By Lisa Hough-Stewart

Last week WEAll was delighted to partner with Thomson Reuters Foundation to deliver a lunch event on wellbeing economics as part of their flagship Trust Conference in London.

Energy and ideas were flowing as a packed room full of leaders from the worlds of business, development and philanthropy (and beyond) discussed how we can better work together to transform the economic system.

WEAll Executive Chair Stewart Wallis inspired participants with a short introduction, explaining that “he’s been trying to change the world for a long time” and that what he had learned from over 50 years of work was that:

“Where a cause is both just & urgent, and we collaborate across barriers, it’s possible to achieve the seemingly impossible”

After Stewart outlined what the vision of a wellbeing economy looked like, participants round the table shared their dreams for what would change in the next ten years to help bring this about. Some named equality for all; others talked about decision making and monetary flows being based on solutions not problems; and we shared ideas about bringing all voices to the conversation and changing power structures.

It was clear that the vision for the world we want to live in is rich and shared by many – how we get there is less clear. This is where WEAll comes in – and Stewart invited everyone to participate as members or in some other capacity with our work.

The event was a great starting point for new ideas and relationships, and we are excited to build on this strong beginning.

It came as part of the two-day Trust Conference, which showcased innovative examples of pioneering business practices around the world and explored solutions to human rights challenges.

One highlight was a celebration of the Wellbeing Economy Governments partnership, with video clips of leaders Nicola Sturgeon of Scotland, Jacinda Ardern of New Zealand and Katrin Jakobsdottir of Iceland helping raise awareness of this important project.

I was personally incredibly impressed with two businesses in particular that we heard about: Nik’s Fudo in Geneva makes feminist economics a reality, providing business opportunities to migrant women enabling them to share their cooking skills and amazing food. Annie Cannons in the Bay Area trains and employs survivors of human trafficking in their cutting edge coding and tech company.

Both of these examples give me hope that innovation, entrepreneurial spirit, feminism and kindness can come together to support the type of future businesses that should one day be the norm. This is a wellbeing economy in action.

Wellbeing economics featured prominently in media coverage of the event, with Nicola Sturgeon’s TED talk being quoted:
“The goal of economic policy should be collective wellbeing: how happy and healthy a population is, not just how wealthy a population is.”

By Samantha Kagan

Those who follow the development and proliferation of wellbeing economics are likely already aware that earlier this year, New Zealand became the first country to reorient its national budget and decision-making framework to centre on wellbeing expansion, rather than on GDP growth. The shift was momentous, and it was executed with the intent from the Government of improving its service to citizens. Minister of Finance Hon Grant Robertson claimed in his speech introducing the new approach that “The things that New Zealanders valued were not being sufficiently valued by the Government”, and this was leading to outcomes undesired by citizens.[1] However, he relayed confidence that implementing the new wellbeing framework would rectify previous missteps and improve outcomes delivered by government. The new approach was well-intentioned, but little evidence existed to support the notion that citizens are more satisfied with a government that pursues wellbeing expansion over one that focuses on GDP growth. I conducted a study to investigate this assumption, and I found evidence that the Minister, in fact, was correct: in New Zealand, citizens are more likely to regard the government highly when wellbeing expands, rather than when GDP grows.

I came to this conclusion using two complementary methods of analysis. First, I examined correlations between GDP and satisfaction with the government’s performance, then between wellbeing and the same measure. I found a tendency for government satisfaction to move more closely with wellbeing factors than it does with GDP level or GDP growth rate. Next, I distributed surveys to New Zealanders that pitted hypothetical policies against one another and asked participants to indicate which option they would support. One policy would grow GDP, while the other would expand wellbeing, and results showed a preference for the latter.

The findings of my study are encouraging, as they suggest leaders in New Zealand acted rationally by shifting government priorities to focus on wellbeing. The objective for adopting this scheme was to improve satisfaction among citizens, and it appears that the strategy was well-calculated. According to Adam Smith, the value of any government is judged in proportion to the extent that it makes citizens happy.[2] Leaders in New Zealand improved their performance in this sense and have good reason to claim victory.

In other nations where government satisfaction is a concern, leaders would be sensible to consider launching a response like New Zealand’s. In Iceland and Scotland, such action is already underway, as each country’s government has introduced a plan to comprehensively restructure its framework.[3] In Britain, although the proposal is yet to be approved, individual policymakers are pushing for wellbeing to take precedence over GDP in government decision making.[4] Examples set by these countries and findings like those in this study should motivate policymakers to contemplate pivoting toward wellbeing to earn more satisfied citizens.

While improving contentment of citizens is itself a valuable objective, the findings of my study also have important implications for policy options available to legislators. Traditionally, policymakers are bound by the paramount goal of GDP expansion. If an otherwise sensible policy appears to threaten growth, it is usually denounced for precisely that reason. This study suggests when a policy is generally constructive, the fact that it may hurt growth should not lead to its automatic dismissal, and if the policy will enhance wellbeing, then it should be given serious consideration. In response to issues like the climate crisis or worsening mental health conditions, the most effective solutions may not be those most conducive to growth. They may even diminish GDP. This study, however, suggests that the public would prefer policies that sacrifice growth in the name of wellbeing, rather than forego wellbeing to consistently safeguard growth. Therefore, policymakers should feel encouraged to maintain a level of indifference toward GDP while observing wellbeing as the primary measure of their legislative success. A new range of policies will become available to them, and citizens will likely become more satisfied as a result.

Samantha Kagan from LSE with a distinction in Inequalities and Social Science. This blog summarises the findings of her dissertation: “Satisfied citizens: how GDP growth and wellbeing expansion relate to government satisfaction”

[1] Robertson, G. (2019) ‘Budget Speech’. New Zealand Government. Available at: https://www.budget.govt.nz/budget/pdfs/speech/b19-speech.pdf (Accessed: 25 June 2019).

[2] Smith, A. (1976) The Theory of Moral Sentiments. Oxford University Press.

[3] WEGo: Wellbeing Economy Governments (2019). Available at: http://wellbeingeconomygovs.org/ (Accessed: 7 July 2019).

[4] Partington, R. (2019) ‘Wellbeing should replace growth as “main aim of UK spending”’, The Guardian, 24 May. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2019/may/24/wellbeing-should-replace-growth-as-main-aim-of-uk-spending (Accessed: 7 August 2019).

By Katherine Trebeck, WEAll Knowledge and Policy lead

Ideas can change the world. And misplaced ones can hold back progress. Myths and half truths about economics influence decision making across government and in business, and there are fundamental flaws in how economics is invariably taught.

To build an alternative and underpin the transition to a wellbeing economy, we need a strong and coherent knowledge and evidence base. Much is already known about what policies and ways of doing things need to change to change the world. But the theoretical base is disparate and would-be practitioners lack useful guidelines for implementation. The knowledge is scattered and often inaccessible.

