Environmental Footprint Image Footprint Network News


The United Kingdom Moves Toward a One Planet Economy

WorldWatch Releases 2006 State of the Environment Report

Does Globalization Benefit the Poor?

Issue Home

Tell a Friend

We're Hiring!
Footprint Forum 2006
Upcoming Events
2005 Annual Report


About Global Footprint Network
Our mission is to promote a sustainable economy by advancing the Ecological Footprint, a measurement tool that makes the reality of planetary limits relevant to decision-makers.

Does Globalization Benefit the Poor?

Global Footprint Network Partner nef recently released Growth Isn't Working: The Uneven Distribution of Benefits and Costs from Economic Growth. This bold and controversial report argues that globalization is failing the world's poorest as their share of the benefits of growth plummets, and that accelerating climate change hurts the poorest most.


The report, the first in nef's series of 'Re-thinking poverty' reports, reveals that the share of benefits from global economic growth reaching the world's poorest people is actually shrinking, while they continue to bear an unfair portion of the costs of this growth. New figures show that growth in the 1990s was less effective at passing on benefits to the poorest than it was even in the 1980's - the so-called 'lost decade for development' - and that the coming age of rising climate chaos will worsen this imbalance.

Between 1990 and 2001, for example, the report shows that for every $100 worth of growth in the world's per person income, just $0.60 went to reducing poverty for those living below the $1-a-day line. At this rate, a single dollar of poverty reduction requires $166 of growth in global per capital income, with the associated increase in production and consumption generating enormous environmental impacts.

The authors argue that in order to achieve both poverty reduction and environmental sustainability, global growth can not remain the world's principal economic strategy. The scale of growth this model demands, they claim, would generate "unsupportable environmental costs; and the costs would fall disproportionately, and counter-productively, on the poorest - the very people the growth is meant to benefit."

The report offers many alternatives to current poverty reduction strategies, steering policy-makers towards achieving social and environmental objectives at the country level, and designing the global economic system to meet these goals.

Learn More:

Read the report