Does wellbeing have to cost the Earth? In short, no.

Countries that rank highly on the Happy Planet Index show us that it is possible to live long, happy lives with a much smaller ecological footprint than found in the highest-consuming nations. And many nations achieve green lights in the individual components of the Happy Planet Index – meaning that these targets are genuinely attainable.

But, we are still far from achieving sustainable wellbeing.


Only a third of nations (representing 38% of the global population) consume within environmental limits.


No country meets all three goals for life expectancy, wellbeing, and ecological footprint.

Still, some progress towards sustainable wellbeing has been made since 2008.

With the crises we collectively face, we now have to push further and faster towards creating shared wellbeing for people and the planet.

To do that, we need to rethink how our global economic system is designed.

The good news is that we designed the current economic system – so we can also design it.


Any reality we are given is not set in stone, it can be changed.

- Christiana Figueres

Imagine a 'Wellbeing' Economy

A 'Wellbeing Economy' is one that is designed solely to deliver shared wellbeing for people and the planet. We would only pursue "growth" in those areas of the economy that contribute to collective wellbeing - and shrink those areas of the economy that damage it.

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There's no one blueprint for how to build a 'Wellbeing' Economy.

But the Happy Planet Index offers clues of where countries can get started on this journey – addressing their own specific challenges and building on their existing successes.

“The future is not some place we are going to, but one we are creating. The paths are not to be found, but made, and the activity of making them changes both the maker and the destination.”

- John Scharr

Share the Happy Planet Index

Use our promotion pack to start the conversation: “How can we live good lives that don’t cost the Earth?”

Happy Planet Index promotion pack