So, what’s WEAll doing?

WEAll – via the Knowledge and Policy cluster – is helping bring together and promote wellbeing economy theory and practice.

We’ve been producing a diverse suite of knowledge products accessible to all sorts of practitioners, policy makers, and interested individuals.

We’ve gathered some of the most exciting and well-regarded thinkers on aspects of a wellbeing economy in a WEAll Research Fellows Network. Their work explores all corners of a wellbeing economy. They will contribute to the various publications WEAll is curating. Their expertise will be drawn on to help practitioners and politicians seeking to create a wellbeing economy.

We’re developing plans for an online interactive library. Interested people will be able to find their way to the most useful material for their interests, needs, and level of awareness.

We’re commissioning synthesis of the current state of the knowledge base in various areas of a wellbeing economy in our series ‘WEAll Ideas: Little Summaries of Big Issues’.

We’ve outlined how the wellbeing economy would deal with and respond to a range of issues, topics and challenges (and how this differs to the response of the current system). This provides an ‘at a glance’ insight into a wellbeing economy (see wellbeingeconomy.org/oldwaynewway).

We’ve published dozens of blogs, authored papers and articles for a range of outlets and even some books. We’ve also given media interviews; recorded many podcasts; and given presentations in many different countries to a range of audiences. You can see these featured in the WEAll news updates.

We’ve been active in policy influencing – speaking at All Party Parliamentary Groups and holding meetings with civil servants and members of parliament.

Leadership built on ideas

And of course WEAll instigated the Wellbeing Economy Governments partnership that was the ‘big idea’ at the centre of Nicola Sturgeon, the First Minister of Scotland’s 2019 TED talk. We have ongoing liaison with the civil servants leading this work and are supporting the engagement of additional members.

Without the ideas, energy, guidance, expertise of our members, this work would be slow going. Instead it has momentum and ambitious plans.

With your help, we can build on our strong start and sustain this work to build solid roots for the wellbeing economy movement.

 

Right now, WEAll is running our #WEAllGive fundraising drive so we can keep broadening the movement and developing the knowledge required to drive change.

Donate today to help make it happen.

By Isabel Nuesse

On October 10th, WEAll Scotland held an event in Edinburgh in collaboration with Baillie Gifford and the Global Ethical Finance Initiative.

“The transition to a sustainable economic system: what’s the role of finance?” raised questions of the future of finance and how the sector can adapt to the challenges of the 21st century. The speakers were Frank Dixon of Global Systems Change, Jessica Runicles of Business in the Community and Andrew Cave of Ballie Gifford, hosted by WEAll’s Lisa Hough-Stewart.

Frank Dixon presented his concept of System Change Investing (click to download PDF) as a proposal for an approach the finance sector could take, modelled on his extensive experience developing SRI frameworks. He questioned, what if the finance sector applied the rule of law (“do no harm to others”) to their thinking? How would that effect the systems that make up the sector as well as the investments that are made inside it? He argued that investing in systems change is the most important action needed to solve climate change and address the Sustainable Development Goals.

The conversation then evolved into speaking about the role of business in environmental and social governance. Jessica Runicles emphasised how important it is for financiers to educate businesses on their opportunities to become more responsible. While explaining the Responsible Business Map she talked of some challenges she has with businesses not grasping the profitable opportunities better business can present.

Our final speaker was  Andrew Cave from Baillie Gifford who had the audience watch this video, “Corporate Scandals that Changed the Course of Capitalism.” He spoke about Baillie Gifford’s long term investment and engagement strategies and their new communications approach which emphasises the need for investors to “help shape the new world – not just shore up the old one”.

After the speakers presented, we had a panel discussion where the audience was able to ask questions. It was clear that education is a huge missing piece in elevating the role of finance in society. It was discussed that radical transparency is also necessary to increase the understanding of how the finance sector works and more specifically, how individuals and business can take more aggressive steps to move money into more socially responsible initiatives. The event provided a valuable opportunity for finance professionals and other interested attendees to share their challenges in creating change openly and honestly, and it was the start of a valuable conversation that WEAll will continue to drive forward.

Follow @WEAll_Scotland to find out about other upcoming events in Scotland. If you’re interested in getting involved with WEAll’s work on finance within Scotland contact us here.

 

The OECD has convening power. It has influencing power. And it has the power of its policy advice. It can prescribe changes that are listened to the same way a patient listens to their doctors advice.

So when the OECD’s regular gatherings on measuring wellbeing and shaping policy show signs of moving away from the cosy ‘GDP and beyond’ mantra and the non-system-challenging focus on treatment, then it is worth taking notice.

There’s a new regime in town.

In Paris over one hundred people spent two days hearing from the governments leading the effort to embed a focus on wellbeing into policy agenda. By the end, people were joking that the audience must have ‘framework fatigue’.

Diverse governments, from the UAE to Iceland, from Scotland to Jersey, from France to New Zealand, from Finland to Paraguay set out their efforts to shape policy-making – and, crucially – budgeting, in accordance with promotion and enabling of wellbeing. Discussion was about taking this seriously, changing planning and spending accordingly: the OECD Secretary-General told the audience that: “if it ain’t in the budget, it ain’t really a priority”.

Tensions between different conceptions of wellbeing were, thank goodness, not swept under the carpet as they often are in such discussions. People recognised that a focus on multidimensional wellbeing and the drivers of wellbeing was not the same as rallying around a single number measuring subjective self-reported wellbeing.

But what is done with any measure matters: Professor Jeff Sachs warned that looking at narrow measures means narrow perspective: “the stock market rising”, he said “but US life expectancy is falling, [the US has a] suicide and opioid epidemic – our country is in crisis, but we don’t know it’s a crisis because we don’t look at the right data; this question is not even asked”.

Speaking of drugs, Sachs (channelling WEAll Ambassador Robert Costanza) likened the prevailing money and growth focus to an addiction: “making money is addictive and we have an addiction”. This was reinforced by Martine Durand, OECD Chief Statistician and Director of the Statistics and Data Directorate who said “GDP was never meant to measure wellbeing; it’s been abused and now we’re addicted to it – need to go to a clinic to stop this addiction”. Fortunately, the doctors on duty are willing to look the patient in the eye and tell them some hard truths.

One of these is grappling with the need for both of the ‘two S.C.s’ as I described them. This first is a focus survival and coping – treating people whose wellbeing is low. This is, of course a humane response. It is also not enough in the face of an inhumane economy that is the root cause of so much anxiety and stress, to both people and to planet.

