policy Items and Possible Indicators
Productive Welfare
Next Generation
Basic Environmental Goods (air quality, tap water, energy supply, etc.)
Basic Environmental Services (sewerage service, waste collection
Access to Environmental Amenity (neighborhood parks, natural
Nature Accessibility of the Social Weak to improve Productivity
Environmental Health Management (environmental disease
prevention, protection of children’ health)
Environmental Safety Management (environmentally vulnerable and
dangerous regions)
Environment-related Jobs Creation for the Poor
Promotion of Eco-industry (i.e., eco-tourisms) as Local Community
Environmental Safety and Soundness of Workplaces
Climate Change Vulnerability(mitigation and adaptation)
Biodiversity Conservation(protective regions, endangered species
Energy/Resource Depletion(energy and resource use efficiency,
renewable resources base conservation, green energy development)
Citizens’ Participation & Information Disclosure
Environmental Education
Community Activities – Public and Private Partnership
Thank you for listening
Hoi-seong Jeong, Ph.D
President, Institute for
the Environment & Civilization
[email protected]

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