…for operating in line with the 9 domains of Gross National Happiness

Bhutan Power Corporation Limited (BPC), Bank of Bhutan Limited (BoBL) and Bhutan Telecom Limited (BTL), three State-owned enterprises, were awarded the GNH of Business Certificate yesterday.

Their operations were found aligned with nine domains of GNH and the values were incorporated into the businesses.

The Board of Directors for GNH Certification certified the companies following almost a month-long assessment for each company using assessment tools developed by the Centre for Bhutan and GNH Studies. The companies had volunteered to be assessed.

The BPC that was assessed in June 2021 received four out of five stars. Both BoB and BTL, assessed in 2019 received three stars as their businesses were moderately aligned with the GNH Values. The Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering awarded the certificates that will be valid for two years.

Few companies that were assessed could not meet the GNH alignment assessment score.

GNH of Business 

The GNH of business is derived from the principles of the GNH Index.

Emphasising the importance of business indicators used in gauging their success or failure, the idea is to move towards measuring the success or failure of a business using the GNH metric.

This, according to GNH of Business Assessment Tool for GNH Certification, meant requiring businesses to incorporate non-economic indicators encompassing aspects such as employees’ job satisfaction, contribution to the community, and environmental conservation efforts.

GNH of Business is an idea of operating a business with sensitivity towards social, cultural, economic, and environmental issues and relying on holistic wellbeing measures for its performance.

The assessment tools also assess a business’ effort to integrate GNH values into its operations and practices. The tool is based on the nine-domain framework of GNH Studies and 46 indicators.

The nine domains are psychological well-being, time use and balance, cultural diversity, ecological resilience, community vitality, good governance, education, health, and living standards.

The GNH of Business Assessment 

To emphasise the importance of wellbeing of both employees and communities in which a business operates, the tool assesses the most important components across nine domains—worker happiness and the organisation’s commitment to happiness.

The assessment evaluates wellbeing of workers and the organisation’s commitment to happiness captures how a commitment to GNH is reflected in a business’s daily operations and practices.

Based on the nine domains and various indicators, some of the assessments were job satisfaction, workplace trust, workplace discrimination and harassment, work overload, and sleeping hours.

Some of the assessments also include training opportunities provided, support for cultural preservation and promotion, corporate volunteering, corporate donation, and local employment.

The renewable energy use, energy conservation, emission control, solid and liquid waste controls are also assessed.

CBS and GNH Studies, Chief Research Officer Karma Wangdi said that any business entity or profit-making company could apply for GNH of Business certification.

“The company would be eligible for certification only if they score above 50,” he said adding that they can reapply for assessment.

Karma Wangdi said that the data was collected using a structured survey questionnaire through face-to-face interviews. Three waves of large-scale GNH surveys were conducted.

“The benefit of the certificate would be to promote the company,” he said. “We plan to propose the government to incentivise or provide tax benefits to such companies to motivate them to come forward for assessment.”

Contributed by  Yangchen C Rinzin 

Kuensel Research Fellow 

Centre for Bhutan  and GHN Studies