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As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

What we learned at the Stories for Life Virtual Gathering – Green Economy Coalition

“What do stories and story-telling have to do with the daunting challenges we face in the coming century? Turns out, quite a lot.”

10 Real-life Prototypes for a Common Good Economy

Our new publication shows 10 international prototypes that illustrate how transformative change can happen on different levels:”

Guest column: Time for Canadians to redefine economic success

“What if we set our gaze on building an economy that delivered for more people, did so on a healthy planet and measured it all in a way that actually means something to people?”

Pay Equity Analysis Is a Critical Step to Advancing Racial Equity in Corporate America

“Corporate America has an opportunity and a responsibility to end these inequitable cycles. It begins with performing an audit to identify where racial wage gaps exist, then being transparent to help drive accountability, and finally doing the work to close the gaps”

Half-Earth or Whole-Earth? Green or transformative recovery? Where are the voices from the Global South?

“To succeed we need the Global North to shed its remnant colonialism and to acknowledge the central role of the Global South, both in the specific arena of conservation and in the wider paradigms of planetary wellbeing”

Climate Litigation as Climate Activism: What Works?

“In this briefing we examine this wave of post-Paris legal mobilisation. We discuss the who, why, how and what for, of this new wave of activity that has not been quietened by increased multilevel commitments to take steps to manage the climate crisis.”

Five key dimensions of post-growth business: Putting the pieces together – Jennifer Hinton

“The intention of developing this five-dimensions framework is to offer a more coherent and concrete theoretical basis for ongoing discussions about which types of business are compatible, or incompatible, with post-growth pathways.”

Can we legitimately say something? – Rabia Abrar

“Since my day job revolves around promoting the creation of a Wellbeing Economy, I could legitimately say something about this situation [events in the Occupied Palestinian Territories] if I can show how it is relevant to that. Let’s see…”

The Importance of Resource Security for Poverty Eradication – Global Footprint Network

“72% of the world population live in countries faced with a precarious situation. These countries both (1) run a biological resource deficit (where demand for biological resources exceeds regeneration) and (2) generate less than world-average income, limiting their ability to purchase resources from elsewhere.”

Public Banks and COVID-19

“Five overarching and promising lessons stand out: public banks have the potential to respond rapidly; to fulfill their public purpose mandates; to act boldly; to mobilize their existing institutional capacity; and to build on ‘public-public’ solidarity. In short, public banks are helping us navigate the tidal wave of Covid-19 at the same time as private
lenders are turning away.”

WEAll Publication: Health and the Environment

WEAll Scotland Report: Business and a Wellbeing Economy

How to achieve a ‘health renaissance’ – Social Europe

“First and foremost, recognise the health-environment nexus as the core of planetary health and evolve from cost-benefit analysis to recognition of ‘co-benefits’”

Job Openings & Opportunities

What to Watch

Listen Up

Upcoming Events

WEAll Originals  

Blogs:

Publications:

From the Archives

Simplifying complexity is one of the greatest challenges in understanding the practical implementation of a Wellbeing. Economy. Luckily, there are media producers, such as Broaden who champion the initiative. With their 11-minute video interviewing Simon Mair, an Ecological Economist, the video simplifies the complex nature of discussing the topic of economic systems change.

On June 2, WEAll hosted a Q&A discussion with Broaden (Bryony Simcox & George Webster), Simon Mair and Lukas Hardt around ecological economics, narratives, and the Wellbeing Economy.

The hour-long webinar first premiered the video with the audience, then opened the conversation up for discussion. You can watch the recording here:

One question that erose during the conversation was “How do you make a living in a way that embodies your ideals if they conflict with the dominant system?” Simon spoke of the power of the current economy in that it forces each of us to choose between meeting our basic needs – i.e. participating in the system – or choosing to make decisions that are more in line with our  values.  Noting the success of the current system to nearly  require us to participate in it. 

He carries on to say, “find a way to participate in the market, but find a way to do it to engage with the things that shift the balance of power within a workplace or a community.”

Bryony adds, “models and frameworks help us but we don’t have to adopt a single one. We are working toward the same goals with a slightly different framework and a slightly different model. We’re trying to erode the system, as opposed to completely overthrowing it.” 

 Later, Lukas spoke to frameworks and models and added, “There are  lots of different models and we don’t have to choose one. I think it’s very  encouraging  that a diversity of models are being taken up. And hopefully at some point it can lead to change at a higher level.”

This event was a beautiful collaboration of the WEAll Network supporting each others initiatives. If  you’re interested in hosting a session on your work, please reach out to Isabel <isabel@weall.org> to learn more.

Originally posted on Meta from European Environmental Bureau (EEB) here

Christian Felber is the author of books on economic reform. These include Change Everything: Creating an Economy for the Common GoodMoney: The New Rules of the Game, and Trading for Good: How Global Trade can Serve People not Money. He is a university lecturer and affiliate scholar at the IASS Potsdam in Germany. In addition, he is a contemporary dancer and performer.

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It may sound like a paradox but it is possible to grow the economy without raising GDP, if we widen the definition of the economy to take account of human wellbeing and nature, says Christian Felber, the founder of the Economy for the Common Good.

A fierce battle is raging around the role of growth in the economy. While critics, such as British economist Tim Jackson, are demanding degrowth or post-growth, neoclassical economists and political leaders seem to be addicted to growing the economy. Without growth, they fear that the capitalistic engine would grind to a halt and the economy die.

Nevertheless, four female prime ministers – of Iceland, Scotland, Finland and New Zealand – are officially seeking a more suitable successor to gross domestic product (GDP) for measuring wellbeing.

One reason why the debate is so entrenched is due to the ambiguity of the core concepts involved. Economics does not offer a clear and universally accepted definition of “welfare”, let alone what it means when it refers to the “economy”. As a consequence, it remains unclear what exactly is meant when we talk about “economic growth”, beyond the equating of GDP growth with economic growth.

Money doesn’t grow on trees

But what grows when GDP grows is not necessarily cereals, vegetables, food security, affordable housing, meaningful work, healthy ecosystems, or even love and peace. GDP growth is little more than an aggregation of market transactions measured in monetary terms, such as the production and sale of chocolate, airplanes, facility cleaning, business consultancy, weapons production, regardless of whether or not they contribute to human wellbeing and the health of the planet.

The reason why mainstream economists focus on GDP and neglect the economy is quite simple: GDP is straightforward to measure. It is mathematically exact. However, it has no direct link to the satisfaction of needs and general welfare, which is supposed to be the goal of the economy.

If we define the aim of the economy as the satisfaction of the basic needs of present and future generations, within the planet’s ecological boundaries, while respecting democratic and social values like dignity, solidarity and justice, then countless economic activities are not measured by GDP but contribute to the growth of the – so defined – economy and create value.

Examples include childcare and other unpaid work, clean rivers and forests, growing your own herbs and vegetables, strengthening communities and social security, and much more. All this creates real value for real humans, but it is not considered by market economists nor accounted for by GDP. Theoretically, GDP could be zero and all these needs met.

Values-added economies

This reflects how inadequate GDP is when it comes to measuring human wellbeing. But there are alternatives.

One example is the Economy for the Common Good, a term which I coined over a decade ago. This approach goes back to basics by first asking “What is the economy?”. It clarifies the goal of the economy as the satisfaction of human needs without degrading the foundations of life and respecting democratic values. It then adjusts economic indicators to measure these goals using a Common Good Product (CGP), instead of the more common GDP, the composition of which is defined democratically.

This could be done directly by the people through a citizens’ assembly or economic convention. People can submit their proposals for the most relevant facets to be measured to gauge quality of life, wellbeing for all and the common good. Of all these proposals, let’s say the top 20 are included in the final Common Good Product (CGP) or Index (CGI). The Common Good Index could be measured using neutral points rather than in monetary terms. Its result would be comparable both across time and place.

In the future, all decisions of economic and other policies could be evaluated and taken according to their contribution to the growth of the (common good) economy rather than GDP.

If, for instance, life is better with clean rivers, breathable air, enough bees and fertile soil, growing food using agroecology or permaculture might generate fewer dollars but the sum total of healthier and happier children and adults will boost our gross CGI. In addition, more cohesive communities might take care of each other more effectively than expensive and GDP-boosting personal care services to mitigate loneliness.

