70 percent of the countries assessed in the Inclusive Wealth Report 2012 present a positive Inclusive Wealth Index (IWI) per capita, indicating sustainable development.
Fourteen countries of the twenty assessed in this report were found to have positive IWI growth rates. The six that experienced negative growth rates were Colombia, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Venezuela. However, of the fourteen countries with positive results, only China returned a growth rate above 2 percent over the past 19 years, Chile, France, and Germany grew more than 1 percent. The remaining ten had growth rates between 0.1 and 1 percent. Therefore, despite growth rates in many of the countries in this first report margin and have a high probability of switching on to an unsustainable trajectory. This was especially true for Kenya which had a growth rate of only 0.06 percent.
High population growth caused 25 percent of countries assessed to become unsustainable.
High population growth rates with respect to positive IWI was among the primary reason five countries experienced a negative IWI per capita, namely Colombia, Nigeria, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, and Venezuela. Russia was the exception to the sample of twenty countries that were assessed in this report. It had a negative population growth rate and was also the only country to have a negative IWI before population dynamics were included. This example illustrates how a negative population growth rate can counter a negative IWI to return a higher IWI on a per-capita basis.
19 out of the 20 countries assessed experienced a decline in natural capital.
Of all countries assessed, Japan was the only to experience an increase in its natural capital due to an increase in forest cover. For 13 of the 19 countries that experienced a decline in natural capital, the decline did not automatically translate to a decrease in the overall inclusive wealth growth rate. But for six countries – Colombia, Nigeria, South Africa, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela – decreases in natural capital base did contribute to their negative IWI. For most of these countries, in particular South Africa, the rapid decline of their fossil fuel asset base was a major cause for the decrease of their natural capital.
Human capital has increased in every country, being the primary capital form that offsets the decline in natural capital in most economies.
Brazil, in particular, has had success in increasing its human capital by over 1.2 percent as compared to its IWI growth rate of 0.9 percent. Much of that increase, however, has been negatively affected by the drawdown of its natural capital base, with very little increase in its manufactured capital. It is therefore crucial that the rates of change of the three capital asset bases and the corresponding increase or decrease in the IWI growth rate, both on an absolute and a per-capita basis, are analyzed in an integrated manner.
25 percent of the countries assessed, which showed a positive trend when measured by GDP per capita and the HDI, were found to have a negative IWI.
Colombia, Nigeria, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Venezuela showed positive growth rates for the HDI and GDP per capita, but returned negative IWI. South Africa was the only country that had a positive GDP per capita growth rates but returned negative growth rates for both the HDI and the IWI per capita. Nigeria, South Africa, and Venezuela had the biggest discrepancies. These discrepancies demonstrate how GDP per capita focuses purely on the present income and production flow, while the IWI concentrates on the stocks of assets and their changes over time.