Hence the need for the second ‘S.C.’: system change that asks why people’s wellbeing is low and what changes in the economic set up need to be undertaken in response? Gabriela Ramos, OECD Chief of Staff challenged delegates to think beyond celebration of amelioration: “Even the existence of social safety nets tells us people are falling and we need to catch them. But how do we keep them from falling?”

In terms of system change, there was also a frank discussion about the relevance of a growth orientated agenda in the richest countries. Of course ecological economists and others have been questioning this for years, but to have senior members of the policy making establishment state that growth doesn’t matter for quality of life in GDP-rich countries (asserting it is “irrelevant for rich country’s wellbeing”) and to even question why the OECD would maintain a programme under the heading of ‘Inclusive Growth’ seemed to be a new high point for the post-growth conversation.

Finally, an impatience with the disconnect between what the wellbeing community has been measuring and saying for years and slow progress in shifting the economic agenda was apparent. Angel Gurría, OECD Secretary-General, opened the conference by saying the world is “well past the point when a lack of data is an excuse – [now the] need is to rationalise and choose and targets which are the relevant indicators”.

If these two days were a heartening stock-take on the state of the debate on wellbeing measures and policy agendas, their timing was just as useful: Finland is currently President of the EU and has made the ‘economy of wellbeing’ it’s flagship agenda. At times, the Finnish contribution seemed a little out of place, better suited to a gathering 5 years ago in that it emphasised the business case for wellbeing and asserting that if governments boost wellbeing that will boost growth. Fortunately, if the rest of the OECD conference was anything to go by, the thinking has moved on and the question is now “what can growth do for wellbeing?”. Not the other way around.

By Katherine Trebeck, WEAll Knowledge and Policy lead

Anna Chrysopoulou is a volunteer with WEAll Scotland – she has written this blog to mark Challenge Poverty Week 2019.

“What does economic growth, measured by GDP[1], tell us about essential issues such as poverty and social inequalities?

Technically nothing. As long as the economy is growing in terms of production and consumption, the country is considered successful. When it comes to the distribution of wealth, are we still successful when poverty and social discontent are rising?

Having a job and yet struggling financially

Although GDP ignores factors such as pay gaps, unpaid work and inequalities, what it does measure is paid work. What if employment does not guarantee the route out of poverty?

Working or in-work poverty, which describes households who live in relative poverty even though someone in the household is in paid work, is a rising issue. The Scottish Government in 2015 issued a report which proved that the majority of working-age adults (52%) in Scotland are in ‘in-work’ poverty, and this figure has been gradually increasing. Indeed, in 2017/2018, working poverty increased to 60% (representing 390,000 working-age adults after housing costs), which means that more people are locked in daily struggle.

Let’ s add now to the conversation social inequalities. Our economy creates powerful currents that could easily pull any of us into poverty.

Women, ethnic minorities and disabled people are more at risk of poverty

Poverty in Scotland has a female face; women are more likely to be living in poverty compared to men. In 2015-2018, the poverty rate for single working-age women was higher than for single adult men, whether they had dependent children or not.  The same relation is found to pensioners, as the relative poverty rate is higher for single female pensioners than male. Apart from the pay gap, one of the reasons for this difference is that women are the majority of low paid workers, due to what is usually considered “women’s work”, such as cleaning, care and retail, being underrated in the labour market.

These figures follow a global trend which shows that it is harder for women to escape poverty. And of course, not to mention unpaid work, such as childcare and housework, which is not even taken into account. According to Oxfam, women do at least twice as much unpaid care work than men, with an estimated global value of $10 trillion, equivalent to one-eighth of the world’s entire GDP.

Social inequalities appear in terms of race and disability, as well. Relative poverty rates are higher where a family member is disabled[2] and are also higher for ethnic minorities. People from minority ethnic (non-white) groups are more likely to be in relative poverty from the ‘White- British’ group. A report in 2017 revealed that poverty in BME[3] communities is twice that of white communities, which is even worse for BME women as they are more affected by austerity. Unemployment levels in many ethnic groups, which is strongly related to poverty and is holding people down, are also higher than most of the Scottish population.

So when we aim to tackle poverty, inequalities ought to  be considered thoroughly and comprehensively.

This evidence demonstrates that we cannot measure everything using economic growth and a monetary system. Living in poverty cannot be described only with numbers. It affects all aspects of one’s life, including those such as mental health that are not measured and therefore, are ignored.

For this reason, it is vital to redesign our current narrow economic system, which keeps failing to show the big picture and focus on people’s wellbeing rather than the economy itself. Scotland could lead the way on that.

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s First Minister, stated in her recent TED talk that “the objective of economic policy should be collective well-being. What we choose to measure as a country matters. It matters because it drives political focus and public activity”.

A wellbeing economy that places people and the planet first is necessary.  This wellbeing economy could be the solution for poverty and social injustice. It is based on the creation of a society that accounts for nature, distribution of resources and better quality of life for everyone. It aims at social, economic and environmental justice and suggests alternative business models, like the employee ownership model that as Sarah Deas, board member of WEAll and former director of CDS, explained: “fosters ‘predistribution’ of wealth with employees,  while companies perform well in terms of productivity, inclusion and innovation”.

And as Katherine Trebeck and Jeremy Williams argued in their book The Economics of Arrival “Growth up to a certain point is important- and countries and people below their respective threshold points need more of it, as long as it is good quality and distributed well. After that point, however, societies need to become better at focusing on the quality of the economy instead of its size. Bricks and mortar are the material foundations of a house, but they are not what constitutes the warmth, welcome and comfort of a home- that stems from relationships, security and personalisation”[4].

Maybe this exactly how we should think of our economy.”

 

References

[1] GDP: Gross Domestic Product which measures the total value of all goods made, and services provided, during a specific period of time.

[2] Since 2012/2013, disabled people are identified as those who report any physical or mental health condition(s) that last or are expected to last 12 months or more, and which limit their ability to carry out day-to-day activities

[3] Black and Minority Ethnic

[4] Trebeck, K. and Williams, J. (2019). The Economics of Arrival. 1st ed. Bristol: Policy Press, p.71.

Sam Butler-Sloss, who is leading the emerging WEAll Youth group in Scotland, has written a powerful piece in today’s Independent.

In his opinion piece, “Criticise the climate strikers if you like. In five years we’ll all be at the ballot box and the world will change”, Sam makes a strong case for economic system change and advocates for the strength and power of young people in driving change.

Read Sam’s piece on the Independent site here.

As world leaders met at the UN this week, a small country was making a big decision about its approach to tackling climate change.

