Project Report:
Genuine Progress Project
- Investigates the causes of economic imbalances.
- Investigates the effect of the global financial system and/or the monetary system in fostering a sustainable economy.
- Explores and develops market-based solutions.


The “Genuine Progress Project” is working to shift the city of Baltimore and the state of Maryland's economic system's defining ethic from externalizing costs to embracing responsibility, and its primary purpose from growing individual financial fortunes for a few to building living community wealth to enhance the health and well-being of everyone. This project has the potential to serve as a model for other cities and states to justify correcting for market failures--such as climate change--by making the economic case for action using the Genuine Progress Indicator.


Since receiving the funds from Walker, we have developed a stakeholder action plan and outreach strategy for groups to engage in the work on the GPI in Maryland. We hired a Maryland field director for our work on GPI outreach in Maryland.

Together with CSE, we have been conducting research around the costs and benefits of climate action in Baltimore and, by extension, in Maryland under their respective Climate Action Plans. We expect a full draft report to be finished in the next few months.

We have strengthened our partnership with Maryland Nonprofits, one of the largest umbrella organizations for non-profits in the state, after being invited to give a talk at their legislative preview in January and doing a webinar with them for their 1000+ members on the GPI. We expect our partnership with them to lead to more webinars for their members and a possible joint strategic retreat which we would pull together with them.
Our work plan with the University of Maryland Smith School of Business with a class of graduate students has been completed. With support from the Walker Foundation and CSE, they were charged with the task of developing a set of metrics to evaluate the “genuine value added” that a business contributed to a community on environmental, social and economic levels as measured by the GPI, thereby increasing the overall GPI of Maryland. Though complete, the draft report needs further work and refinement by IPS and CSE. Our hope is that the complete report will help guide socially responsible investors to invest in businesses that increase the "genuine value added" of a community and that these businesses might also be eligible for tax benefits. In this work, we are partnering in our outreach and strategic planning with the Chesapeake Sustainable Business Council.

In addition, IPS pioneered the concept of the "GPI Note" as an alternative to the fiscal note used to evaluate the costs of legislation; we are putting the finishing touches on a report which we expect to release in the coming weeks on how best the GPI could be used to evaluate policies that have a significant impact on the state's economy (such as the minimum wage bill that recently passed in the Maryland General Assembly.)
We are in the process of developing a strategy around the rollout of the GPI Note, which, if successful, could transform the way state governments that use the GPI evaluate legislation.


Gross Domestic Product or GDP has over the years become synonymous with economic well-being. But the GDP was never designed for this purpose, and makes no distinctions between transactions that add to well-being and those that diminish it.
The Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) is one of the first alternatives to the GDP to be vetted by the scientific community and now used regularly by a variety of state and non-state actors worldwide.
This project is exploring and helping to operationalize the implementation of the GPI in the state of Maryland and other states in order to move the state-- and, eventually, the national-- economy toward greater sustainability. In addition, we are experimenting with ways in which the GPI might help shape policies that affect business development in the state.


The GPI attempts to calculate the costs, both positive and negative, of economic development on long-term prosperity for a state's citizens. Among the issues the indicator addresses are externalized costs due to climate change, air pollution, non-renewable resource depletion, and the untabulated value of ecosystem services provided by preserving such natural resources as wetlands and forests.
As state leaders look for better tools to evaluate their overall economic wellbeing, they are increasingly turning to the GPI as an alternative metric to GDP and GSP. Soon four states will have a set of GPI accounts in place, with one (Oregon) using it to evaluate and shape its 10-year plan. As more states begin to see the value of this new indicator, both in terms of informing policy and in evaluating progress, and as these states prove the value of more accurately capturing the true costs and benefits of economic growth, we expect national leaders to take notice and potentially put the GPI to use in helping to shape national economic policy.

Information Dissemination

We have ramped up our presence on Twitter and Facebook. We have developed a stakeholder engagement strategy on the GPI, which, together with Maryland Nonprofits, we are beginning to implement. As our reports on the GPI Note and on Genuine Value Added reach final completion, together with our partners, we are planning a media outreach strategy, including op-eds, and various roundtable meetings with select business leaders and elected officials to help garner broad support for some of our ideas.

Project Link

Amounts Approved
$20,000.00 on 7/1/2013 (Check sent: 7/9/2013)
$10,000.00 on 11/7/2013 (Check sent: 1/10/2014)

Income inequality in Maryland is increasing
Income inequality in Maryland is increasing

Income inequality in Maryland is increasing
GPI-closing-the-inequality-divide (PDF)

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Ms. Daphne Norris Wysham
CEO, Methane Action

Posted 4/1/2013 2:11 PM
Updated   8/5/2015 11:05 AM

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