Title: Green productivity: clarifying terminology and concepts

Authors: Laurel Besco

Addresses: Institute of the Environment & Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa, 555 King Edward Avenue Ottawa, Ontario K1N 6N5, Canada

Abstract: Employing and adjusting conventional productivity measures to represent the (mis)use of natural capital in production processes has recently generated increased interest. However, the literature relating to natural capital and productivity is highly fragmented, at times uses different definitions and misleading terms, and lacks conceptual unity. This not only leads to duplication and fragmentation of the research agenda, it is also a barrier to transferring knowledge within the academy and to policy makers. This paper aims to clarify the terminologies in use, categorise methodologies, and provide recommendations for best practice language in research on productivity measurement and natural capital. Recommendations include using green productivity as the general term for these measures, natural resource productivity to describe partial measures considering natural resource flows, and environmentally adjusted productivity for multifactor productivity calculations including undesirable outputs.

Keywords: green terminology; green concepts; environmentally adjusted accounting; green productivity; natural resource productivity; environmentally adjusted productivity; natural capital; undesirable outputs; greening; production processes; green technologies; productivity measurement; natural resource flows; multifactor productivity calculations; sustainability; sustainable development; sustainable economies.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSE.2014.065400

International Journal of Sustainable Economy, 2014 Vol.6 No.4, pp.406 - 425

Received: 14 Jan 2014
Accepted: 03 May 2014

Published online: 23 Oct 2014 *

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