By Simon Miller
A new economic measurement will be needed in the 21st century to take into account resource scarcity according to panellists at ReSource2012.
Speaking about the role of government in managing resources, panellists said that GDP was no longer the sole measurement of a country's economic health.
Former UK foreign secretary David Miliband said that the threat for governments is that people and business will revise GDP not officials.
"What we are going to see is that as resources become scarce, it will add as a factor to the valuation of wealth," he said.
Governor Yi Gang of the Bank of China said that for his country, other factors such as air quality were already being used to measure the wealth of disitrcts.
"When a local governor is being assessed, measures such as air and water pollution are already being considered.
Yi added that because of the size of China, a lifestyle such as in the west was not being targetted.
"Chinese people are aware of how large a population they are," he said. "And they have recognised that they cannot have a US-style, resource-intesive lifestyle and so are pursuing an energy-efficient lifestyle," he said.
Rachel Kyte, vice president of the sustainable development network at the World Bank, said that at the moment, the issue was that there was a perception that pollution regulations were forcing industry overseas and so the shift in thinking about economic wealth wasn;t developing.
"Polluting industries are moving because of labour costs not regulation and the economic performance of pollution regulation should be addressed," she said.
From the audience, chairman and chief scientist of Rocky Mountain Institute Amory Lovins commented that we were facing a world where the amount of people were outweighing the amount of resources.
He said: "The economics of tomorrow will be to use resources more efficiently. When you consider how much waste the US generates, this should be the biggest business opportunity available."