Shifting public policy to achieve a sustainable economy, a healthy environment and a just society.


About Sustainability Indicators

Sustainability indicators provide a roadmap for public policy. An effective set of indicators highlights critical social, economic, and environmental problems and provides a way to measure the effectiveness of programs designed to alleviate these problems.

The choice of indicators reflects how a given population defines progress. Traditional indicators—such as gross domestic product (GDP) or corporate profits—reflect a faith in growth and efficiency as the primary mechanisms for improving public welfare.

At Redefining Progress, we believe that progress is not measured by the quantity of goods we consume, how fast our economy is growing, or how much financial wealth is being amassed. We believe progress is measured by how well we:

  • Equitably distribute wealth, income, and access to cultural amenities;
  • Diversify and stabilize our economic base;
  • Protect and restore native ecosystems; and
  • Advance social, economic, and environmental sustainability.

Redefining Progress works at the local, state, and national levels to define indicators of genuine progress in these areas.

Genuine Progress Indicator

At the national level, we publish periodic updates to the Genuine Progress Indicator, an alternative to GDP that takes inequality, environmental degradation, and debt into account as well as the benefits associated with housework, parenting, volunteering, and higher education.

Sustainability Indicators

Community Indicators

We publish a Community Indicators Handbook that provides updated information on indicators projects from around the country, case studies, and guidelines for effective Community Indicators projects.

Regional Indicators

At the regional level, our Regional Indicators project assists communities and business leaders with development of local and regional indicators that measure progress.

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