In the end, when we use CGI, it simply does not matter if GDP rises, shrinks or stagnates – this measure becomes irrelevant. What matters is the improvement of the economy, in the broad sense of the word, with people thriving, societies flourishing, democracy strengthened, and ecosystems made more resilient – all of which are reflected in a rising GCI.

Adherents of GDP growth as a goal of economic policy erred in three regards. Firstly, they present no precise definition of the economy beyond the value of monetary transactions. Secondly, they have no clearly defined goals for the economy. Thirdly, as consequence of the previous two failings, there is no precise methodology for measuring economic success.

And it gets worse. We know that GDP accounts positively for many destructive and harmful activities, including possibly the most damaging of all, the production of weapons and even wars. Giving positive value to negative activities is methodologically flawed.

A new kind of ‘green growth’

This highlights a deeper reason why ‘green growth’ falls short as a concept. Not only is there no empirical evidence that resource consumption can be decoupled in absolute terms from GDP growth, GDP encompasses many activities that destroy the social fabric and the foundations of life. However, green and internal growth is possible in the context of the Economy for the Common Good, which decouples and liberates human happiness and planetary health from the chains of GDP growth (see the new report ‘Towards a wellbeing economy that serves people and nature‘, produced by the EEB and Oxfam Germany in the context of the Climate of Change project).

A Common Good Index has other benefits too. In addition to conventional financial balance sheets, companies could start keeping a common good balance sheet, in which they report what and how much they contribute to the Common Good Index. Tax levels, freedom to trade and access to public procurement contracts could be linked to the CGI, providing companies with an incentive to bolster the common good.

As a result, the goods and services provided by sustainable and responsible businesses would become cheaper, while the products of irresponsible and polluting firms would become more expensive. This means that companies will no longer be able to gain a competitive advantage by externalising costs and the polluter will truly pay.

So far, almost 1,000 businesses and other organisations – including cities and universities – have conducted their first common good balance sheet. The alternative is spreading to ever more countries.

At the microlevel, banks, funds and stock markets would apply a common good assessment before they finance a project, fund or list a company. This will enable them to set fair terms and conditions: cheaper money for sustainable business activities and more expensive loans or none at all for less responsible actors.

The result of this interplay at the macro and micro levels would be a greener, more sustainable, inclusive, democratic, and resilient economy. As a side effect, everybody, not only economists, would finally know what we mean when we talk about “the economy” and “economic growth”. And nobody, except statisticians, would care if GDP grows, shrinks or remains steady.

As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

Half-Earth or Whole-Earth? Green or transformative recovery? Where are the voices from the Global South?

“To succeed we need the Global North to shed its remnant colonialism and to acknowledge the central role of the Global South, both in the specific arena of conservation and in the wider paradigms of planetary wellbeing”

Climate Litigation as Climate Activism: What Works?

“In this briefing we examine this wave of post-Paris legal mobilisation. We discuss the who, why, how and what for, of this new wave of activity that has not been quietened by increased multilevel commitments to take steps to manage the climate crisis.”

Five key dimensions of post-growth business: Putting the pieces together – Jennifer Hinton

“The intention of developing this five-dimensions framework is to offer a more coherent and concrete theoretical basis for ongoing discussions about which types of business are compatible, or incompatible, with post-growth pathways.”

Can we legitimately say something? – Rabia Abrar

“Since my day job revolves around promoting the creation of a Wellbeing Economy, I could legitimately say something about this situation [events in the Occupied Palestinian Territories] if I can show how it is relevant to that. Let’s see…”

The Importance of Resource Security for Poverty Eradication – Global Footprint Network

“72% of the world population live in countries faced with a precarious situation. These countries both (1) run a biological resource deficit (where demand for biological resources exceeds regeneration) and (2) generate less than world-average income, limiting their ability to purchase resources from elsewhere.”

Public Banks and COVID-19

“Five overarching and promising lessons stand out: public banks have the potential to respond rapidly; to fulfill their public purpose mandates; to act boldly; to mobilize their existing institutional capacity; and to build on ‘public-public’ solidarity. In short, public banks are helping us navigate the tidal wave of Covid-19 at the same time as private
lenders are turning away.”

WEAll Publication: Health and the Environment

WEAll Scotland Report: Business and a Wellbeing Economy

How to achieve a ‘health renaissance’ – Social Europe

“First and foremost, recognise the health-environment nexus as the core of planetary health and evolve from cost-benefit analysis to recognition of ‘co-benefits’”

Una politica ambientale-sanitaria per il Rinascimento della sanità globale

Rethinking Values and Well-being – Dirk Philipsen

“Today, we can retell the stories above in greater detail, and with more knowledge and understanding. Yet the debate remains the same: how to think about the benefits and costs of growth-based progress? Or, even more simply: what constitutes a good life?”

Well-Being Economics – Paul Dalzi and Trudi Cameron

“This article provides an overview of well-being economics, with particular attention to public health”

Data as asset? The measurement, governance, and valuation of digital personal data by Big Tech by Kean Birch, DT Cochrane, Callum Ward

We analyse the transformation of personal data into an asset in order to explore how personal data is accounted for, governed, and valued by Big Tech firms and other political-economic actors (e.g., investors). 

House of Commons Finance Bill

Job Openings & Opportunities

What to Watch

Listen Up

Upcoming Events

WEAll Originals  

Blogs:

Publications:

From the Archives

As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

Can we legitimately say something? – Rabia Abrar

“Since my day job revolves around promoting the creation of a Wellbeing Economy, I could legitimately say something about this situation [events in the Occupied Palestinian Territories] if I can show how it is relevant to that. Let’s see…”

The Importance of Resource Security for Poverty Eradication – Global Footprint Network

“72% of the world population live in countries faced with a precarious situation. These countries both (1) run a biological resource deficit (where demand for biological resources exceeds regeneration) and (2) generate less than world-average income, limiting their ability to purchase resources from elsewhere.”

Public Banks and COVID-19

“Five overarching and promising lessons stand out: public banks have the potential to respond rapidly; to fulfill their public purpose mandates; to act boldly; to mobilize their existing institutional capacity; and to build on ‘public-public’ solidarity. In short, public banks are helping us navigate the tidal wave of Covid-19 at the same time as private
lenders are turning away.”

WEAll Publication: Health and the Environment

WEAll Scotland Report: Business and a Wellbeing Economy

How to achieve a ‘health renaissance’ – Social Europe

“First and foremost, recognise the health-environment nexus as the core of planetary health and evolve from cost-benefit analysis to recognition of ‘co-benefits’”

Una politica ambientale-sanitaria per il Rinascimento della sanità globale

Rethinking Values and Well-being – Dirk Philipsen

“Today, we can retell the stories above in greater detail, and with more knowledge and understanding. Yet the debate remains the same: how to think about the benefits and costs of growth-based progress? Or, even more simply: what constitutes a good life?”

Well-Being Economics – Paul Dalzi and Trudi Cameron

“This article provides an overview of well-being economics, with particular attention to public health”

Data as asset? The measurement, governance, and valuation of digital personal data by Big Tech by Kean Birch, DT Cochrane, Callum Ward

We analyse the transformation of personal data into an asset in order to explore how personal data is accounted for, governed, and valued by Big Tech firms and other political-economic actors (e.g., investors). 

House of Commons Finance Bill

Building A Wellbeing Economy Roadmap for Towns– Thriving Places Index

The collective efforts of citizens, communities, businesses and governments can be driving towards a much more ambitious and meaningful outcome – the growth of our capacity to thrive.

Building Creative Capacity For a Flourishing Future – Flourishing Fiction Co-Lab

“We posit the root causes of today’s existential crises will never be managed out of existence. That’s why we need to stretch and grow our imaginative capacities, so we might reliably conceive of and create the future we are capable of — individually and collectively.”

Safety in the Face of the Climate Crisis – Jamie Greenberger

Utilizing States at Risk’s data set, we narrowed down exactly which threats each state faces to determine the safest and most vulnerable locations. We also surveyed over 1,000 people to get a better idea of how the public approaches the climate crisis.

