Mark Anielski is the Chief Well-being Officer, Director and Co-founder of the Genuine Wealth Institute, co-founder of Happiness Solutions Inc. and President and CEO of Anielski Management Inc. (AMI) based in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Mark Anielski is a rare economist who specializes in the new economics of well-being and happiness. He is recognized as an international expert in well-being measurement and indicators as well as a pioneer of natural capital accounting and sustainability measurement.
He is the author of the best-selling book The Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth, published in May of 2007. His book was published in China in 2010 and has received the highest accolades from senior Chinese officials. In the forward to his book, Mark’s professional mentor ecological economist Herman Daly referred to Mark as ‘God’s auditor.’
In 2008 his book won the gold medal in the Los Angeles Nautilus Book Awards in the category of Conscious Business and Leadership and won a bronze medal at the Axiom Book Awards in New York in the category of economics.
Mark is the founder of several well-being-based enterprises including Anielski Management Inc. (1995), Happiness Solutions Inc. (2012) and Genuine Wealth Inc. (2013).
In January 2015, Mark helped launch the Genuine Wealth Institute, a unique not-for-profit economic think-tank dedicated to building the new economy of well-being by empowering individuals, businesses, enterprises, communities and nations (particularly First Nations) with the practical tools for measuring and managing what matters most to well-being using the Genuine Wealth model developed by Mark over the past 15 years.
Mark is an internationally renowned economist who specializes in well-being and happiness economics. In 2008 Alberta Venture magazine named him one of Alberta’s 50 most influential people. Mark has advised governments and business in Canada, US, China, Bhutan, the Netherlands, Austria, and Tahiti on how to measure and optimize their well-being. Mark lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, Jennifer and their two daughters.
What I believe
I believe we are at an important juncture in history. While world faces many serious crisis including climate change and a massive international debt overload, I believe we hare opportunities to redefine progress, wealth and economics that focuses on well-being as the ultimate frontier. This I believe begins with measure what matters to our well-being; their is an adage that ‘what we measure gets managed.’
My vision is an economy of well-being focused on the values we hold most important our personal well-being and the well-being of our families. The family or household, I believe, represents the original enterprise and the key building block for building the new flourishing neighbourhood and economy of well-being. I often remind my audiencies that the word economy means prudent household management from the Greek word oiko-nomia.
I believe that well-being should be the ultimate ‘bottom line’ for individuals, businesses and communities. I believe what we measure reveals our values and our heart’s deepest longings for joy and love. I agree with Aristotle and Thomas Aquinas that the purpose of our lives is to achieve happiness or eudaimonia. Eudaimonia is difficult to define, however, etymologically this Greek word means ‘well-being, of spirit.’ So genuine happiness has something to do with the excellence of one’s soul, aligning the mind with the passions of the heart, and fulfilling one’s vocation or higher purpose or calling in life.
Founding Businesses Focused on Well-being and Happiness
Anielski Management Inc. (a family-owned enterprise)
Since 1995 I have been operating our family-owned small business enterprise, Anielski Management Inc., on the principles of wisdom, integrity, moderation or sufficiency of material needs, and a commitment to sustainable stewardship of the genuine wealth of my community. My wife and I are co-shareholders in our corporation which is directly tied to our household. We operate on the principles of moderation and sustainability, earning a sufficient income to meet our basic needs while enjoying a high quality of life for our household. I give at least one-third of my eight-hour work day to the community in the form of private and community counsel on how to build sustainable, flourishing and genuine wealth communities and enterprises. My wife and I enjoy the benefits of a wealth of meaningful work with some of the most progressive clients in Canada and internationally who understand the wisdom of the prudent management of genuine wealth.
Happiness Solutions Inc.
In 2011 a group of individuals from Alberta and the Netherlands got together to found Happiness Solutions Inc. What united us was a common passionate about pursuing genuine happiness and well-being. Our mission is to radically improve the conditions of well-being (i.e. genuine wealth) in the world. Happiness Solutions Inc. works with you (individuals, households, communities, cities/towns, organizations, regions, countries) to give you find the most efficient path to genuine happiness with practical solutions to enhancing their well-being. Unlike other corporations, we defined the ‘best interests’ of Happiness Solutions Inc. as follows: to co-create general and genuine public benefit and improve society well-being. Our work was grounded in a common set of values that include: honesty, respect, wisdom, love, sharing (reciprocity), honour and humility.
Genuine Wealth Inc.
In 2012, building from Happiness Solutions Inc., I was joined by three partners (Robert McGarvey, Bill Craig and Dominic Mishio) to form Genuine Wealth Inc. and Genuine Wealth Institute. The mission of Genuine Wealth Inc. is:
To enable people, businesses and communities throughout the world to flourish and achieve their highest potential state of wellbeing.
We do this through intuitive and pragmatic wellbeing measurement and optimization tools that we call the Genuine Wealth Model ®. The Genuine Wealth Model is a unique total asset measurement system that helps individuals and organizations optimize the five assets of wellbeing: human, social, environmental, built and financial assets.
We seek to accelerate the transition to an economy of well-being by applying the principles of Genuine Wealth: a new total asset measurement system based on the Five Capitals, designed to enhance individual, organizational and community well-being.
