Indicator Events, Activities and Meetings

Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators in Context, originally posted at www.calvert-henderson.com, 2007

Below are events, activities and meetings associated with ‘quality of life’-related indicator efforts. If you know of others that should be included, please contact us at: info (at) calvert-henderson dot com.

There is still time to sign up for the Ceres Conference 2007, Advancing Sustainable Prosperity April 25-26, 2007: Boston, Massachusetts. See below for more details

Events and Activities

Living Planet 2006 Report Released
October 6, 2006: WWF and Global Footprint Network released the Living Planet Report 2006, which describes the changing state of global biodiversity and the pressure on the biosphere arising from human consumption of natural resources. It is built around two indicators: the Living Planet Index, which reflects the health of the planet’s ecosystems; and the Ecological Footprint, which shows the extent of human demand on these ecosystems. These measures are tracked over several decades to reveal past trends, then three scenarios explore what might lie ahead. The report shows that by 2050 humanity will demand twice as much as our planet can supply. The report’s “Living Planet Index” shows that vertebrate species populations have declined by about one-third from 1970 to 2003. At the same time, humanity’s Ecological Footprint – the demand people place upon the natural world – has increased to the point where the Earth is unable to regenerate renewable resources at the rate we are using them.

Indicator-related Conferences: Past, Present, and Future

Below is a list of upcoming indicator-related events as well as links to past events that have proceedings and other information on the web. If you know of other meetings that would be appropriate to include here, please send information to info (at) calvert-henderson dot com.

Upcoming Meetings and Conferences

Ceres Conference 2007, Advancing Sustainable Prosperity
April 25-26, 2007: Boston, Massachusetts. There is still time to sign up for this meeting! Ceres — the world’s largest network of investors, environmentalists and companies united for sustainable prosperity — has announced that the theme for this year’s annual conference is Advancing Sustainable Prosperity. The Ceres Conference 2007 will bring together and mobilize CEOs, corporate directors, investors and national environmental leaders to take action on these vast challenges. The theme for the meeting is about understanding that capitalism and sustainability are deeply and increasingly interrelated. By uniting investor and environmental perspectives, business strategies can be aligned with sustainable solutions so that the planet can be protected at the same time that people can prosper.

National Leadership Summit for a Sustainable America
June 4-6, 2007: Racine, Wisconsin. The Global Energy Center for Community Sustainability (GEC), in partnership with The Johnson Foundation, is holding four leadership summits during 2006-2007 to review the nation’s sustainable development goals in light of global warming, and to build a five-year action plan. Each summit will involve 40 of the nation’s top sustainability experts from the corporate, academic/academia, nonprofit, government, and financial sectors. Three summits are focusing on Energy and Climate Change; Natural Resources; and Sustainable Communities. The fourth will build a concrete action plan based on the recommendations produced by the first three. The third of the four National Leadership Summits – on Sustainable Communities – will be held June 4-6 at the Johnson Foundation’s Wingspread Conference Center in Racine, Wisconsin.

World Forum on Measuring and Fostering the Progress of Societies
June 27-30, 2007: Istanbul, Turkey. The OECD is hosting the Second OECD World Forum on Measuring and Fostering the Progress of Societies in co-operation with the European Commission, the United Nations and the World Bank, in Istanbul in June 2007. The forum will provide opportunities for in-depth discussions about the measurement of progress, as well as some of the most important concerns facing the world, such as climate change, health, and economic globalisation. It will stimulate an international dialogue based on available evidence, and at the same time expose gaps in our knowledge. It will be a place to discuss new and widely-applicable indicators to measure progress.

Past indicator-related meetings and events for which information is available on the web include:

  • Fifth International Conference on Community Indicators
    March 7-9, 2007: Jacksonville, Florida. The Community Indicators Consortium is holding its fifth annual conference with the theme Connection: Building Bridges, Networks, and a Community of Practice in Jacksonville, Florida, March 7-9, 2007. The purpose of the meeting is to promote communication among and help integrate the efforts of various networks, organizations and individuals involved in community indicators work in the U.S. and around the world. The ultimate goal of the Consortium is to enhance the effectiveness of these networks, organizations and individuals in advancing the art, science, and impact of indicators for improving the health, quality of life and sustainability of communities.
  • OECD Conference on Measuring Happiness and Well-Being
    April 2-3, 2007: Rome, Italy. As part of its work on developing statistics for sustainable development and also alternative measures of well-being, the OECD is sponsoring a conference in Rome on 2-3 April 2007 on Is Happiness Measurable and What do these Measures Mean for Policy?. Recent advances in the study of happiness and life satisfaction have opened new perspectives. We are, it seems, much closer to measuring how happy people are, as well as understanding more clearly other aspects of their subjective well-being. These advances, so some would argue, open the door to different paradigms for policy-making: paradigms, for instance, which see people’s happiness, rather than national income, as the goal that policy-makers seek to maximise. But while these ideas have generated much interest, and gathered considerable support, many sceptics remain.
  • April 5-6, 2006: Ceres Conference 2006 The Ceres 2006 Conference in Oakland, California, attracted over 500 company representatives, investors, NGOs, and others who came together in workshops and stakeholder meetings to discuss topics ranging from sustainable food production, to the 2006 proxy season, to corporate disclosure of climate risk. Former Vice President Al Gore, Duke Energy chairman Paul Anderson and PG&E CEO Peter Darbee called for decisive action on global warming. A diverse set of participants made for a lively discussion, but all converged on the importance of sustainable governance for building lasting prosperity.
  • September 13-14, 2005: Seattle, Washington, USA. Driving Change and Getting Results: Exploring Approaches to Performance Measurement and Community Indicators in the Cascadia Region. Sustainable Seattle, one of the leading organizations in the sustainable community indicator movement, will offer a unique two-day conference on using performance measures and community indicators to achieve desired outcomes. The conference will be in Bellevue, Washington, USA. For conference registration and information, visit the Sustainable Seattle website and click on the Indicator Conference logo.
  • June 20-24, 2005: Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada. Rethinking Development: Local Pathways to Global Wellbeing. The Second Annual Conference on Gross National Happiness. This landmark international conference, a follow up to the First International Conference on Gross National Happiness held in Bhutan in 2004, examined successful initiatives world-wide that attempt to integrate sustainable and equitable economic development with environmental conservation, social and cultural cohesion, and good governance. Conference proceedings are now available at www.gpiatlantic.org/conference/program.htm.
  • June 14, 2005: The Global Footprint Network and WWF’s released their report Europe 2005: The Ecological Footprint at the European Parliament in Brussels. The report shows that the European Union uses 20 per cent of what the world’s ecosystems provide in terms of fibres, food, energy, and waste absorption. Yet E urope is home to only 7 per cent of the world population. Europe’s demand on the planet has risen by almost 70 per cent since 1961. For more information, read the report at www.footprintnetwork.org.
  • Boston, April 13-14, 2005: Coalition for Environmentally Responsible Economies (CERES) conference, “Building Equity, Reducing Risk,” looked at measures related to sustainable economic development that promotes social and environmental well-being. Use of these types of measures can assist company directors and investors in minimizing risk while seizing new market opportunities. Through better analysis, stronger reporting, and reduced environmental, social and economic risks, companies will build equity — including all facets of financial, social, and environmental worth. For more information about Ceres see www.ceres.org.
  • February 2004: Bhutan. First Annual Seminar on Operationalizing Gross National Happiness. In order to develop real progress and sustainability and to effectively combat trends which compromise the planet’s natural and human ecosystems, the Gross National Happiness measure has been proposed as a more appropriate and inclusive indicator which truly measures the quality of life within nations and organizations in ways that are not well accounted for by conventional development concepts such as GNP and Per Capita Income. The proceedings for the first seminar on operationalizing the GNH are available on line at the web site of the Gross National Happiness Project.
  • October 2003. Curitiba, Brasil ICONS; the International Conference on New Indicators of Sustainability and Quality of Life (see www.sustentabilidade.org.br), co-sponsored by many key government and academic institutes, business and civic society organizations. The conference had two tracks (1) on macro indicators, (2) on municipal, local and corporate social performance indicators. It was my privilege to serve as a pro bono advisor on the design of this event, which gathered expert participants from many countries and reported to the top echelons of the Brasilian Administration. Tarso Genro, Minister of Social Development opened this event, which drew 700 statisticians and policy makers from Latin America, Europe, and Asia.
  • March 2003. Toronto, Canada hosted the 2nd biennial conference of the International Sustainability Indicators Network, including presentations by David Berry, Chair of the Federal InterAgency Task Force on Sustainability Indicators (and a member of the Calvert-Henderson Advisory Board), and by myself as Partner of the Calvert-Henderson Quality of Life Indicators.

Other initiatives include early stage work on Quality of Life Indicators for Mexico City and the City of Shanghai, China; a Local Sustainability Certification initiative by the Institute for Political Ecology, Santiago, Chile (www.sustainabilitycertification.org). A new set of indicators, Social Watch 2003 was released at the World Social Forum in Brasil, a Citizens Report on the Quality of Life in the World. This is available on a CD (www.socialwatch.org). Japan for Sustainability is a non-profit platform for disseminating information on Japan’s progress toward sustainability (www.japanfs.org). The European Commissions Joint Research Center is continuing work on its Dashboard Tool for Measuring Policy Performance, designed by the Consultative Group on Sustainable Development Indices (CGSDI). Their Policy Performance Index (PPI) evaluates governmental policy and performance on Economy, Environment and Social Care. Contact Jochen Jesinghaus, European Commission, Joint Research Centre IPSC/TERM, TP 361, 1-21020 ISPRA (VA), Italy – email [email protected] The contrasting paradigms have crystallized between the Davos-based World Economic Forum vis-à-vis the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre, Brasil. Regional forums followed in Europe and another in Hyderabad, India in 2004. The 2005 Forum was in Porto Alegre, Brasil, which will also host the 2006 Forum.

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