A Global MetaUniversity to Lead by Design to a Sustainable Well-Being Future – Robert Costanza, Ida Kubiszewski Tom Kompas & Paul C. Sutton

Building a global collaborative consortium of universities and other educational institutions can move this agenda forward. We describe how this “MetaUniversity” could be structured and how it would serve to advance this agenda and lead the way to a sustainable well-being future for humanity and the rest of nature.

The importance of resource security for poverty eradication – Mathis Wackernagel, Laurel Hanscom, Priyangi Jayasinghe, David Lin, Adeline Murthy, Evan Neill & Peter Raven 

We examine the implications for poverty eradication when overshoot (living off the depletion of biological capital) is no longer an option. In that era, humanity’s physical metabolism must stem entirely from Earth’s biological regeneration

Job Openings & Opportunities

What to Watch

Listen Up

Upcoming Events

WEAll Originals  

Blogs:

Publications:

From the Archives

As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

NEW WEAll Publication: Health and the Environment

NEW WEAll Scotland Report: Business and a Wellbeing Economy

How to achieve a ‘health renaissance’ – Social Europe

“First and foremost, recognise the health-environment nexus as the core of planetary health and evolve from cost-benefit analysis to recognition of ‘co-benefits’”

Una politica ambientale-sanitaria per il Rinascimento della sanità globale

Rethinking Values and Well-being – Dirk Philipsen

“Today, we can retell the stories above in greater detail, and with more knowledge and understanding. Yet the debate remains the same: how to think about the benefits and costs of growth-based progress? Or, even more simply: what constitutes a good life?”

Well-Being Economics by Paul Dalzi and Trudi Cameron

“This article provides an overview of well-being economics, with particular attention to public health”

Data as asset? The measurement, governance, and valuation of digital personal data by Big Tech by Kean Birch, DT Cochrane, Callum Ward

We analyse the transformation of personal data into an asset in order to explore how personal data is accounted for, governed, and valued by Big Tech firms and other political-economic actors (e.g., investors). 

House of Commons Finance Bill

Building A Wellbeing Economy Roadmap for Towns– Thriving Places Index

The collective efforts of citizens, communities, businesses and governments can be driving towards a much more ambitious and meaningful outcome – the growth of our capacity to thrive.

Building Creative Capacity For a Flourishing Future – Flourishing Fiction Co-Lab

“We posit the root causes of today’s existential crises will never be managed out of existence. That’s why we need to stretch and grow our imaginative capacities, so we might reliably conceive of and create the future we are capable of — individually and collectively.”

Safety in the Face of the Climate Crisis – Jamie Greenberger

Utilizing States at Risk’s data set, we narrowed down exactly which threats each state faces to determine the safest and most vulnerable locations. We also surveyed over 1,000 people to get a better idea of how the public approaches the climate crisis.

A Global MetaUniversity to Lead by Design to a Sustainable Well-Being Future – Robert Costanza, Ida Kubiszewski Tom Kompas & Paul C. Sutton

Building a global collaborative consortium of universities and other educational institutions can move this agenda forward. We describe how this “MetaUniversity” could be structured and how it would serve to advance this agenda and lead the way to a sustainable well-being future for humanity and the rest of nature.

The importance of resource security for poverty eradication – Mathis Wackernagel, Laurel Hanscom, Priyangi Jayasinghe, David Lin, Adeline Murthy, Evan Neill & Peter Raven 

We examine the implications for poverty eradication when overshoot (living off the depletion of biological capital) is no longer an option. In that era, humanity’s physical metabolism must stem entirely from Earth’s biological regeneration

Community Building for Systems Change – Finance Innovation Lab

This paper explores the role of community in building in systems change, the potential for community building to contribute to creating system-level impact, and how we can build communities that have high potential for achieving systemic change.

A Just(ice) transition is a post-extractive transition War on Want

This failure to take inequality and injustice seriously can be seen in even the most ambitious models of climate mitigation.

Our Homes, Our Communities: How Housing Acquisition Strategies Can Create Affordable Housing, Stabilize Neighborhoods, and Prevent Displacement

This report details strategies that cities can lead to creating equitable housing outcomes for residents by moving privately owned rental housing into tenant or nonprofit ownership to avoid speculation, promote community control, and create permanently affordable housing. 

Towards a wellbeing economy that serves people and nature European Environmental Bureau

This report, “provides a blueprint for the transition to a wellbeing economy which is built on three main pillars which can be referred to as the three Ds: the dismantling of exploitative structures, democratising economic governance and degrowing the economy.”

Job Openings & Opportunities

What to Watch

Listen Up

Upcoming Events

WEAll Originals  

Blogs:

Publications:

From the Archives

Guest blog by Elle Adams – Programme Manager, Scotland CAN B

As we begin the recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic, a collective global awakening to ecological breakdown and social injustices, and with the inflection point of COP26 and looming on the horizon this November, we face an unprecedented moment to choose how we move forward, #buildbackbetter, and what kind of story we want to be able to tell about what’s going on in Scotland on the global stage.

Scotland is home to both the first Wellbeing Economy Alliance hub and the first national business-for-good programme of its kind, Scotland CAN B (a groundbreaking partnership between the Scottish Government and B Lab). Founded around a similar time in 2018, these pioneering initiatives have been established with a backdrop of Scotland’s long-term heritage of a strong social business ethics, and progressive and courageous national political and entrepreneurial ambitions.

The initiative was launched to explore what happens when you combine the entrepreneurial, innovative and business-for-good ambitions of one country, with the aim of catalysing a fundamental shift in the nation’s approach to business. The initiative draws on B Lab’s experience, standards, and the power of business accountability provided by impact assessment tools, and examples of best practice from certified B Corps, to ask: 

“How might an entire nation learn to think, be and behave like a B Corp?” 

or as the question has evolved over time:

“What might it take to build a nationwide culture of business as a force for good?”

In true Scottish “can do” attitude, we wholeheartedly embraced this challenge, and Scotland CAN B’s work since can be broadly divided into two strands, which we believe to be equally essential, interdependent elements towards leveraging the role of business towards catalying place-based economic systems change in Scotland.

These dual strands of work are:

  1. Fostering a national Impact Culturecultivating coherence and alignment in the mindsets, language, tools and frameworks used about impact in Scotland’s business ecosystem
  1. Developing and delivering Impact Trainings – supporting businesses to learn to measure and manage their social, environmental, and governance performance with as much rigor as their profits

Scotland CAN B’s dual approach Theory of Change mirrors and supports the Wellbeing Economy Alliance’s own broader strategic approach of creating a new economic power base through building coherent knowledge and providing new narratives. We see Scotland CAN B’s work as equipping, enabling, and galvanising Scottish businesses and Scotland’s exceptional business support ecosystem to play their vital role as key agents in this process of economic systems change towards a wellbeing economy.

In short, the work of Scotland CAN B is to provide the mechanisms which realise WEAll’s vision, within the business sector.

Around the world today we are witnessing an inflection point for the redefinition of the purpose of the economy and role of business in society. Indications of this comes in different flavours; whether it’s investors and market forces demanding higher standards of environmental, social, and governance accountability, or momentum behind the campaign currently underway to reform corporate governance in UK – the ‘Better Business Act’ – which would align the interests of shareholders with those of wider society and the environment.  We’re witnessing a new generation prioritising their values in their career and consumer choices, and calls across sectors for the repurposing of the economy from growth at any cost, towards the wellbeing of people, planet, and future generations. 

It’s increasingly clear that business for good is simply better business; no matter how big or small, and whether you are people-, planet-, or profit- motivated; we’re all headed in the same direction. The question has changed from “why should we care?” to “what could we be doing better?” and “how do we not get left behind?

“It’s increasingly clear that business for good is simply better business…”

In Scotland, WEAll Scotland and Scotland CAN B are both committed to ground these market demands, global imperatives, and this political rhetoric in reality. We’ve been working hard to develop and provide the inspiration, support and mechanisms to equip businesses to embody a wellbeing economy through their actions and accountability. 


At Scotland CAN B, we’ve developed the Impact Journey – a cyclical, six module learning journey designed to support businesses in fostering impact awareness and accountability comprehensively across all areas of their business; from their core governance arrangements, through to how they interact with their employees, customers, the environment, and their local community. 

But to catalyse the change we want to see at scale and pace across the nation, commensurate with the converging global challenges at hand, we soon realised we’d need to mobilise some extra support, and turned our attention to leveraging Scotland’s extensive business support ecosystem to join us on this mission. 

