Managing the transition to critical green growth: The 'Green Growth State'

Diego Vázquez-Brust, Alastair Smith, Joseph Sarkis

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Political will at the national and multilateral scale is coalescing around the emerging discourse of Green Growth. The narratives and practices of Green Growth have already been rejected by many stakeholders as a reformulation of business as usual discourse. However, this article argues that this critique is grounded in a false conflation of distinct interpretations of the concept. In place of homogenising all associated narratives, we argue for an aspirational Critical Green Growth perspective, socially inclusive and conducive to structural transformation, incipiently identified in Asian national policies (i.e. Korea, and Japan) and the United Nations Environment Programme. Drawing on this background, and other development insights, we conduct a ‘backasting’ exercise to identify trajectories leading to this imagined future of Green Growth. We address a key gap in the literature, the lack of dialogue between Green Growth and Develomental State studies. We then argue for the importance of the Green Growth State (GGS) in introducing fundamental change in this critical window of opportunity. Elements of this overarching concept would include broad characteristics of: a flexible and diverse policy mix; multi-stakeholder, multi-level governance; public trust and collaboration; and appropriate measurements of progress discouraging commodification of nature
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)38-50
Number of pages12
Early online date27 Oct 2014
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014


  • Green Growth; Discourse; Green Growth State; Developmental State; Korea, Green Economy

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