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A way out of ESG recession

Access to advanced education, inclusiveness, personal rights and freedoms guarantee that each member of the society can sustain the opportunities that life offers them

We are about to witness a global Economic, Social and Governance, or ESG, recession, brought to you by a legacy of a pandemic, global conflicts and rising cost of living.

I believe this is good news within the midst of all of this for all of us. This is because for almost 100 years our nations have been measuring what matters to us using only economic tools, such as Gross Domestic Product or GDP.

So, our nations are being gagged based on how much we consume, invest and export, but does measuring these tell you about how well we are doing?

Therefore, the question today is do we want to continue focusing on similar economic tools to measure what matters to us? I would argue that the legacy of the modern global triple health, economic and political crises is a good message for us to come up with more useful, innovative ways to measure and later improve and make real progress.

Globally since 2011, around 169 nations around the world became familiar with the Social Progress Index, or SPI, issued by the Social Progress Imperative, to reflect progress on three main aspects that matter: Basic Human Needs, Foundations of well-being, and Opportunity.

While many international reports and indices face criticism for being unclear definitions, or even of being biased, these indices such as these three indicators below of SPI, still the most useful way for societies to measure, improve and innovate in their overall performance.

Basic Human Needs

If there is one thing we learned during the almost 2 years global lockdown it is that nothing in this world matters more than personal safety, shelter, nutrition, medical care, water and sanitation, and this is exactly what SPI’s Basic Human Needs indicators measure.

Foundations of Well-being

After securing basic human needs, the best way forward is to guarantee for everyone in the society access to tools where they learn about life and how to make the best of what it has to offer.

In SPI, this is measured through access to basic knowledge, information, communications, health and environmental quality.


A fair chance and a governance leveled playing field to guarantee a decent life is an elusive human ambition. In SPI, access to advanced education, inclusiveness, personal rights and freedoms guarantee that each member of the society can sustain the opportunities life offers them.

In his book StrengthsFinder 2.0, the author Tom Rath argues that we must develop our strengths by focusing on our untapped talents. For the Sultanate of Oman for example, we are one of the top nations in the world in access to communications and this could help innovate in finding a way to overcome the coming ESG recession.

Knowing that we rank 80 out of 169 nations overall in the Social Progress Index, due to a number of challenges facing education and environmental quality, can spark a roadmap towards greater economic, social and governance progress.

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