Cue our flagship programme – the Impact Economy Advisors training, designed to train business support professionals in the latest frameworks, tools and perspectives to be able to help the businesses they support to better understand, measure and manage their impact. This year we will be ramping up delivery of the training, with participants joining us from across the spectrum of entrepreneurial support organisations in Scotland.

As more and more businesses and business-support organisations engage with the task of embracing their vital role in contributing towards the global Sustainable Development Goals, Scotland’s National Performance Framework, and embodying a wellbeing economy, we increasingly have proof of concept, and a sense that the change we seek is picking up steam – a nationwide operating system upgrade is underway, shifting the culture of business from a sole focus on profit, towards prioritising purpose and accountability for people and planet. 

This is the moment, the intersection point, where humanity has more understanding than ever before of the complex and interdependent nature of the challenges we all face, yet also, crucially, a small window of opportunity and agency to take the rapid, proportionate action required to do something about it.

At this transformative moment in history, as the tide turns globally towards an emphasis on ESG accountability, the race to Net Zero, and with COP26 hosted in Glasgow on the horizon, it’s an exciting moment for Scotland to be poised to provide global leadership and a tangible example of what a nation of businesses embracing their vital role in the transition towards a wellbeing economy looks like in practice at a national level.

With the Wellbeing Economy Alliance Scotland, Scotland CAN B, and many others working together, we have an inspiring and galvanising story here to tell.

By Hannah Ormston, Ben Thurman and Jen Wallace from the Carnegie UK Trust

In 2019, New Zealand made headlines around the world when their government signalled a genuine commitment to improving New Zealanders collective wellbeing through their annual budget. Applauded for being “transformational” and a “world first”, the NZ Treasury outlined their ambitions to measure progress beyond economic indicators such as Gross Domestic Product. These indicators failed to capture the complexity of individual lives and, as NZ Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said, “do not guarantee improvement to living standards” or “take into account who benefits and who is left out”.

Yet, as New Zealand announces its spending priorities for the next year, some have expressed disappointment, criticising the government’s lack of progress as well as a diminishing focus on wellbeing for which the NZ budget has become so well known.  But are these claims missing the point: that in New Zealand the concept of wellbeing has shifted from something novel, to an approach that’s now embedded within the day- to-day decision making of government?

What makes a ‘wellbeing’ budget?

In his pre-budget speech, Finance Minister Grant Robertson outlined the three main goals for this term of government: continuing to keep New Zealand safe from Covid-19, accelerating recovery, and taking on the generational challenges with the economy and society: in particular focusing on housing affordability, climate change, and children’s wellbeing. These are undoubtedly wellbeing goals. 

Sitting within a wider financial strategy, the ‘wellbeing’ specific component of the NZ budget consists of an allocated sum of money set aside to focus on prevention and improving collective wellbeing outcomes; policies and projects that better meet the needs of generations today, whilst also considering the long-term impact on generations to come. Spending from this ‘wellbeing pot’ is informed by a range of data that’s collected in a purpose built framework: the Living Standards Framework. It includes 12 areas of life that the government believe are critical for wellbeing, such as health; housing; social connections; and cultural identity.

Each year, the NZ Treasury uses the data in the Living Standards Framework to understand the issues that pose the biggest threat to wellbeing and inform decisions about where they should spend these funds. A wellbeing government understands that social, environmental, economic and democratic wellbeing have equal importance, and responds flexibly, by directing spending to the most urgent issues. In 2019, they chose to focus on improving mental health, child poverty, and family violence, while in 2020, their focus pivoted to the rapidly changing impact of COVID-19, and its immediate impact on people and communities. 

This year, the NZ government’s continued commitment to a wellbeing approach can be seen through the recent amendment to their Public Finance Act.  The Act now makes provision for the Minister of Finance to set wellbeing objectives to guide budget decisions. For the 2021 budget, the NZ Treasury has decided to focus its attention on the following objectives:

1. Securing a Just Transition to shift to a lower emission economy;

2. Enhancing productivity and enabling New Zealanders to benefit from the future of work;

3. Improving social and economic outcomes within Maori and pacific incomes, skills and opportunities;

4.  Reducing child poverty and improving child wellbeing; and

5.  Supporting physical and mental wellbeing for all, including keeping COVID-19 out of communities.

When assessing new policy and project proposals, their contribution to each of the above priorities is considered alongside their value for money, which is based on an assessment of their contribution to the wellbeing domains in the Living Standards Framework.

The priorities outlined in the 2021 recovery and wellbeing budget far from suggest a ‘move away’ from wellbeing. Rather, they show that their approach is holistic, and balances the health, wealth, and wellbeing of current and future generations in equal measure. It demonstrates a sophisticated understanding of the complexity of individual and collective lives, and that recovery from COVID-19 and collective wellbeing are not mutually exclusive.

What are the lessons from the NZ approach?

But what can other countries learn from New Zealand’s approach, and what are the opportunities to build on, wherever you are? New Zealand is one of several Wellbeing Economy Governments who have a shared understanding – and ambition – to build sustainable wellbeing economies which include Scotland and Wales. The National Performance Framework in Scotland, and the Wellbeing of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 each place a strong emphasis on prevention, intervention, integration and localism, similar to the NZ model. 

And while 20 May marks the next wellbeing budget announcement in New Zealand, in the UK, exciting new legislation, which shares the ambition to embed wellbeing in policymaking for current and future generations, will receive its first reading in the new parliamentary session in the House of Lords. At the Carnegie UK Trust, we work to improve the wellbeing of people in the UK and Ireland, recently publishing ‘Gross Domestic Wellbeing’ as an alternative measure of social progress in England: so we’re clear that ensuring we all have what we need to live well now, and in the future, should be the ambition of any government. This could be an important moment as the UK takes its first steps towards doing just that. 

References: 

Wallace, Ormston, Thurman et. al 2020. Gross Domestic Wellbeing: an alternative measure of social progress. 

Photo by Gigin Krishnan on Unsplash

Today, we’re publishing our latest report, “Business and a Wellbeing Economy: Creating Thriving Businesses and a Thriving Scotland”, in partnership with Scottish Enterprise and Co-operative Development Scotland.



Keep reading to see what Jimmy Paul, Director of WEAll Scotland, had to say about this report, business’s role in a wellbeing economy, and the exciting opportunities ahead of Scotland:

“The Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll) was created from a belief in the power of collaboration. This report gave WEAll Scotland the opportunity to work with Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), the arm of Scottish Enterprise that supports employee ownership and co-operative business models. CDS believes these inclusive business models are a fairer, stronger and more democratic way of doing business that helps create a wellbeing economy.

“My biggest drive, both personally and professionally, is to see a world where all people flourish. The Wellbeing Economy Alliance works alongside a beautifully diverse group of organisations to ensure people are at the forefront of change. This is what attracted me to apply for the role of director of WEAll Scotland, earlier this year.

“As I settle into this new role, I look forward to meeting bold businesses who are making strides to realise social justice on a healthy planet. Businesses play a vital role in building a thriving Scotland: a Scotland where all people flourish and which cherishes our natural home.

“The assumptions upon which our current economic system rests no longer hold true. Economic growth cannot be assumed to automatically deliver a decent standard of living for enough people. With scientists warning of the sixth mass extinction and catastrophic climate change, 20th century systems of production and consumption need to be transformed, and we must be impatient for change.

“In the past, greed at an individual level was the predominant motivator shaping economic policies. However, the way communities across Scotland responded to Covid-19 is one of many recent examples of societal cooperation, empathy, and solidarity.

“Back in 1942, William Beveridge wrote that ‘A revolutionary moment in the world’s history is time for revolutions, not for patching’. Covid-19 has clearly presented us with a revolutionary moment. The question is, will we harness it to work together and build an economy that better meets the needs of people and planet than the one we had going into the pandemic? We hope that this partnership will be the first of many more.”



As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

A Global MetaUniversity to Lead by Design to a Sustainable Well-Being Future – Robert Costanza, Ida Kubiszewski Tom Kompas & Paul C. Sutton

Building a global collaborative consortium of universities and other educational institutions can move this agenda forward. We describe how this “MetaUniversity” could be structured and how it would serve to advance this agenda and lead the way to a sustainable well-being future for humanity and the rest of nature.

