Green Growth

Green growth means fostering economic growth and development, while ensuring that natural assets continue to provide the resources and environmental services on which our well-being relies. To do this, it must catalyse investment and innovation which will underpin sustained growth and give rise to new economic opportunities.

We need green growth because risks to development are rising as growth continues to erode natural capital. If left unchecked, this would mean increased water scarcity, worsening resource bottlenecks, greater pollution, climate change, and unrecoverable biodiversity loss.

These tensions may undermine future growth prospects for at least two reasons:

  • It is becoming increasingly costly to substitute physical capital for natural capital. For instance, if water becomes scarcer or more polluted, you need more infrastructure to transport and purify it.
  • Change does not necessarily follow a smooth, foreseeable trajectory. For example, some fish stocks suddenly collapsed after declining only slowly for years.

If we want to ensure that the progress made in living standards in these past fifty years does not grind to a halt, we have to find new ways of producing and consuming things, and even redefine what we mean by progress and how we measure it.

Major "Green Growtn" principles and instruments

The Concept is based on the following four principles:

  • eco-efficiency principle, promoting maximization of useful characteristics of goods and services and simultaneous minimization of impact on environment in the course of the entire product life cycle;
  • resource saving principle, stipulating managerial decision-making given the necessity of conservation of natural resources.
  • unity principle, stipulating coordinated actions of all the subjects of economic relations of the given process;
  • inter-sector principle involving of representatives of different community sectors into decision-making process.

Based on these principles one could conclude that the "Green Growth" Concept is the first stage of transition to sustainable development both at the country and global levels.

According to the Concept the aforementioned principles are integrated into the strategic planning process of development of the national economies with the help of the use of the following mechanisms:

  • budgeting system reform through introduction of ecological taxes;
  • introduction of models of sustainable production and consumption;
  • "green business" development;
  • formation of sustainable infrastructure.

“Green growth” strategy

Green growth strategies need to pay specific attention to many of the social issues and equity concerns that can arise as a direct result of greening the economy – both at the national and international level. To achieve this they should be implemented in parallel with initiatives centering on the broader social pillar of sustainable development.

Green growth can open up new sources of growth through:

  • Productivity. Incentives for greater efficiency in the use of resources and natural assets, including enhancing productivity, reducing waste and energy consumption, and making resources available to their highest value use.
  • Innovation. Opportunities for innovation, spurred by policies and framework conditions that allow for new ways of creating value and addressing environmental problems.
  • New markets. Creation of new markets by stimulating demand for green technologies, goods, and services; creating new job opportunities.
  • Confidence. Boosting investor confidence through greater predictability and continuity around how governments deal with major environmental issues.
  • Stability. More balanced macroeconomic conditions, reduced resource price volatility and supporting fiscal consolidation through, for instance, reviewing the composition and efficiency of public spending, and increasing revenues through putting a price on pollution.

Selected Bibliography

Monographs and brochures

Eckstein G. - The Greening of Water Law: Managing Freshwater Resources for People and the Environment (2010) 

Green Growth and Environmental Governance in Eastern Europe, Caucasus, and Central Asia 

Green Growth and Water Allocation (2013) 

Green Economy. A Brief For Policymakers on the Green Economy and Millennium Development Goals 

Green Economy. Developing Countries Success Stories 

Towards Green Growth: Monitoring Progress. OECD Indicators 

Towards green growth. A summary for policy makers 

Towards Green Growth 

Towards a Green Economy. Pathways to Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication. A Synthesis for Policy Makers 

The Green Economy. An introduction for policy makers, NGOs and researchers in Central Asia (2014) 

Water Chapter from Green Economy Report 

Water and Green Growth 

Water and the Green Economy. Capacity Development Aspects (2013) 


Barbier E.B. - Natural Capital, Ecological Scarcity and Rural Poverty (2012) 

Bowen A. - ‘Green’ Growth, ‘Green’ Jobs and Labor Markets (2012) 

Copeland B.R. - International Trade and Green Growth (2012) 

Dutz M.A., Sharma S. - Green Growth, Technology and Innovation (2012) 

de Melo J. - Trade in a ‘Green Growth’ Development Strategy. Global Scale Issues and Challenges (2012) 

Dercon S. - Is Green Growth Good for the Poor? (2012) 

Green Economy for Sustainable Mountain Development (2011) 

Hallegatte S., Heal G., Fay M., Treguer D. - From Growth to Green Growth. A Framework (2011) 

Harrington W., Morgenstern R., Velez-Lopez D. - Tools for Assessing the Costs and Benefits of Green Growth. The U.S. and Mexico (2012) 

Karp L., Stevenson M. - Green Industrial Policy. Trade and Theory (2012) 

Kunreuther H.,Michel-Kerjan E. - Impact of Behavioral Issues on Green Growth Policies and Weather-Related Disaster Reduction in Developing Countries (2012) 

Popp D. - The Role of Technological Change in Green Growth (2012) 

Porto G. - The Cost of Adjustment to Green Growth Policies. Lessons from Trade Adjustment Costs (2012) 

Schafer A. - Introducing Behavioral Change in Transportation into Energy/Economy/Environment Models (2012) 

UNEP Brief: The Green Economy Initiative (2009) 

UNEP Brief: Agriculture. Catalyst for Shifting to a Green Economy (2010) 

UNEP Brief: Cities and Green Buildings. In the Transition to a Green Economy (2009) 

UNEP Brief: Water. In the Transition to a Green Economy () 

Vincent J. R. - Ecosystem Services and Green Growth (2012) 

Withagen C., Smulders S. - Green Growth. Lessons from Growth Theory (2012) 

Weber E.U., Johnson E.J. - Psychology and Behavioral Economics Lessons for the Design of a Green Growth Strategy (2012) 


Measuring water use in a green economy / UNEP (2012) 

National Report on integration of the "Green Growth" tools in the Republic of Kazakhstan 

The Transition to a Green Economy: Benefits, Challenges and Risks from a Sustainable Development Perspective (2012) 

The Prospects for “Green” Economy in the Kyrgyz Republic