On 25 September, the Scottish Parliament voted to approve an ambitious new Climate Bill. With a target of net-zero emissions by 2045, the Bill stretches Scotland further than the UK as a whole and sets it apart as a world-leader in terms of targets. The 2045 target is legally-binding, meaning any remaining emissions would have to be entirely offset with measures such as increased tree planting and carbon capture and storage technology. In addition the bill sets a target to reduce 75% of greenhouse emissions by 2030 (on 1990 levels)

Úna Bartley, Director of WEAll Scotland said, “These new targets are to be welcomed and celebrated, especially given the role of civil society in driving up ambition in the bill’s final stage. However, setting targets is only the beginning; the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government must now take swift and bold action to drastically reduce emissions and ensure a just transition to a wellbeing economy begins as soon as possible.”

The bill also incorporates the UNFCCC principles, and a statutory duty to regularly report on Scotland’s consumption emissions, In addition, the bill pledges to hold Citizens Assemblies, which is a very exciting step towards more democratic ownership of climate policy and action. WEAll Scotland looks forward to engaging in these Assemblies, sharing ideas for economic transformation and helping connect our network to the Parliamentary process.

Scotland’s approach to climate change is a critical component of its contribution to the Wellbeing Economy Governments initiative. Nicola Sturgeon declared in her recent TED talk that in the context of climate emergency, “the argument for the case for a much broader definition of what it means to be successful as a country, as a society, is compelling, and increasingly so.”

Achieving Scotland’s new climate change ambitions in a way that is inclusive and sustainable simply will not be possible without a transformation of our economic system. Young people are taking to the streets (and many of us not-quite-so-young people are joining them) demanding system change: targets are not all that we are asking for. We need policies and incentives to drive a complete redesign of Scotland’s economy. Check out this blog series that WEAll edited for Bella Caledonia with some of the ideas to make that happen.

Next year Glasgow will host COP26, and all eyes will be on Scotland as the world reckons with its progress on climate change five years after the Paris Agreement. The meaningful work for Scotland to live up to its climate leadership ambitions starts now: Scotland is on its way to having a leadership story worth telling at the COP.

Image – Andrew Cowan, Scottish Parliament

This blog has been reposted from Happy City

Why is it that almost all the radical approaches to delivering a new economic vision are being led by women?

From Jacinda Ardern in New Zealand to Nicola Sturgeon in Scotland, there is a North-to-South shared agenda calling for wellbeing to be put at the heart of government thinking.

Here in the UK, of the five largest national parties, only the two led by women have come out in support of the fast growing ‘wellbeing economy movement’ that is challenging the foundation stones of our economic and social systems. In July this year, Caroline Lucas called on parliament to take seriously the urgent need to move ‘beyond GDP’ in our measures of progress and to better assess and prioritise the wellbeing of people and planet. Yesterday, Jo Swinson used her first party conference as leader to announce that the Liberal Democrats would introduce a Wellbeing Budget to tackle climate change and social inequality.

And this trend goes beyond the headline makers.

Having led a pioneering wellbeing economy organisation, Happy City, for the last 10 years, I have seen this pattern repeated at every level and around the world.  Within global organisations like OECD to national ones like ONS, it is women who are leading on the serious work being undertaken to challenge the central role of GDP as a reliable measure of societal progress.  NGOs and campaigning organisations, such as Wellbeing Economy AlliancePositive MoneyDoughnut Economics and New Economics Foundation, all have powerful female leadership blazing a trail for a new way to do policy and practice.

What began as a personal curiosity about an emerging pattern, is fast becoming a blindingly clear thread running through the wellbeing economy movement.

There is, however, a real risk that policy makers and the media may once again fall into the misogynistic pothole some of our current leaders seems to keep disappearing down.  Whenever ‘wellbeing’ or ‘happiness’ are mentioned it is usually alongside a slight snigger about anyone serious wasting their time thinking about such frivolities. The notion that suggesting a Minister for Happiness, or a Wellbeing Budget might be the action of a ‘big girls’ blouse’ is so far from the truth that our politicians, institutions and media giants need to catch up.

Increasingly, economic heavy-weights and leading environmentalists are pointing to wellbeing economics as the only way to address our current social and environmental crises.

This is no fluffy stuff.  It is one of the most urgent actions of our time, and women leaders need to be supported for their courage in stepping up and saying so.  I for one, am with them every step of the way.

Liz Zeidler

Co Founder and Chief Executive

Happy City

WEAll Scotland is excited to be collaborating with the innovative Take One Action Film Festivals on one of their Edinburgh events this month.

On Monday 23 September, WEAll Scotland Chair Doreen Grove will be a panellist at the discussion following the screening of System Error at the Grassmarket Centre. Doreen will be joined by Claire Rampen of the 2050 Climate Group and Lisa Hough-Stewart of WEAll/Take One Action.

About the film

Director: Florian Opitz | Countries of production: Germany | Year: 2018 | Length: 95 min
Language: English, German with English subtitles | Age: 12+ years

As a central tenet of capitalism, the concept of growth dominates our politics, our economy, and our understanding of what makes the world go round. Yet the social fabric and nature itself are showing the strain of this constant drive for bigger and better at all costs.

Through candid conversations with staunch advocates of “business as usual” (finance journalists, multinational executives, lobbyists, traders and financiers such as former Trump communications officer Anthony Scaramucci, the self- proclaimed “artist of capital”), director Florian Opitz reveals the absurdities behind our current system – and asks if it may be time for a radical re-think.

Find out more – the event is free to attend

About Take One Action

This screening is just one of dozens taking place as part of the Take One Action Glasgow and Edinburgh Festivals between 18-28 September.

Take One Action nurtures communal exploration of the stories, ideas and questions at the heart of positive social change. Through film screenings, conversation and enquiry, we bring people together to inspire a fairer, more sustainable and more fulfilling world, in Scotland and beyond our borders.

Through debate and innovative presentation, our activities bring individuals, communities, campaigners, filmmakers, politicians, academics and artists together to explore the connections, systems and cultures underpinning social, cultural, environmental and economic inequality – and empowers them to envisage tangible action.

Their work is independent, values-driven, widely recognised for its artistic and social merits, and delivered through partnerships with a range of charities, grassroots groups and NGOs (including WEAll Scotland) who support local creativity, opportunity and action.

This year’s programme includes the latest film by acclaimed director Ken Loach ‘Sorry We Missed You;, screening in Glasgow and Edinburgh.

See the full programme and book tickets.

What are you willing to teach others in the WeALL network?

We all have amazing things to offer the wellbeing economy movement. And when we share what we have to offer, making change becomes easier for us all!

In this virtual event, community members come together to identify and exchange their knowledge, skills, resources and needs. Whether you are offering to share tips on beekeeping, a list of climate-change journalist contacts, or organize a zero-waste event, this is a fun and safe way to meet others in the Citizens community. You can share both personally and on behalf of an organisation. We will unearth the variety of talents and expertise that is at our fingertips. 

Join us Monday, August 19 at 12pm EST// 5pm UK  for the first WEAll Citizens Offers and Needs Market. 