The importance of resource security for poverty eradication – Mathis Wackernagel, Laurel Hanscom, Priyangi Jayasinghe, David Lin, Adeline Murthy, Evan Neill & Peter Raven 

We examine the implications for poverty eradication when overshoot (living off the depletion of biological capital) is no longer an option. In that era, humanity’s physical metabolism must stem entirely from Earth’s biological regeneration

Community Building for Systems Change – Finance Innovation Lab

This paper explores the role of community in building in systems change, the potential for community building to contribute to creating system-level impact, and how we can build communities that have high potential for achieving systemic change.

A Just(ice) transition is a post-extractive transition War on Want

This failure to take inequality and injustice seriously can be seen in even the most ambitious models of climate mitigation.

Our Homes, Our Communities: How Housing Acquisition Strategies Can Create Affordable Housing, Stabilize Neighborhoods, and Prevent Displacement

This report details strategies that cities can lead to creating equitable housing outcomes for residents by moving privately owned rental housing into tenant or nonprofit ownership to avoid speculation, promote community control, and create permanently affordable housing. 

Towards a wellbeing economy that serves people and nature European Environmental Bureau

This report, “provides a blueprint for the transition to a wellbeing economy which is built on three main pillars which can be referred to as the three Ds: the dismantling of exploitative structures, democratising economic governance and degrowing the economy.”

A review of the evidence on developing and supporting policy and practice networksCarnegie UK

“There are many reasons that people choose to develop networks as an approach to achieving a goal. We were interested in building our understanding of the evidence on the effectiveness of networks as a vehicle for policy and practice change.”

A counterintuitive response to the environmental crisis Systems Innovation Paris Hub

“To successfully change a system, we first need to understand its functioning. And to understand a system’s functioning we need to be able to observe its structure”

Let’s not get back to normal – it wasn’t so niceScope NI

“Katherine Trebeck, Senior Strategic Advisor for the Wellbeing Economy Alliance argues the case for radical, lasting change.”

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By Michael Weatherhead, WEAll Organisation and Projects lead

The WEAll Amp team recently moved to a four-day working week. Why did we do this? We felt it was important for us to ‘walk the talk’ of a Wellbeing Economy – and a four-day work week is one of the many policies held up as contributing to just such an economy.

The reasons given in support of a reduced working week are many and range from the social to the environmental via the economic.

From a personal/social perspective, a flexible four-day week provides staff with a greater flexibility to balance commitments outside of work. Commitments may be domestic including childcare, and may also be in community activities or volunteer spaces or simply time to learn a new skill. As the quote attributed to Oscar Wilde puts it, “The trouble with socialism is that it takes up too many evenings”: a fair enough sentiment when the average working week in the late 1800s was 12 hours per day, six days per week.

In relation to the environment, greater flexibility and reduced workdays can have significant environmental benefits in terms of reduced transport costs and pollution[1]. As countries emerge from lockdowns imposed in response to the pandemic, a four-day work week and flexible working arrangements can bake in a percentage of the carbon footprint saving caused by the lockdown.

The idea that a reduced work week can also be good for economic recovery is not a new one. The five-day work week was officially adopted in the United States in the early 1930s in response to the Great Depression. Lower per capita working hours expanded the number of jobs available in the system at the time.

Even earlier than that, in the 1920s Henry Ford instigated the 40-hour work week with a two-day weekend, in part to provide time for workers to use their incomes in the consumption and enjoyment of other goods, supporting the circulation of money around the economy. Fast forward to 2020, the same argument was made by the government of New Zealand, that a four-day work week could provide New Zealanders with more free time thus boosting local tourism[2].

Lastly, early evidence[3] indicates that productivity increases when shifting from a five-day to a four-day/32-hour week.

The WEAll Amp team’s own journey of first exploring and then moving to a four-day working week involved speaking with several organisations that had transitioned to a four-day week. Each had adopted a different approach to the four-day week. One had moved from five to four days for full time staff and increased (pro-rata) the hourly equivalent wage for part-time staff. This was coupled with a decrease in the holiday allowance. Another operated a compressed hours model, shifting to a four-day work week from five, but with the same hours and with no changes in holiday allowance; yet another adopted a move to a four-day week – a 20% reduction in full-time staff hours, with a 10% reduction in pay for full-time staff and with the pay for part-time staff left unaffected.

The WEAll Amp team has as many people on part-time contracts as it does full-time. Adopting the first of the above approaches mentioned would therefore imply a budgetary impact. At this stage of our development, this was not an impact that we felt we could absorb. What was most valued by the team was the flexibility a four-day week provides. Thus, to the outside world, we now operate a four-day week (closed on Friday) but with flexibility for full time team members to compress their 35 hours in any way they wish.

It may be the case that we will arrive at a four-day week of 30-32 hours in the future (with the associated uplift in part-time pay), but for now, WEAll has taken the first important step on our organisational journey to a working week better aligned with the Wellbeing Economy vision.


[1] https://cepr.net/documents/publications/energy_2006_12.pdf

[2] https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/05/new-zealand-jacinda-ardern-4-day-week-pandemic-productivity

[3] https://4dayweek.com/four-day-week-trial

As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Listen Up

Weekly Reads

Towards a wellbeing economy that serves people and nature European Environmental Bureau

This report, “provides a blueprint for the transition to a wellbeing economy which is built on three main pillars which can be referred to as the three Ds: the dismantling of exploitative structures, democratising economic governance and degrowing the economy.”

A review of the evidence on developing and supporting policy and practice networksCarnegie UK

“There are many reasons that people choose to develop networks as an approach to achieving a goal. We were interested in building our understanding of the evidence on the effectiveness of networks as a vehicle for policy and practice change.”

A counterintuitive response to the environmental crisis Systems Innovation Paris Hub

“To successfully change a system, we first need to understand its functioning. And to understand a system’s functioning we need to be able to observe its structure”

Build Back Fairer – Fair Trade Advocacy Office

“The current crisis has shown us not only how interdependent we all are but also how the destruction of nature, the deforestation as well as the climate and health crises are all interrelated, and share the exploitation of people and planet as a common root cause.”

How to Define and Build a Regenerative Business– Sustainable Brands

“Business needs to build regenerative systems that restorerenew, and heal, leaving nature and society better off and more resilient than we found them.”

Let’s not get back to normal – it wasn’t so niceScope NI

“Katherine Trebeck, Senior Strategic Advisor for the Wellbeing Economy Alliance argues the case for radical, lasting change.”

Introducing the Library of Economic Possibility

“The Ideaspace publishes weekly interviews and essays with authors, artists, designers, economists, researchers, venture capitalists, political activists, and others working on the frontiers of value and self-interest. “

A Future World: 10 things you can do to change everything and combat the climate crisis

“On Earth Day, the writers behind new book Planet on Fire set down a manifesto for ecological breakdown – this is what we can do right now, and how”

The importance of resource security for poverty eradicationMathis WackernagelLaurel HanscomPriyangi JayasingheDavid LinAdeline MurthyEvan Neill & Peter Raven 

“We analysed the unequal exposure of national economies to biocapacity constraints. We found that a growing number of people live in countries with both biocapacity deficits and below-average income. Low income thwarts these economies’ ability to compete for needed resources on the global market.”

From a Harmless Bet to Russian Roulette – Katherine Trebeck and Dirk Philipsen

Shall we continue to follow past wealth creation and place faith in inventiveness based on markets and monetary valuations? Or shall we take a broader perspective that acknowledges the enormous costs of wealth production and values life beyond the marketplace? 

Systems Design Toolkit

Systemic Design Toolkit helps you co-create interventions to tackle organisational and societal complexity.

Job Openings & Opportunities

What to Watch

Upcoming Events

WEAll Originals  

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Publications:

From the Archives

WEAll is recruiting for a COP26 Music Event Producer. This 7-month contract offers the opportunity to lead on WEAll’s presence and impact around the COP26 in Glasgow in 2021, and offers a unique opportunity to engage new audiences with the case for economic system change and a wellbeing economy. Primarily this will be done through a multi-arts festival that seeks to be engaging and informative and will be available to digital audiences as well as people in Glasgow.      

