Beyond GDP, World Happiness & Wellbeing Initiative Trends


TREND 1: An Explosion of Regeneration Projects, Initiatives, Organizations

As a response to the many crises humanity has faced, the concept of regeneration creates urgency to take action on all levels, from individuals to national governments and everything in between.  The deep desire to restore what has been damaged so far and protect the planet from further harm, finds many in search of the right way forward.  Keep an eye on the following organizations when it comes to regeneration:

Regenerative Society Foundation: an Italian non-profit, co- chaired by Andrea Illy and Jeffrey Sachs. The foundation is a business-driven organization, based on the synergy between business and science, to develop the transition to a fully regenerative society.  A new metric is being developed; it’s referred to as a regeneration index that explores a measure of human outputs for planetary health.

Regenerative Agriculture: the first international location of the “Rodale Institute” has been set up in partnership with Davines Group, at a 15 hectares site, next to Davines Village in Parma, Italy.  It explores regenerative organic farming and has the potential to sequester carbon, mitigate climate change, promote biodiversity and protect our soil, air and water.

 “This integrated partnership is an effort to propel the regenerative organic movement beyond simply food and fiber to beauty and personal care. To accomplish this goal, both Rodale Institute and Davines Group hope to bolster the support system and available resources for regenerative organic farmers in the region, research on regenerative organic personal care ingredients, and to advance consumer education on the topic.” Jeff Moyer, CEO Rodale Institute

i: Regenerative Society Foundation. Available at:
ii: Rodale Institute, Davines Group Launch Italian Regenerative Organic Center. Available at:

TREND 2: Regeneration and Beauty

The B Corp Beauty Coalition leads the important discussion around new solutions and best practices for regenerative organic sourcing in ”personal care and beauty”, the largest economic segment in the wellness economy, which totaled $955 billion in 2020, according to the Global Wellness Institute.

B Corp Beauty Coalition. Available at:

TREND 3: Regenerative Hospitality and Travel

Regenerative hospitality has the power to make travel a force for good by revitalizing our social and environmental ecosystems while offering guests transformational experiences. This reflects a new dimension in impactful design for immersive experiences, restoring and repairing the surrounding communities and ecosystems. Visionary concepts explore the relationship between nature, culture, the city and the human being, in a way that encourages mutual respect and connection. This is elegantly reflected in the architectural scheme for Palazzo dell’ Agricoltore, Italy’s first B-corp hotel in Parma.

Find a Collection of Mission-driven Hotels. Available at:

TREND 4: Regeneration Art

Art is, perhaps, the best expression of ideas and emotions that inspire meaningful transformations in the viewer. We have wellness evidence that shows how experiencing music, art and literature has a positive impact on mental health. Creative programming about regeneration has a restorative impact on us, our businesses and society. An example is the temporary site-specific installations by the British artist Mike Nelson, in “House of Farmer”, a project curated by Didi Bozzini, that explores the corporeal juxtaposition between bureaucracy and wilderness.

The House of the Farmer. Available at:

TREND 5: Regenerative Leadership

In these cataclysmic times, who will drive the change towards radical improvement in the world? Various platforms and events have been created to provide safe havens for leaders to come together. When they feel nurtured and centered, they are more able to inspire and nurture their communities.

Resources that bring leaders together to shape “a more regenerative” future are included below.

i: The Regenerative Alliance. Available at:
ii: B-Corp for Good Leaders Summit. Available at:
iii: The Global Wellness Summit. Available at:

TREND 6: Spirituality and Business

It’s time to give business a soul. We learn, from the realm of workplace wellness, the trends for building connection, the focus on social wellbeing, and the attention on The Happiness Index for harnessing greater care and compassion. Perhaps this is a bridge to the next step of bringing the concept of spirituality to the boardroom. Just like we now see more Chief Wellbeing Officers or Chief Happiness Officers in companies, perhaps Spiritual Officers are next, to nurture a sense of connectedness, acceptance, peace, trust and sense of purpose in companies.

TREND 1: Long-Termism

The long-term approach, seeing future generations as equally important as those living now. Taking inspiration from indigenous cultures considering seven generations when making decisions today. Prioritizing long-term thinking is a way forward to change our economy from an extractive model to a regenerational one.

TREND 2: Urban Regeneration

Incorporating living ecosystems into urban spaces are some of the most effective ways of future-proofing cities against the damaging effects of climate change. Envisioning biodiverse green urban cities wilder than forests is the way forward.

