Correlating localisation and sustainability and exploring the causality of the relationship

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This article explores the idea that localisation may be an important sustainability strategy to reduce the harmful socio-ecological effects of economic globalisation. The processes of selecting sustainability indices with which to correlate localisation indices, and incorporating ecological footprint results to convert Bhutan's Gross National Happiness Index to a sustainability index that includes environmental impact measures, are described. Correlation analysis was then used to explore whether the most sustainable places are also the most localised, at regional and national levels. A strongly positive regional result for Bhutan indicates that as localisation increases in the districts there so does sustainability. At the national level global localisation and sustainability correlations were not significant, however due to the inability of national level measurement to capture important sustainability dimensions this result is unreliable. As localisation and sustainability are ideally measured in the same way everywhere according to global principles with cultural adjustments, the Bhutanese result adds weight to suggestions that localisation be explored to inform sustainability planning, as an important alternative to current unsuccessful sustainability strategies based on economic globalisation. Interviews carried out to explore the causality of the positive correlation results in Bhutan, confirmed that localisation is an important aspect of sustainability planning there.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)749-765
Number of pages17
JournalEcological Economics
Early online dateFeb 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


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