The second event will be on Wednesday, September 4 at 2pm Perth (Australia)/7am UK.

These events are a free, fun and effective way to connect, get more comfortable expressing your offers and needs, and begin conversations with interesting people.

The events are presented as a partnership between WEAll and the Post Growth Institute. You can find out more about the Offers and Needs model here.



Click here to register on Monday, August 19 at 12pm EST//5pm UK 

Click here to register on Wednesday, September 4, 2pm Perth (Australia)//7am UK

 

 

 

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon delivered a TED Talk on why governments should prioritise wellbeing in their approaches to economics.

Saying that she is determined Scotland will be a country that helps influence the world to “put wellbeing at the heart of everything we do”, Sturgeon spoke about the Wellbeing Economy Governments partnership between Scotland, Iceland and New Zealand.

The audience applauded several times, including when  the First Minister spoke about the importance of female leadership, and when she said:

“Growth in GDP should not be pursued at any and all cost … The goal of economic policy should be collective well-being: how happy and healthy a population is, not just how wealthy a population is.”

Watch the talk here, and please share widely.

 

Photo Ryan Lash/TED

Wellbeing Economy Alliance (Scotland) – Volunteer recruitment

The Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll) is a new global collaboration of organisations, alliances, movements and individuals working together to change the economic system to create a wellbeing economy; one that delivers human and ecological wellbeing.

Scotland is a key player in the global movement for a wellbeing economy. Across Scotland, the purpose of the economy and the dominant model of growth is being reconsidered, with pioneering projects springing up within different sectors. WEAll (Scotland) will connect these initiatives, amplify narratives and create a safe space for government, businesses and society to question the current economic model and champion bold new policies. See https://wellbeingeconomy.org/scotland

We are seeking to recruit two new volunteers, to work with our small team and drive forward our work to support positive change.  Volunteers will be passionate about the need for economic system change, and will have a good understanding of the issues facing our economy, society and natural environment. These are exciting opportunities to support the establishment of a newly formed NGO. While this is a voluntary position all reasonable expenses incurred will be reimbursed.

  1. Events coordinator: The Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland is looking for an Events Co-ordinator to support us with the successful delivery of a range of events, from large one day conferences to smaller seminars. Download more information on the role and how to apply here.
  2. Executive assistant : The Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland is looking for an executive assistant to provide a range of administrative support functions for  our small but dedicated team.  Download more information on the role and how to apply here.

The closing date for applying for both roles is 6pm on Sunday 18 August. We anticipate holding interviews in Edinburgh on 28 August and in Glasgow on 29 August.

Reposted from Oxfam Scotland

Scotland is making mixed progress towards achieving the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, according to a unique new report by civil society organisations published last week.

On Target for 2030?’ assesses Scotland’s progress against the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by providing reviews on each goal, authored by expert organisations operating within each field in Scotland.

The UK and Scottish governments are completing their own national reviews, with these analyses expected to be released later this year. This report supplements these governmental reviews by capturing the independent assessments of a diverse range civil society stakeholders in Scotland working on issues as diverse as poverty, climate change, biodiversity, nutrition, equality, fair work, and education.

Co-ordinated by the UWS-Oxfam Partnership, in collaboration with the SDG Scotland Network, the report is believed to be the first such analysis in Scotland.

Organisations including the Child Poverty Action Group, Citizens Advice Scotland, the Fife Centre for Equalities, Girlguiding Scotland, the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, the Scottish Trades Union Congress and the Scottish International Development Alliance all provide commentaries on progress and outline what Scotland still needs to do to reach each Goal by 2030.

The SDGs were adopted by the 190 countries making up the United Nations in 2015 to create a healthy planet for current and future generations and for a world free from poverty, injustice and discrimination – while leaving no-one behind. The goals are universal in nature and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon made Scotland one of the first countries to pledge to deliver them in 2015.

A clear thread that runs through many of the contributions in ‘On Target for 2030?’ is that the negative effects of slow progress on the goals are felt disproportionately by low-income households. This undermines the cross-cutting commitment of all SDGs to ‘leave no-one behind’.

The editors of the report want to contribute to renewed pressure to meet these goals for governments, as well as amongst businesses and civil society itself. They say that improving progress is not just the responsibility of government, action is needed especially from business and the third sector, as well as individuals, in order for Scotland to fulfil its 2030 commitments.

Dr Hartwig Pautz, from the UWS-Oxfam Partnership, said: “This snapshot review is the first of its kind in Scotland. It brings together experts on every one of the goals for an honest assessment of where Scotland is and what we need to do to get on target for 2030, in their own words.

“While the individual assessments, put forward by a very diverse range of civil society organisations, show that there is clear policy and political commitment on many of these goals, more needs to be done to actually achieve them.

“The report shows that poverty and inequality are common issues with regards to many of the SDGs, and making progress on them will be essential to ensure we can achieve sustainable development.

Rhiannon Sims, Policy and Research Adviser, Oxfam Scotland, said: “The Sustainable Development Goals will only succeed if every country signed up to them puts in place the measures needed to drive change. Whilst there is clear policy commitment in Scotland, more needs to be done to achieve the 2030 vision.

“Governments have a big role to play, but achieving this ambition is not just a responsibility for government, it also for businesses and civil society itself to contribute to this shared agenda.

“The action needed to achieve the goals by 2030 is not unrealistic or impossible. We hope that leaders at every level can use this report to redouble Scotland’s commitments to make the world free from poverty, injustice and discrimination.”

Paul Bradley, Project Coordinator, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, said: “Scotland’s charities and wider civil society organisations have provided expert insight into where Scotland is on the SDGs and what we still need to do as a nation.

“Meeting these goals for 2030 is not just up to politicians, it is a responsibility for all of us and this report shows that work is being done in communities by organisations up and down Scotland.”

· Report available at: http://uwsoxfampartnership.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/On-Target-July-2019-Web-FINAL.pdf
· Sturgeon commitment: https://news.gov.scot/news/leading-the-way-in-tackling-inequality.
· The UWS-Oxfam Partnership has operated, since 2011, as a formally established relationship between the University of the West of Scotland and Oxfam Scotland. It revolves around the development of Oxfam’s anti-poverty advocacy and campaigning in Scotland and seeks to contribute to a more equitable and sustainable Scotland.
· The SDG Scotland Network is a coalition of over 230+ people and organisations from across Scotland committed to making sure that the Global Goals for Sustainable Development become every Scot’s business.

Each month, the WEAll Amplification team (Amp team) shares what they’ve been working on, and their priorities for the coming month.

Find out more about our team members here 

 

Ana Gómez

What’s kept you busy in June?