Start date: June 2021

Contract type: 7-month fixed-term contract

Remuneration: We expect the role to be the equivalent of a full-time post and the remuneration for delivering the festival is up to £20,000 for the contract period.

Hours of work: The nature of this role is that flexibility in hours is both required by the role (for example, there may be some evening and weekend work) but also offered by WEAll.

Location: Because of where COP will take place this year, our preference is to recruit for a person to be based in Glasgow [Scotland] where we can provide access to a co-working space (COVID rules permitting).

The Music Festival:

WEAll, together with its partner FiiS is planning a one-day music festival during COP26 to be held in Glasgow in November this year. The theme of the event will draw on our narratives playbook Stories for Life (SfL).

We are in advanced talks with the organisers of a central Glasgow site to hold the music festival during the middle weekend of COP26. The site (currently under development) will host a programme for the full 12 days of COP with like-minded content partners.  The WEAll/FiiS music festival will be the key content partner for one of those twelve days.

The site partner aims to develop the site with temporary structures on site including a main stage, smaller stages and workshop areas that are module in design and able to be arranged to meet its content partners’ needs. The site partner will provide the audio/visual needs for the site and plans to broadcast the programme to supplement the likely socially distanced nature of the in-person programme.

WEAll/FiiS are planning a festival that will include musicians, artists, new economy thinkers and practitioners. We plan to hold panel discussions between these different groups, display artwork that draws out the themes of Stories for Life      – themes that highlight the interconnectedness of humans and nature and how the economy must be in service to both.

We are planning to use SfL as a creative challenge and opening it up to all the arts / music / cultural networks we know. The challenge would be to use SfL as a brief, and to create ‘stories’ (in any medium) that pick up on any of the main pillars of the brief. A limited number (say 4 or 5) of the submitted concepts would be commissioned to then be shown at the festival in Glasgow.

We would like to apply the same thinking to bigger agencies / organisations with the aim for them to create their own campaigns / strategies / ideas in response to SfL and then submit them into  a panel – with the awards/results being announced at the festival.

What we are looking for:

We are looking for an organised, flexible and highly motivated individual with demonstrable event design and project management skills and experience, and with a passion for economic system change.

The post holder must be adaptable, creative and – due to the nature of our small start-up organisation – fully capable and competent to lead this work without expectation of supervision. Having said that, the person will need to be an excellent partnership manager as the site developer is looking for the themes and messages of our festival to complement the other content partners (and vice versa).

The post holder must also be adept at talent management, stage management and an excellent project manager.

Download the full job description, which includes more details of deliverables and how to apply, below. The closing date is Tuesday 18 May.

Kia ora!  I’m Suzy Morrissey, one of the founders of the Aoteraroa New Zealand WEAll hub, and I recently gave ‘evidence’ to a special meeting of the UK All Party Parliamentary Committee (APPG) on the Green New Deal and the APPG on Limits to Growth.

The Green New Deal APPG was established to provide a cross-party platform for the development of a transformative Green New Deal for the UK and the Limits to Growth APPG is a platform for cross-party collaboration on shared and lasting prosperity in a world of environmental, social and economic limits.  The APPG members are MPs and Peers and the session was chaired by Caroline Lucas MP and Clive Lewis MP. 

I was invited to present ‘evidence’ for the consideration of the members of the APPGs ahead of the UK budget announcement, along with Lord Adair Turner (Institute for New Economic Thinking), Miatta Fahnbulleh (New Economics Foundation), and Robert Palmer (Tax Justice UK).  The virtual session was also open to the public and over 100 people participated in the session.

In my evidence, I explained the limitations of using GDP to measure wellbeing, outlining how it ignores important elements and rewards negative behaviors.  For example, unpaid work is not included in the calculation of GDP, but the sales of weapons are.  Further, no adjustment is made for activities that negatively impact the planet, such as pollution or non-recyclable waste.

I also shared an example of an alternative approach from Aoteraroa New Zealand.  The ‘Living Standards Framework’ measures wellbeing, using a stocks and flows based economic model, and a dashboard of elements.  It draws on the OECD’s Better Life Index, with domains of current wellbeing (such as income, health, housing), and four capitals (natural, social, human, and financial and physical).  The Living Standards Framework was devised by the NZ Treasury, to improve the quality of its advice, and provide a focus on inter-generational equity. 

Shortly after the Labour-led coalition Government came into power at the end of 2017, they announced their intention to use the Living Standards Framework as a base for the world’s first ‘Wellbeing Budget’ in 2019, as well as to inform the 2018 Budget.

I worked at the NZ Treasury as Principal Advisor in the Office of the Chief Economic Advisor and was the policy and engagement lead for the Living Standards Framework.  I shared my experience of determining the current wellbeing domains and capitals and finding suitable indicators to measure them .  For example, although much of the Living Standards Framework draws from the OECD Better Life Model, we decided to include a new domain of current wellbeing called ‘cultural identity’ to measure features unique to Aotearoa (such as use of Te Reo Māori, the language of our first people).  We also included ‘time use’ because it is so important, especially for gender analysis, even though it had been ten years since a national time use survey had been conducted by Stats NZ.  Data gaps need to be highlighted so that they can be addressed.

I also discussed how the Living Standards Framework was applied by government to identify priority areas for the budget and to assess potential policies for funding.  An initial assessment of wellbeing was undertaken using the measures and then ‘bids’ for funding from the national budget were assessed against the domains and capitals they were intended to improve. 

I was delighted to be able to share Aoteraroa New Zealand’s world-leading work in bringing wellbeing economics to public policy.

Now my focus is back on building the Aoteraroa New Zealand WEAll hub and sharing the wonderful WEAll resources for policy makers and businesses on how to create a wellbeing economy.  Contact myself, Paul, or Justin (emails on the Hub page here) if you would like to get involved.

You can watch the full APPG session below or on YouTube here:


As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

Let’s not get back to normal – it wasn’t so nice– Scope NI

“Katherine Trebeck, Senior Strategic Advisor for the Wellbeing Economy Alliance argues the case for radical, lasting change.”

Introducing the Library of Economic Possibility

“The Ideaspace publishes weekly interviews and essays with authors, artists, designers, economists, researchers, venture capitalists, political activists, and others working on the frontiers of value and self-interest. “

A Future World: 10 things you can do to change everything and combat the climate crisis

“On Earth Day, the writers behind new book Planet on Fire set down a manifesto for ecological breakdown – this is what we can do right now, and how”

The importance of resource security for poverty eradicationMathis WackernagelLaurel HanscomPriyangi JayasingheDavid LinAdeline MurthyEvan Neill & Peter Raven 

“We analysed the unequal exposure of national economies to biocapacity constraints. We found that a growing number of people live in countries with both biocapacity deficits and below-average income. Low income thwarts these economies’ ability to compete for needed resources on the global market.”

From a Harmless Bet to Russian Roulette – Katherine Trebeck and Dirk Philipsen

Shall we continue to follow past wealth creation and place faith in inventiveness based on markets and monetary valuations? Or shall we take a broader perspective that acknowledges the enormous costs of wealth production and values life beyond the marketplace? 

Economic Journals’ Engagement in the Planetary Emergency: A Misallocation of Resources? – Economists for Future

The planetary emergency is an intellectual and humanitarian challenge that urgently warrants a significant amount of research attention from the economics profession. Is this happening?

Welfare systems without economic growth: A review of the challenges and next steps for the field

Economic growth is no longer a sustainable solution to these problems. It is therefore imperative that we consider how welfare systems will cope with these challenges in the absence of economic growth. We review the literature tackling this complex problem

World Happiness Report

2020 has been a year like no other. This whole report focuses on the effects of COVID-19 and how people all over the world have fared

Life among the Econ: fifty years on– Thomas Palley

Fifty years ago the Econ used to say “Modl-ing is everything”. Now they say “Modl-ing is the only thing”. The math priesthood has been joined by a priesthood of economagicians. The fundamental social divide between Micro and Macro sub-tribes persists, but it has been diluted by a new doctrine of micro foundations. The Econ remain a fractious and argumentative tribe.

Democratising Football– Common Wealth

From Bury to Barcelona, modern football is increasingly marked by inequality, debt, and a growing detachment from the communities that sustain the clubs. But it doesn’t have to be this way; democratic forms of ownership and governance, coupled with clubs employing intentional, place-based anchor approaches, can help bring the people’s game back home to fans and communities.