TREND 3: Soil Health Is Human Health

Thirty football fields of soil are lost every minute, mostly due to intensive farming; there are only about 60 years of topsoil remaining. Soil health affects everything from plant health to human wellbeing and the future of our planet.

TREND 4: Wellbeing Public Policy

As more research on how to measure wellbeing and happiness is available, increasing public wellbeing and happiness is becoming an apparent goal in public policy.

TREND 5: Genetics and Happiness

Molecular genetic studies are actively researched in the happiness arena. Recent research reports genetic influences (heritability) to account for 32–40% of the variation of overall happiness; the question is how to provide positive gene-environment matchmaking focusing on strengths, raising happiness as a platform in individuals and societies.

TREND 1: Developing the Understanding, Emphasis and Use of the Term ‘Regenerative Economy’

The Regenerative Economy is a new world economic model, proposed as an alternative to GDP. It comprises an interdependent system measured by sustainability, happiness and wellbeing. Therefore, it extends markers beyond the merely fiscal to include planetary responsibility and personal fulfillment. In so doing, the Regenerative Economy provides a broad platform for entrepreneurial, governmental, academic, public, private and spiritual collaboration.

Being at the forefront of sustainable lifestyles, happiness and wellbeing, the wellness industry must use its position to lead by example in its approach, its offerings and operations at every level.

TREND 2: Increasing the Number of B-Corps in the Wellness Industry

B-Corporations, where B stands for “benefit,” defines a new sector of the corporate community where the objective is to be the best “for” the world, rather than best “in” the world, balancing purpose with profit. People want to work for, buy from, and invest in businesses they believe in. B-Corp Certification is a powerful way to build credibility and value, and it is available to businesses in any sector that demonstrate high standards of transparency, accountability and performance.

B-Corp principles align closely with the principles of the wellness industry—pursuing higher levels of benefit at an individual, corporate, social and environmental level, to be a catalyst of change for “the better.”

TREND 3: Prioritizing ‘Happiness’ as a Policy in Organizations and Governments

Happiness, in its deepest meaning, can be defined as self-realization, altruism and individual and collective wellbeing. With this in mind, The Gross National Happiness Index, formulated in Bhutan in the 1970s, is an index used to measure the collective happiness and wellbeing of a population. It is considered a holistic approach to societal development and a goal of governance. It measures progress in society according to an evolving mix of quality-of-life factors rather than focusing strictly on quantitative economic measures around GDP.

Andrea Illy, chairman and CEO of illycaffè and speaker at the 2018 GWS and the Conference on Science and Ethics for Happiness and Wellbeing at the Vatican City, says: “Enterprises are dependent on happiness for their survival. Behavioral economics commands demand (Daniel Kahneman, global leader in Behavioral Economics), whereas emotional intelligence commands operational excellence (Daniel Coleman, author on the brain and behavior). Therefore, no happiness, no business.”

The wellness industry is best placed to help individuals and organizations to reach higher levels of emotional intelligence, health, wellbeing and ultimately happiness for their employees, partners and clients.

TREND 4: Expanding Commitment and Action on Climate Change

Proactive climate action is one of the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and it’s one of the three pillars of the Regeneration 2030 Summit (October 15–17, 2020, Parma and The Vatican City, Italy), co-founded by leading wellness industry figure, Davide Bollati, chairman of Davines Group. The lack of cooperation in climate change is one of the most pressing threats to our common future.

The wellness industry has a responsibility to play its part in climate change action by shifting business models to a decarbonization path, modernizing its infrastructures, and doing more to embrace nature and sustainability in all aspects of its operations.

TREND 5: Raising Interest in and Practice of Spirituality

The current global paradigm has accelerated an already-expressive reassessment of core values and purpose, both by individuals and organizations. Ancient teachings from different global faiths and increasing awareness of existence beyond our conscious selves are gathering momentum. This shift toward a more spiritual outlook is supported by empirical advances in neuroscience and psychology. These new levels of interest in and understanding of the human condition contribute to societal happiness and wellbeing.

Once again, the wellness industry is well placed to offer a greater role to spirituality in helping people assess the essential questions of purpose—and so help advance this all-important societal happiness and wellbeing that this Initiative, within the GWI, is championing.

The Global Wellness Institute serves as an umbrella organization for numerous Initiatives, that are independently chaired and run. The resources, editorial, research and opinions presented by the Initiatives do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Global Wellness Institute.