  • Our team meeting together for the first time since last December
  • The confirmation of my attendance to Encuentro+B, the connections already made with Sistema B and the excitement of a bigger connection with Latin America
  • The interest and acceptance in New Zealand to establish a WEAll NZ Hub

June highlight:

  • Being in Scotland!

July priorities:

  • First call with key actors in NZ to start WEAll NZ Hub, along with the one in Canada and Costa Rica
  • Trying to get in touch with different movements and networks around the world to give WEAll more diversity and opportunities of collaboration about members
  • …and that I’ll be turning 46 on July 7th!

 

Lisa Hough-Stewart 

What’s kept you busy in June?

  • Continuing to develop WEAll Citizens – early users gave fantastic feedback via our survey, and we’re making changes based on this. Valuable connections are being made on the platform every day, which is exciting to see
  • Lots of great events in Scotland that I helped coordinate or was part of, including: WEAll Scotland’s first community engagement event in Mayfield, Midlothian in partnership with Oxfam; an event on feminist economics and new technologies in Easterhouse; a roundtable dinner with Deloitte and business leaders on wellbeing economies; a conference on narratives and framing with JRF
  • It feels like here in the UK, more and more interest in wellbeing economics is emerging. I was truly impressed by Ed Miliband’s podcast on the topic, and there have been APPG meetings about the wellbeing economy at Westminster as well as favourable motions passed at Edinburgh and Glasgow city councils. Change is in the air!

June highlight:

  • We’re all saying the same thing, but it was so important to have three days together as a team in Scotland. We managed to finish conversations about every single element of our strategy and work, and we really needed it!

July priorities:

  • Continuing to develop WEAll Citizens with a focus on strategic partnerships
  • A review and big update of both the WEAll website and our vision brochure, working with Frankie at the Equality Trust
  • I’ve taken over the coordination of the Narratives cluster from Katherine, and there’s lots of work to do in this space including pursuing funding opportunities
  • …outside of work, I’m helping organise – and performing in – the Encontro Street Band Festival in Glasgow (26-28 July), always the highlight of my summer!

 

Katherine Trebeck

What’s kept you busy in June?

  • Loads of activities promoting the WE agenda to external audiences – several talks in too many different cities, including opening the GIZ climate gathering in Berlin with a call to prioritise an economy that delivers collective wellbeing and speaking at Westminster to an All Party Parliamentary Group
  • Meeting several members or future in London – NESTA, the Rapid Transition Alliance, the Strategy and Communications Group
  • Hanging out with two important families – the Amp team and my Mum and Dad (but not at the same time)

June highlight:

  • Speaking with an amazing group of passionate community activists in the north west of England who are building a wellbeing economy agenda from the bottom up. Loads to be inspired by here, loads WEAll can do to help

July priorities:

  • Back in Scotland for loads of meetings with some Research Fellows and WEAll Scotland (including new Trustees!) and its allies.
  • Back in Berlin to work with Dirk Philipsen on some knowledge products, the resources hub project and meet some possible WEAll members
  • Protecting some time for finally diving deep into some writing and research

 

Stewart Wallis

What’s kept you busy in June?

  • Follow up calls and actions from April/May Fundraising trip to California
  • Wonderful Amp meeting in Strachur
  • Writing chapter on New Economic System for the Anthropocene for Lancaster University

June highlight:

  • Amp team Face to face meeting. It was highly productive and very supportive especially as I was not in Malaga – and also making contact with potential major philanthropic funding source

July priorities:

  •  Funder Follow up and submissions continued
  • Global Council planning and outreach
  • Contacting potential new members with Ana
  • Work on California and other US Hubs
  • Finalising chapter for Ecological Economics book

 

Michael Weatherhead

What’s kept you busy in June

  • Running a story telling session and workshop on the creation of alliances for the German government’s development agency
  • First meeting of Amp team in six months
  • Agreeing a plan for the development of the Alternative to Business as Usual Guide

June highlight:

  • Back to back meetings in London and Edinburgh on a strategy to engage businesses, society and politicians around the issue of short-termism

July priorities:

  • Start the ‘Alternative to Business as Usual Guide’
  • Prepare plans for Global Council to consider as regards WEAll’s future legal structure
  • Fundraising

This piece was originally posted by Enough

In 1983 President Reagan declared, ‘There are no great limits to growth because there are no limits to human intelligence, imagination and wonder’.

That was an era when students were striking against the risk of atomic war, when celebrities sang that aid and charity from the west would ‘feed the world’.

It was a time when the scientific community was building a strong evidence base about hydrofluorocarbons that resulted in political agreement (the ‘Montreal Protocol’) to eradicate their use in order to protect the ozone layer.

Today, some three decades on, thousands and thousands of students around the world are striking against the inadequate political response to the climate crisis.

Today, both celebrities and companies are being called out for tax evasion which undermines state budgets for health and education in the UK and around the world.

And the scientific community is not only warning against the 6th mass extinction, it’s building an evidence base that the link between economic growth and environmental impact is real. The recent Global Assessment pulled no punches in saying: ‘A key constituent of sustainable pathways is…steering away from the current limited paradigm of economic growth’.1

Only calling for our current economic system to be decarbonised ignore such biodiversity losses. They also ignore the evidence

  • That decoupling growth from carbon emissions is a case of buying things from overseas rather than at home (so it is recorded in another country’s carbon ledger)
  • That efficiency gains are liable to be partially offset by rebound (spent on other goods and services which themselves have a carbon footprint), and
  • That any decoupling is just too slow to be a solution.

This is the unfortunate reality for proponents of a technological saviour scenario or green growth (which, in a way, is the macroeconomic equivalent of greenwashing).

Community groups and scholars alike are also pointing to the mounting evidence that economic growth is not an automatic contributor to equality of opportunity, despite the claims of hundreds of economics text books and so many politicians in the UK and around the world.

How would such claims go down with communities in Scotland who haven’t seen many drips trickling their way from the growth in Scotland’s GDP in the decades since Reagan was President?

How would it sound to the people who have to turn to food banks after a shift at work because the economic activity on offer isn’t enabling them to feed their families?

How would it sound to the streets of Scotland where life expectancy is more than fifteen years below that of the rest of the population, where amenities are crumbling, and opportunity is restricted by deeply unequal outcomes?

And yet, in spite of such contemporary realities, thinking from the Reagan era lives on – on our airwaves, political debates, and even in our mindsets.

Just over 12 months ago, a report was published on behalf of the SNP and voted on at their 2019 spring conference, the product of the “Sustainable Growth Commission”.

The 354-page document contains some useful and progressive proposals – not least its framing of tax as an investment and welcoming the role of migrants in Scottish life.

But the very premise of the report has been inadequately discussed and the critique of it thus far has focused on Scotland’s currency post-independence, with even some of the currency arguments being framed according to their impact on GDP growth.

