Scotland, Iceland and New Zealand established the Wellbeing Economy Goverments (WeGo) initiative in 2018. The project was inspired by the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WeAll). In September 2019, Kartín Jakobsdóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland, introduced the proposed 39 well-being indicators under 3 main sections: Society, Environment and Economy. In April 2020, the Icelandic government has approved a motion from the Prime Minister to implement the use of 39 well-being indicators to measure prosperity and quality of life in the country.  At a time when the government faces some tough decisions related to the COVID-19 epidemic, these 39 indicators are proving very effective in creating their relief policies.

Shifting focus from GDP

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir states: “Gross Domestic Product and economic growth are certainly important metrics and will continue to be so, but these factors do not tell the whole story about people’s quality of life and the successes of communities. It is important to have metrics that take the environment, society, and economy into account.”

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Iceland’s 39 well-being indicators are separated into three categories – social, economic, and environmental – and relate to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. On page 3 and 4 of the Well-being measurements document is a table of how each of the indicators can be mapped to a particular SDG.

Social enterprises in Iceland

Social enterprises at their core fulfill one or more of the SDGs in transforming the world into a more equal and just world. With this newly released and approved well-being indicators, social enterprises are positioned to offer effective solutions to meeting the 39 indicators. In addition, social enterprises continue to measure their successes not just through financial indicators (akin to GDP in governments) but also KPIs and impact measurements to continually improve on their effectiveness in delivering their services to their designated customer base. The social enterprises of Iceland are therefore well positioned to be the ground crew that assist the Icelandic government in fulfilling their 39 indicators.


Iceland Government unveils Well-being framework
Iceland to Measure Social and Environmental Prosperity


Photo by Nicolas J Leclercq on Unsplash