Systems Design Toolkit

Systemic Design Toolkit helps you co-create interventions to tackle organisational and societal complexity.

Shifting the Narrative – The Opportunity Agenda

As the concept of “narrative” has grown in prominence within the advocacy space, more stakeholders are recognizing the centrality of storytelling to systemic change. But how do we define narrative and the elements that contribute to a successful narrative change strategy? Is change inevitable or the product of coordinated efforts that are possible to replicate?

Mind Our Business: Amplify the transformative power of sustainable and inclusive business models through EU external action

The report illustrates how a focus on sustainable and inclusive business models can help the EU advance on its various objectives; whether creating decent work opportunities, empowering women, reaching out to more marginalised people or contributing to the ecological transition.

The public health case for a Green New Deal – Med Act

“The report identifies the root causes of interconnected climate, social and health injustice, and outlines the case for five key policy demands: decarbonising the UK economy; creating green jobs for all; combating air pollution to ensure healthy air; providing quality homes for all; and delivering food and land justice.”

Were Economists Prepared for the Pandemic?– Rethinking Economics

“Increasingly, it is economists that governments turn to when responding to  these crises, but do their economics courses do enough to prepare them for this vital  role?” 

Goliath and Goliath: Asset Management and Ownership in the UK Economy

“This briefing – which introduces Common Wealth’s programme of work on the future of the sector – explores the implications of this rise and concentration in assets and, by extension, economic power, setting out key questions for policymakers, particularly with respect to this industry’s growing role in our response to global challenges, from ensuring a strong and fair Covid-19 recovery to tackling the climate crisis.”

Job Openings & Opportunities

What to Watch

Listen Up

Upcoming Events

WEAll Originals  

Blogs:

Publications:

From the Archives

As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

From a Harmless Bet to Russian Roulette – Katherine Trebeck and Dirk Philipsen

Shall we continue to follow past wealth creation and place faith in inventiveness based on markets and monetary valuations? Or shall we take a broader perspective that acknowledges the enormous costs of wealth production and values life beyond the marketplace? 

Economic Journals’ Engagement in the Planetary Emergency: A Misallocation of Resources? – Economists for Future

The planetary emergency is an intellectual and humanitarian challenge that urgently warrants a significant amount of research attention from the economics profession. Is this happening?

Welfare systems without economic growth: A review of the challenges and next steps for the field

Economic growth is no longer a sustainable solution to these problems. It is therefore imperative that we consider how welfare systems will cope with these challenges in the absence of economic growth. We review the literature tackling this complex problem

World Happiness Report

2020 has been a year like no other. This whole report focuses on the effects of COVID-19 and how people all over the world have fared

Life among the Econ: fifty years on– Thomas Palley

Fifty years ago the Econ used to say “Modl-ing is everything”. Now they say “Modl-ing is the only thing”. The math priesthood has been joined by a priesthood of economagicians. The fundamental social divide between Micro and Macro sub-tribes persists, but it has been diluted by a new doctrine of micro foundations. The Econ remain a fractious and argumentative tribe.

Democratising Football- Common Wealth

From Bury to Barcelona, modern football is increasingly marked by inequality, debt, and a growing detachment from the communities that sustain the clubs. But it doesn’t have to be this way; democratic forms of ownership and governance, coupled with clubs employing intentional, place-based anchor approaches, can help bring the people’s game back home to fans and communities.

Systems Design Toolkit

Systemic Design Toolkit helps you co-create interventions to tackle organisational and societal complexity.

Shifting the Narrative – The Opportunity Agenda

As the concept of “narrative” has grown in prominence within the advocacy space, more stakeholders are recognizing the centrality of storytelling to systemic change. But how do we define narrative and the elements that contribute to a successful narrative change strategy? Is change inevitable or the product of coordinated efforts that are possible to replicate?

Mind Our Business: Amplify the transformative power of sustainable and inclusive business models through EU external action

The report illustrates how a focus on sustainable and inclusive business models can help the EU advance on its various objectives; whether creating decent work opportunities, empowering women, reaching out to more marginalised people or contributing to the ecological transition.

The public health case for a Green New Deal – Med Act

“The report identifies the root causes of interconnected climate, social and health injustice, and outlines the case for five key policy demands: decarbonising the UK economy; creating green jobs for all; combating air pollution to ensure healthy air; providing quality homes for all; and delivering food and land justice.”

Were Economists Prepared for the Pandemic?– Rethinking Economics

“Increasingly, it is economists that governments turn to when responding to  these crises, but do their economics courses do enough to prepare them for this vital  role?” 

Goliath and Goliath: Asset Management and Ownership in the UK Economy

“This briefing – which introduces Common Wealth’s programme of work on the future of the sector – explores the implications of this rise and concentration in assets and, by extension, economic power, setting out key questions for policymakers, particularly with respect to this industry’s growing role in our response to global challenges, from ensuring a strong and fair Covid-19 recovery to tackling the climate crisis.”

Pathways out of Capitalism: Building Forward, New and Radical

“Anti-capitalist organising must be rooted in a commitment to see the world for what it is but at the same time push forward with unrelenting hope that another world, a better one, is possible.”

Better Business Act

“We’re joining the coalition because we believe that now is the right time to raise the bar for British business across the board, it’s time for broader accountability to be a legal requirement for the many, not just a moral imperative for the few.” – Arlo Brady, Freuds

The Principles of Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice demands that public policy be based on mutual respect and justice for all peoples, free from any form of discrimination or bias.”

Community Currencies as Crisis Response: Results from a Randomized Control Trial in Kenya

“This paper presents the results of what may be the world’s first randomized control trial on community currencies. In 2020, Grassroots Economics’ Community Inclusion Currency (CIC) model was adopted by the Kenya Red Cross as a humanitarian response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Job Openings & Opportunities

What to Watch

Listen Up

Upcoming Events

WEAll Originals  

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Publications:

From the Archives

By: Isabel Nuesse

On Thursday April 8, I spoke with a passionate group of Californians about developing a new narrative for the Wellbeing Economy in California. After a short presentation including WEAll’s own story of narrative development and lessons learnt, we had a group discussion and indicated a few initial thoughts on the values that could underpin a Wellbeing Economy in California. 

For some context, developing a ‘narrative’ or story around a new economic vision is one of the most difficult tasks for WEAll. While a core pillar to our work, it’s without a doubt, the one that is most contentious amongst our membership and the most challenging to articulate and come to consensus on. 

Our first step in the process has been to develop the values that shape a Wellbeing Economy – we refer to them as the 5 ‘WEAll Needs’. These needs (depicted below) are the core tenants that underpin our vision for a Wellbeing Economy. These values will change from context to context-  but from the highest level – when we speak to a Wellbeing Economy, these are the needs that must exist in order for the vision to be felt. 

I also introduced some of the lessons learnt from our work on narratives which are below:

  1. Narratives are ever-evolving
  2. There isn’t ONE narrative  
  3. Don’t counterbalance the current narrative with the opposite narrative 
  4. Focus on a positive vision
  5. All narratives have value to bring
  6. Create a simple story that resonates widely
  7. Doing the work is building the narrative

During the session, there was discussion amongst the audience around the practicalities of implementing such a narrative. One attendee asked, “How do you speak to someone about a Wellbeing Economy if they are staunch capitalists? How do you begin to unseat such strong power structures?” 

I wish I had the answer. The best ‘solution’ is to have counterexamples of other systems that could work to replace the current system. For example, instead of investing in the S&P 500 find initiatives like Boston Ujima Project who are building community-led investment opportunities. Or look to cooperatives as alternative models to replace the current extractive business models. 

We discussed issues around the word ‘freedom’ and what that word currently connotes verses what it could connote in a wellbeing context. 

Towards the end of the discussion, we spoke about what the difference is between what the current progressive left is pushing verses what the Wellbeing Economy agenda is pushing. The word we circled around was interconnection. In a Wellbeing Economy, we are no longer going to work in silos but rather, see the whole, and encourage the system to operate and function within that space. Meaning, seeing that homelessness is related to healthcare which is related to our food system which is related to land pricing etc. It’s all connected and we can no longer operate in a system that doesn’t account for those interconnections.