Turning the pages reveals that the report focuses on “sustainable” in the “perpetual” sense of the term, not the “taking into account environmental limits and so operating in a way to respect and regenerate the ecosystem” sense of the term.

The latter doesn’t make for such a catchy title, but the former sense and the agenda of the report itself needs to be re-examined in light of scientific consensus around climate change, youth outrage at political intransigence, and the failure of a growth-orientated model to deliver for enough communities in Scotland.

The Growth Commission points to New Zealand’s economy over the last decade or so as something to emulate, despite New Zealand’s concerted efforts to move away from its recent growth-ist orientation and instead build a wellbeing economy. As Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says:

people look [at our GDP] and say ‘you’re doing OK’. But we have homelessness at staggering rates, ones of the highest rates of youth suicide in the OECD and our mental health and wellbeing is not what it should be. We need to address the societal wellbeing of our nation, not just the economic wellbeing. 

These words could easily apply to Scotland. Instead of persisting with an economic model that our Kiwi friends are discarding, we should accompany them in imagining and creating an economy more suited to the environmental realities of our age and which does more to ensure the economy works for all, not just the privileged few.

And in many respects, Scotland is pioneering a new way, recognising that our economy can be one that is better than growth. They entail efforts to make the economy circular and businesses more inclusive. There is cross-party support for broadening the notion of national success towards a broader set of goals via the National Performance Framework and, just recently, a shift in the goal of Scottish Enterprise towards supporting businesses that deliver quality jobs, wellbeing and tackling inequality. And Scotland is showing leadership in convening the new Wellbeing Economy Governments (WEGo) initiative

Yet, despite these highlights, the Growth Commission sits alognside a long list of examples that illustrate ubiquity of the growth-ist mindset.

You see it in the almost ubiquitous talk of boosting Scotland’s productivity – without exploration of:

  • More of what (do we really need to churn out more things?)
  • Without recognition of the power imbalances in workplaces that so often mean productivity gains are captured by the owners of capital, with workers making do with the crumbs, and
  • Without discussion as to whether faster and faster is an appropriate goal for a post-industrial economy that could pride itself on services, on care, on craftmanship?

You read about the growth-ist mindset each time there is a news report that compares Scotland’s GDP to that of the UK or the OECD, every time a financial analyst makes predictions for the Scottish economy and all they consider are future GDP and simple employment numbers.

You see it in the business case being made for gender equality or addressing poverty (“it’s a drag on the economy”).

And you hear the growth-ist mindset every time we have a nice adjective stuck in front of growth: ‘inclusive’, ‘green’, ‘low carbon’, ‘shared’.

These at least concede that growth comes with environmental and social collateral damage. But these new ways of framing growth show our collective mind has been so tuned to growth, our imaginations so limited, that the best we can do is put an adjective in front of it.

Expanding our collective imagination to encompass the possibility and the necessity of a post-growth economy that serves people and planet requires updating Reagan’s quote for the 21st Century and using our limitless imaginations, wonder, and human intelligence to build an economy that is better than growth.

It means, to cite Gramsci, massively rejigging the ‘hegemony of the common sense’.

The Enough! Project is a vital much needed driver of that rejigging: multifaceted, grassroots focused, with eyes firmly on reframing the discussion and collaboration for change.

And the Enough! framing can be applied to the significant shifts needed in how things are discussed and done in Scotland:

  • Enough adhering to a 20th century model
  • Enough pitting environmental goals against social justice and employment
  • Enough of being content with downstream sticking plasters, important though they are
  • Enough tribalism when young people are deeply and rightly concerned about their future
  • Enough chasing for more and more as the solution to all our woes.

And enough of not recognising that while we have enough resources, we certainly don’t have enough of sharing and cherishing them.

Last month both Edinburgh and Glasgow City Councils passed motions on the value and importance of prioritising the shift to a wellbeing economy. WEAll Scotland is delighted at this recognition of wellbeing economics by Scotland’s two largest cities, and looks forward to working with both councils to support their efforts in this space.

Claire Miller, Green member of City of Edinburgh Council, was successful in June at getting agreement to look at wellbeing measures of economic activity. This was supported by the SNP, Labour and Lib Dem groups. The council has a five-year economy strategy which monitors a range of indicators, and has a fairly traditional approach to economics – a focus on growth. Claire’s work means these indicators can be reviewed, but it will rely on the advice and advocacy of people working on wellbeing economics, as the council wants to use external expertise on this subject. To get in involved in this, you can email Claire at c.miller@edinburgh.gov.uk

Councillor Miller’s motion in full:

Committee: “Notes the benefits of measuring economic success using wellbeing and the potential synergy of wellbeing measures with this Council’s economy strategy, which is to build inclusion, innovation and collaboration in the city’s economy.

Recognises the depth of expertise on wellbeing economics in Scotland, including Wellbeing Economy Governments policy labs and the Wellbeing Economy Alliance.

Calls on officers to identify ways in which wellbeing measures can be incorporated into and strengthen the economic aims of this Council, and to make recommendations to the relevant executive committee(s).

Notes, in addition, that the City Region Deal is a key driver of the regional economy for decades ahead and, within the evaluation framework for the City Region Deal, seeks opportunities to develop wellbeing measures of economic performance where it is possible for Edinburgh to influence its regional partners.”

In Glasgow, Green Councillor Jon Molyneux was also successful in raising a motion, as follows:

“Council notes that its strategic plan aims to support inclusive economic growth and understands that work is underway to develop ways of measuring and articulating that better. Council believes this work is urgent in light of the recent Poverty and Inequality Commission report which concluded that very little has changed in how the inclusive economic growth agenda is being delivered since it became national policy four years ago. 

Council understands there is growing consensus that GDP and other economic output measures are inherently inadequate due to their failure to reflect economic inequality, human wellbeing or environmental impacts, and their prioritisation of private riches over public wealth. Council commends the work of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance and others who are advancing alternatives to GDP and notes that New Zealand – one of the comparator economies for Scotland highlighted in the Growth Commission report – has started to embrace wellbeing economics and has published what has been described as the world’s first wellbeing budget. 

Council further understands that the climate and ecological crises highlight the urgent need for economies to adapt so they function within finite planetary limits. 

Council believes there is a compelling case to consider how concepts of wellbeing economics and degrowth can inform the city’s future economic strategy and therefore resolves to create a cross party working group to take evidence from appropriate experts and report back to an appropriate committee within the current calendar year.”

This piece was originally posted on CDS Scotland

It is ten years since I took up my role as director at Co-operative Development Scotland. As someone who is passionate about creating a progressive economy – one that delivers for people and planet – it has been a real privilege to lead CDS over the past decade. As I prepare to move on, I’ve been reflecting on what we’ve achieved.

