Is your company making people happy? Bhutan has the answer

By Mayuko Tani via Nikkei Asian Review

Written on 9/16/17

SINGAPORE -- Bhutan, the tiny Himalayan monarchy known for its unique "gross national happiness" development indicator, is bringing its trademark concept into the business world.

"Taking care of our workers will uplift our economy," Tshering Tobgay, the country's prime minister, told a forum in Singapore on Saturday.

GNH is the core of Bhutan's development philosophy -- it is even enshrined in the constitution enacted in 2008. Tshering Tobgay explained it as a "higher goal for human development that highlights balanced, sustainable, inclusive, and equitable [policies], far beyond the conventional measure" of gross domestic product.

Speaking at the Singapore Summit, the prime minister said his government will launch GNH certification tools for businesses in November. A company that makes a commitment "to behave ethically and to contribute to the happiness of its office workers, its customers, community and society ... while also contributing to the sustainability of the natural environment" will be granted the certificate. 

This, he said, will create an incentive for companies, while also serving as "a powerful brand."

Matthew Wisner