As an interactive portion of the discussion, we brainstormed some values that could bring definition to what a Wellbeing Economy in California could become. Below is the list of values that the group created.


We will build from the values generated during this workshop as we begin to think about how values and narratives align with policy change during our next webinar. You can sign up to join the California hub on May 18 for a one hour discussion of wellbeing policy design with Amanda Janoo here. Additionally, if you’d like to become a WEAll Member, join us here and also check out our WEAll Citizens Platform.

WEAll California’s Starter List of Values

  • Accountability+1
  • Access to Nature
  • Artistic Thinking
  • Beauty
  • Belief in a living wage
  • Belonging
  • Care for others +1
  • Compassion
  • Connection +2  (Deep Connection)
  • Creativity+3
  • Design Thinking
  • Embracing differences
  • Equity+2
  • Environmental sustainability+4
  • Freedom+1
  • From Wealth to Health
  • From Growth to Wellbeing
  • From Money to Life
  • From Exploitation to Empowerment
  • Harmony
  • Hope
  • Human flourishing+3
  • Inclusion+2
  • Incubation, testing, research to action (higher public education)
  • Innovation (California prides itself on this)+3
  • International (pacific rim) +1
  • Intersection of natural and built environment +1
  • Interrelation +1
  • Integrity +1
  • Kindness+1
  • Justice
  • Local
  • Loyalty to the whole+2
  • Material sufficiency
  • Possibility and transformation
  • Purpose
  • Systemic Thinking
  • Uniqueness

Short Bio:

Natalia Marsellés is a 23-year old Master’s student in Sustainable Business and Innovation in Barcelona, Spain, and a member of the social media team of WEAll Youth. 

Have you ever thought about where your clothes come from? Who made them? What is the real cost of your wardrobe, not only economically speaking but its social and environmental impact?

Fashion Revolution Week is a time when we come together as a global community to think about the fashion industry practices and raise awareness to demand a better fashion industry.

In 2013 we saw one of the worst industrial disasters in history following the collapse of the Rana Plaza Building in Bangladesh. Sadly, more than 1100 people died and another 2500 were injured. This is when Fashion Revolution was born, quickly becoming the largest fashion activism movement in the world. Fashion Revolution envisions a global fashion industry that conserves and restores the environment and values people over growth and profit.

During the Fashion Revolution Week, a clear and decisive message is launched, with hashtags that have now become a symbol of revindication and the confrontation against fast fashion: #WhoMadeMyClothes #WhoMadeYourClothes

This year’s Fashion Revolution Week theme “Rights, Relationships, and Revolution” promotes the connection between human rights and the natural world. The campaign aims to amplify unheard voices within the fashion industry while exploring innovative solutions to promote sustainability. 

——————

To delve into the meaning of Fashion Revolution week and learn more about sustainable fashion, I sat down with Dr. Federica Massa Saluzzo. Dr Saluzzo holds a Ph.D. in Strategic Management from IESE Business School, a post-doc from the University of Bologna, and teaches strategic management at EADA Business School. 

Her research interests include social value creation, sustainable fashion, and social innovation, and shared with WEALL Youth her thoughts on the fashion industry. 

1. What does fashion mean to you?

For me, it is a way to express your authentic identity, your culture, and your values. Just like your language or the design of your home, for me, fashion is a language that speaks up for you and who you are. 

2. What are your views on fast fashion?

Ah! I am not fast in general! see the benefits of enabling a large number of people to access “some” kind of fashion, but since for me fashion is a means to communicate your culture and authenticity, nothing fast can convey culture and authenticity effectively. Fast fashion may provide the illusion of being fashionable but it does not truly sell fashion. What is sold through fast fashion is something else:  it does not sell authenticity, because a lot of the trends are copied from smaller brands,  it does not sell quality, because anyone who does not pay a decent salary to any of the actors of the supply chain cannot speak of high quality, and it does not sell uniqueness, because no matter how quick you are, there are thousands of copies of the same garments. 

3. What does sustainability mean for you?

If I avoid citing all the literature defining sustainability and only speak my mind, sustainability means caring. Caring for the people whose work makes my life so easy, and caring for the planet that offers us everything a human being needs.

4. Is fast fashion sustainable? Can it be sustainable?

Well, no! 

5. What is the future of fast fashion? In spite of the growing demand for eco-friendly clothing, most consumers don’t want to pay more for it. So, what’s the solution?

I work in education, so I believe that education is the way. Through the Asociacion Moda Sostenible Barcelona, a great effort in educating the Spanish market is in place.  They have organized the MODS (Moda + Objetivos de Desarrollo Sostenible (ODS)), short and cheap podcasts for whoever feels they can make a change through sustainable fashion, they also have a sustainability dictionary initiative in their social networks, where they explain the real meaning of some of the key buzzwords in sustainable fashion, and they constantly strive to sum efforts to make sustainable fashion relevant. 

6. What can we, as consumers, do to change this trend?

Reuse, recycle, reduce, restyle.  When you are about to buy something ask “where does it come from? Where will it go?” And then decide, maybe you can look for something more sustainable, maybe you don’t need to buy, maybe you can learn to stitch or maybe you can just add a unique detail to something you already own…and make it truly yours. 

————

This week, WEAll Youth joins the Fashion Revolution movement by sharing our members’ thoughts on fast fashion and the transition towards a more ethical and sustainable garment industry for all of us. 

What do you think about fast fashion? Share your ideas with us and join the revolution! 

#WhoMadeMyClothes #WhoMadeYourClothes

#theworldyouwant #fashionrevolution #slowfashion #weall #weallyouth #wellbeingeconomy #peopleandplanet #peoplebeforeprofit #planetbeforeprofit #neweconomy #circulareconomy #youth #changemakers #makeachange #ethical #sustainable #fair

As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond. Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

Weekly Reads

The public health case for a Green New Deal – Med Act

“The report identifies the root causes of interconnected climate, social and health injustice, and outlines the case for five key policy demands: decarbonising the UK economy; creating green jobs for all; combating air pollution to ensure healthy air; providing quality homes for all; and delivering food and land justice.”

Were Economists Prepared for the Pandemic?– Rethinking Economics

“Increasingly, it is economists that governments turn to when responding to  these crises, but do their economics courses do enough to prepare them for this vital  role?” 

Goliath and Goliath: Asset Management and Ownership in the UK Economy

“This briefing – which introduces Common Wealth’s programme of work on the future of the sector – explores the implications of this rise and concentration in assets and, by extension, economic power, setting out key questions for policymakers, particularly with respect to this industry’s growing role in our response to global challenges, from ensuring a strong and fair Covid-19 recovery to tackling the climate crisis.”

Pathways out of Capitalism: Building Forward, New and Radical

“Anti-capitalist organising must be rooted in a commitment to see the world for what it is but at the same time push forward with unrelenting hope that another world, a better one, is possible.”

Better Business Act

“We’re joining the coalition because we believe that now is the right time to raise the bar for British business across the board, it’s time for broader accountability to be a legal requirement for the many, not just a moral imperative for the few.” – Arlo Brady, Freuds

The Principles of Environmental Justice

Environmental Justice demands that public policy be based on mutual respect and justice for all peoples, free from any form of discrimination or bias.”

Community Currencies as Crisis Response: Results from a Randomized Control Trial in Kenya

“This paper presents the results of what may be the world’s first randomized control trial on community currencies. In 2020, Grassroots Economics’ Community Inclusion Currency (CIC) model was adopted by the Kenya Red Cross as a humanitarian response to the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The Wellbeing Transition – Eloi Laurent

“The purpose is to advance the understanding and undertaking of the well-being transition away from growth and toward resilience and sustainability, at a time when this progress has become a vital necessity”

Inclusive and sustainable economies: leaving no one behind (executive summary)

“There is a social gradient in health: the lower an individual’s socioeconomic position, as defined by their job, qualifications, income, wealth, and where they live, the worse their health. It has been estimated that, between 1 January 2003 and 31 December 2018, over a third of deaths in England were attributable to socioeconomic inequality. Such avoidable inequalities are unjust, and there is both a moral and economic argument for acting at scale to reduce health inequalities.”

Good Lives for All in Greater Manchester

Nothing we describe in this vision for the city-region is impractical or unachievable. Good things might be already happening somewhere, but they need to be happening everywhere.

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