Initially on the edge of the economic development agenda, co-operative models have shifted firmly to the mainstream. Thousands of businesses and individuals have benefited from the 290 consortium co-operatives, community co-operatives and employee-owned businesses established in Scotland over the past ten years.  We have seen a fivefold increase in employee ownership since we started promoting the model and the pace of take-up is accelerating.

This growth has led to Scotland being viewed as a pioneer in co-operative development, with many aspiring to echo our approach. Over the years, I have been invited to speak at a range of international events and forums, including in the co-operative heartlands of Italy and Spain. A true recognition of our success.

In 2018, the Ownership Effect Inquiry, an independent review into employee ownership’s impact on the economy, recommended that the UK Government replicate “Scotland’s successful scheme that has delivered a tenfold return on investment for every £1 devoted to on-the-ground support.”

There are a number of reasons behind Scotland’s success in this area. We’ve had exemplary support from the Scottish Government, which recognises the key role that co-operative models can play in delivering its economic goal of Inclusive Growth – a fairer economy which distributes wealth more widely and addresses inequalities.

An encouraging amount of cross party support has also led to increased dialogue around the models, with parliamentary debates on the importance of co-operatives and employee ownership to the Scottish economy. I have frequently been invited to contribute to meetings of the Economy, Jobs and Fair Work Committee (and its predecessors), where I’ve shared some of Scotland’s many success stories as evidence of the wider economic and societal benefits of co-operative working, bringing these to the forefront of the economic agenda.

The Scottish Government’s commitment to promoting co-operative models was further demonstrated with last year’s launch of ‘Scotland for EO’, an industry leadership group co-chaired by Jamie Hepburn, Minister for Business, Fair Work and Skills. Led by industry working in partnership with the public sector, it has a championing, influencing and facilitating role which aims to build and strengthen Scotland’s EO community. ‘Scotland for EO’ is built on the immense pride and passion displayed by Scotland’s employee owned businesses in endorsing the model over the years – hugely valued support which has been vital in effecting wider change.

Also key to the surge in awareness of co-operatives is the work of a dedicated team here at CDS, whose commitment and approach to promoting the models has been instrumental to their growth. From raising awareness among professional advisors to providing businesses with advice and financial support, the team is passionate to drive momentum. With the ongoing support of our colleagues at Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Business Gateway, we have continued to attract increasing demand for our services, and as I move on, there is a strong pipeline of businesses looking to adopt co-operative models, particularly EO.

While progress has been significant, there remains work to be done to reinforce the benefits of co-operative models, and the route they offer to a more equal economy. As I hand over the reins to my successor Clare Alexander, I feel very positive that our activity over the past ten years has paved the way for continued change.

With a wealth of experience in driving better business through workplace innovation, Clare is ideally positioned to fully maximise the opportunities, and further drive the uptake of co-operative models in line with the Scottish Government’s Inclusive Growth Strategy. With her belief that “business leaders should be predisposed to see the power of their people”, her values are synonymous with those of ‘Scotland for EO’. Her position on the board will see her working towards the group’s ambitious goals of increasing the number of employee-owned businesses in Scotland to 500 by 2030, and by 2040 to have created the best environment for EO businesses to thrive with Scotland having the highest density of EO businesses in the economy as a consequence.

Meanwhile, I plan to continue to promote inclusive approaches through the Wellbeing Economy Alliance – a new global collaboration of organisations, movements and individuals working together to change the economic system to one that delivers human and ecological wellbeing. I look forward to building on what we’ve achieved over the past ten years and continuing to promote co-operative and employee ownership models as a way of achieving a fair and inclusive society.

Lisa Hough-Stewart of the WEAll Amp team and WEAll Scotland team recently attended a community engagement event with Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, organised by Glasgow Council for the Voluntary Sector (GCVS).

This was a great opportunity for the Governor to hear how economic policies and realities are being felt by the most vulnerable people and communities in Glasgow, and for attendees to learn more about the purpose and work of the Bank of England. Lisa was pleasantly surprised to hear from Carney that the objective of the Bank is to “promote the good of the people” as well as his recognition that we are in times of serious change. It is encouraging that he is undertaking this series of community and citizen engagement events, which demonstrates a real willingness to understand the lived experiences of British people.

Lisa took part in a spirited table discussion with fellow charity/non-profit representatives, which covered basic income, lack of dignity in the welfare system, the lack of hope in our current system for people living in poverty, and the trend towards insecure work that fails to offer meaning and purpose.

Outgoing Chief Executive of GCVS Helen Macneil made powerful closing remarks touching on the need for economic system change:

“The UK has become stuck in trying to meet the needs of its people because we are using 19th  and 20th century thinking, systems, concepts in responding to 21st century issues. We’re not facing up to  21st century conditions – changing demography and its impact on people and communities; lack of social mobility; changes in the labour market; increasing social isolation; the impact of social media; and the wider digital revolution …and climate change.

We’re never going to address these effectively if we stay as we are – in silos and comfort zones. Our decision making is slow when it needs to be fast; our systems are clunky when they need to be flexible; our public institutions are risk averse and uncertain when they need to be solutions focused, confident and assured.”

Watch the summary video of the event below, including a clip of Lisa talking about WEAll, and read more here.

Wellbeing Economy Alliance (Scotland) – Volunteer recruitment

The Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll) is a new global collaboration of organisations, alliances, movements and individuals working together to change the economic system to create a wellbeing economy; one that delivers human and ecological wellbeing.

Scotland is a key player in the global movement for a wellbeing economy. Across Scotland, the purpose of the economy and the dominant model of growth is being reconsidered, with pioneering projects springing up within different sectors. WEAll (Scotland) will connect these initiatives, amplify narratives and create a safe space for government, businesses and society to question the current economic model and champion bold new policies. See https://wellbeingeconomy.org/scotland

We are seeking to recruit three new volunteers, to work with our small team and drive forward our work to support positive change.  Volunteers will be passionate about the need for economic system change, and will have a good understanding of the issues facing our economy, society and natural environment. These are exciting opportunities to support the establishment of a newly formed NGO. While this is a voluntary position all reasonable expenses incurred will be reimbursed.

  1. Events coordinator: The Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland is looking for an Events Co-ordinator to support us with the successful delivery of a range of events, from large one day conferences to smaller seminars. Download more information on the role and how to apply here.
  2. Administrator: The Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland is looking for an administrator to provide a range of administrative support functions for  our small but dedicated team.  Download more information on the role and how to apply here.
  3. Communications Assistant: The Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland is looking for a Communications Assistant to provide various communication functions for our small but dedicated team. Download more information on the role and how to apply here.

The closing date for applying for all three roles is 6pm on Sunday 30 June. We anticipate holding interviews in Edinburgh on Tuesday 9 July and in Glasgow on Wednesday 10 July.