Measuring Changes in Consumption and Production Patterns
Indicators are essential tools for policy making, and since the publication of the Brundlandt report in 1987, policy makers and analysts have been trying to capture the concept of sustainable development in statistics. National policy makers around the world are trying to identify a set of indicators that would "indicate" the nation's prosperity, well-being and sustainability. Traditionally, the primary indicator for welfare and well-being is gross domestic product, in spite of general recognition that it has serious flaws.
The United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) has established an international work program on indicators for sustainable development. An important element of this program is the identification of a core set of indicators for "changing consumption and production patterns" (Chapter 4 of Agenda 21). The set proposed in this report is provisional because it needs national testing, evaluation and further discussion, including discussion about what additional information should be available to policy makers and the general public concerning progress towards sustainability.