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

Diego Vazquez-Brust*, Alastair M. Smith, Joseph Sarkis

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


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, particularly Korea. 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 Developmental 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; value-driven, multi-stakeholder, multi-level governance; public trust and collaboration; and appropriate measurements of progress discouraging commodification of nature.

Original languageEnglish
Peer-reviewed scientific journalFutures
Issue numberDecember
Pages (from-to)38-50
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 01.12.2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article - refereed


  • 512 Business and Management
  • Green growth
  • Discourse
  • Green Growth State
  • Industrial policy
  • Green economy


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