Reframe the national focus and vision for Scotland’s future away from economic growth and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in order to reflect climate change goals towards the prioritisation of a more person and community centred vision of thriving people, thriving communities and thriving climate.

The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the interconnected nature of social well-being, economic prosperity and the environment, and has given renewed impetus to our efforts to ensure that Scotland can thrive in the future. By addressing the disproportionate, negative impact of the pandemic on people already experiencing disadvantage and acknowledging that we must improve further, the Covid Recovery Strategy aligns our recovery with our ambitions for a well-being economy.

What we measure matters, and delivering a well-being economy will mean looking beyond GDP to measure things that people value – the quality of jobs, the health of citizens and the impact of economic activity on our environment.

Scotland is already leading the way on this work and we have made well-being an explicit part of our national purpose as a country, underpinning our National Performance Framework.

We are committed to pursuing a well-being economy and Scotland is a founding member of the Well-being Economy Government network (WEGo) alongside New Zealand and Iceland. WEGo seeks to promote sharing of expertise and transferable economic policy practices to deliver societal well-being.

Recommendation 81: Measurement Framework

Business and government to adopt a measurement framework for success that incorporates sustainability, well-being and happiness alongside profit.


Scottish Government Response

The Scottish Government supports the Assembly’s recommendation to consider sustainability, well-being and happiness in our measurement framework.


The National Performance Framework is Scotland’s well-being framework, first introduced in 2007. 11 National Outcomes set out a vision for Scotland where everyone can flourish through increased well-being, and sustainable and inclusive economic growth. 81 National Indicators measure success using a wide range of social, economic and cultural indicators that consider various aspects of well-being such as: mental health, child well-being and happiness, greenhouse gas emissions, wealth inequality, and loneliness, alongside economic measures such as GDP.

The COVID-19 pandemic has emphasised the interconnected nature of social well-being, economic prosperity and the environment, and has given renewed impetus to our efforts to ensure that Scotland can thrive in future. We are aligning our recovery with our ambitions for a well-being economy which is based on the principles of equality, sustainability, prosperity and resilience.

The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, states that the National Outcomes must be reviewed every five years, and the next review will start no later than June 2023. Changes to the National Performance Framework will be considered as part of this process.

To understand how well we are performing as a well-being economy, we are developing a Well-being Economy Monitor. The Monitor will not only guide economic policy, but will also identify barriers to well-being and integrate a four capitals approach to make sure that sustainability is part of our policy process.

Case Study: Well-being Economy Pilot

We have developed a Well-being Economy Framework as a tool to identify key opportunities, challenges and strategic priorities for delivering a well-being economy. Our Well-being Economy Pilot Project, in collaboration with Clackmannanshire Council, is using this framework to establish how the well-being economy principles of prosperity, inclusion and sustainability can guide local economic development policy, including as a response to COVID-19.

Evidence gathered in the course of this project from data, analysis and stakeholder engagement is supporting Clackmannanshire Council to prioritise and target interventions to maximise well-being economy opportunities within the local area, including through refreshing their Local Outcome Improvement Plan. The outcomes of this project will allow us to develop a comprehensive toolkit to support decision-making for the well-being economy in local areas and regions across Scotland.

Photo of John Swinney MSP

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Covid Recovery, John Swinney MSP

“Covid has shown that by working together and focussing on what really matters we can make a difference. The Climate Assembly is another shining example of this, bringing together diverse backgrounds and experiences, truly representative of all of Scotland. We must take the energy and innovation that was brought to saving lives and supporting people during the pandemic to the even greater challenges presented by the climate emergency.”