1. That all decisions should be focused on wellbeing.
2. We believe wellbeing will become the new ‘bottom line’ and the ultimate purpose of business, governments, neighbourhoods and communities. The outcomes would be improved standards of living and flourishing personal, work and community lives. The precondition for a flourishing economy of wellbeing is to measure what matters, quantify the wellbeing assets and then leverage these individual and community assets, with constant balancing and rebalancing, to continually move towards a flourishing state of wellbeing.
3. We believe in measuring what matters to the wellbeing of an organization or community.
4. We believe that what gets measured gets managed. Therefore measuring the wellbeing impacts of all decisions and actions matters.
5. We believe that virtuous actions are the key to genuine happiness; this requires the alignment of one’s actions to the desired end, which is flourishing wellbeing conditions for the greatest number of people and the planet.
My Professional Background
I am schooled in economics, accounting and forestry and hold a M.Sc. in forest economics, a B.A. in economics and B.Sc.F in forest science, all from the University of Alberta.
My Book: The Economics of Happiness Building Genuine Wealth
In May of 2007, encouraged by my business students at the Bainbridge Graduate Institute (Seattle), I completed my first book The Economics of Happiness: Building Genuine Wealth by New Society Publishers. My book has become a Canadian best-seller and has won two book awards (the gold medal in the Nautilus book awards (Los Angeles) and a bronze medal in the Axiom book awards (New York). In the Economics of Happiness, I propose a new road map for developing economies of well-being for nations, communities and businesses using a model I call genuine wealth. The book contains examples of how genuine wealth is being developed all over the world from Edmonton to Innsbruck to Beijing. The genuine wealth model is a new approach to measuring and reporting on the conditions of well-being that matter most to people’s quality of life and to a sustainable world.
My Teaching on Happiness, Well-being and Corporate Social Responsibility
Between 2002 and 2012 I served my students as an Adjunct Professor at the University of Alberta, School of Business in teaching about the economics of happiness, corporate social responsibility (CSR) and social entrpreneurship. My MBA and business students are now equipped with the practical skills to build the new flourishing economy of well-being .
I am also one of the founding faculty members (2003) of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute in Washington state where I taught ecological economics; BGI was the first sustainability MBA program in US with a goal to: “integrate the wisdom of sustainability, ethics, and social responsibility into business practice via management education and research .business sustainability, ethics and corporate social responsibility”.
Between 1999-2009, I have served as a Senior Fellow with the Oakland-based economic policy think-tank, Redefining Progress. In 1999, along with economic journalist Jonathan Rowe, I completed the update to the U.S. Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI): a new measure of progress that accounts for the regrettable social and environmental depreciation costs that are otherwise treated as “growth” or as a benefit in the key economic performance statistic, the GDP (gross domestic product).
I served as President of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics (CANSEE) between 2003-05. I am an associate with the International Institute for Sustainable Development (WInnipeg) and a founding Board member of the International Sustainability Indicators Network (ISIN). In 2001, I served as advisor and contributing author to the Sustainability Reporting Guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) that now help businesses, worldwide, develop corporate sustainability and “triple-bottom-line” (economic-social-environmental) reports.
Some of My Best Work
Some of my professional highlights include updating the US Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) in 1999 while serving as Senior Fellow with the San Francisco-based economic think-tank, Redefining Progress. Working on the GPI, a new measure of economic progress and alternative to the GDP (gross domestic product), has been on of the most rewarding pieces of work in my economics career.
In 1999 I envisioned, created and served as the Executive Director of the Performance Measurement and Management applied research think-tank at the University of Alberta’s School of Business with a mission of advancing GPI-accounting methods in Canada.
One of my most rewarding projects was the completion of a Genuine Wealth Indicators framework for the Inuit of Nunvat in Canada’s eastern Arctic; the first genuine wealth measurement system for First Nations that aligns First Nation values with First Nation indicators of economic, social and environmental well-being.
In 2000, I co-authored a piece of Finance Minister Paul Martin’s 2000 Budget that dedicated $9 million over three years to the development of Canada’s first environment and sustainable development indicators, released in May of 2003. For those three years I sat on the National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (NRTEE) guiding the project. I was instrumental in shaping the NRTEE’s recommendation that the Government of Canada expand the System of National Accounts (from which GDP is derived) to include more detailed information on natural, human and, over time, social capital. If implemented, this would make Canada the first nation in the world to adopt a total capital accounting system that could measure the overall sustainability of the nation.
In 2001 I led a team of economists at the Pembina Institute (an Alberta-based environmental think-tank) in developing a prototype sustainability measurement system for the province of Alberta called Alberta Genuine Progress Indicators (GPI) Sustainable Well-being Accounting System. This comprehensive sustainability accounting exercise included 30 technical reports (see Publications) that tracked the sustainable progress of 51 key economic, social and environmental indicators from 1961-1999. Prior to the Alberta GPI study, in 2000 I led another Pembina research study to develop a prototype sustainability accounting framework for the Yukon called “The Sustainable Progress Indicators” to measure the sustainability of Yukon’s economy, environment and society.
Then in 2003 to 2006 I was asked to serve as a senior economic advisor to China in the development of a Green-GDP estimate for China (the first in the world) and the development of their Xiaokang Society Indicators of well-being. These indicators would be used to evaluate the economic, social and environmental well-being conditions and performance of every municipal government in China. Remarkably, the word ‘xiaokang’ is a Confucian term which literally means ‘well-being.’
Where I live
My family and I try to live a sustainable and flourishing life-style in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.