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Blog by  Esther Snijder – WEAll Youth

 

 

All around the world, young people have come together to strike on behalf of the climate. They want the world leaders to start acting on their words and take a stand  for better climate policies. WEAll Youth joined them on the 7th of February in the Hague, the Netherlands and on the 10th of March in Amsterdam where more than 40.000  people joined the demonstration.

We started at Zwolle station, where there were already people  on the train carrying signs. It was so busy that we had to stand. The whole way there more people boarded the train and at the last stop, before the Hague, it was so busy that the train had to keep going because it could not fit any more people.   At the Malieveld, where the strike started, a speech was held by Youth For Climate. Youth For Climate is an organisation that initiates and supports   many of the climate strikes around Europe. Once we started walking through the street 10,000 students chanted: “What do we want? Climate Justice! When do we want it? NOW!”. We walked past the parliament building and afterwards we came back to the Malieveld again. It was very empowering to walk among so many people who were also standing up for their future.

The climate strikes started with Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old Swedish girl. She started in September, and has been striking every Friday since. Fridays For Future has since grown into an enormous movement of young people striking everyFriday and even on some  Thursday’s. Strikes have been held in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, England, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Scotland, Sweden, Switzerland & the US.

On the 15th of March is the global Friday for future strike.

What can you do? Join them!

Even if you are not a student.  Time to get out some paper and start making your sign!

Find out here if there is a strike near you: https://www.fridaysforfuture.org/events/list?fbclid=IwAR0dA0C-KSFqpJve0BKWunAhS1O1Bfk0kcYU4gkTpm8qKfrBEWEgONuZmNE

Towards a Global Impact Economy: Letter to G20 Leaders #GlobalImpactEconomy

WEAll is supporting some of its members and friends (Sistema B, The B Team, B LAb and GSG Impact Investment) in calling on the G20 country leaders to prioritise a wellbeing economy. Get involved with the petition on Change.org

From Change.org:

“The traditional economic system has many advantages, but it has also contributed to increasing inequity, to the extent that the top 1% of the population now own two-thirds of global wealth. In addition the environment continues to be seriously threatened, and more corruption is being uncovered that was always there. In this context, building a sustainable and inclusive future demands urgent redesign and change.

For this reason, a group of global organisations have joined together to write an Open Letter to governments of G20 member countries. The purpose of the document is to demonstrate, with concrete actions, that millions of people can be part of global scale solutions. Given that our world leaders will meet this month to discuss the global economy, we call on them to recognise and address the fact that today’s economy is not aligned with many of the real needs of society and the planet.

We need the economy to always have a positive impact on people and the planet

Concrete proposals:

1. Create a working group, as part of the G20 structure, to propose net positive impact economic policies.

2. Create mechanisms and a legal framework in all G20 countries for establishing ‘for-benefit” corporations.

3. Convene Leaders of global businesses, funds and NGOs to work with G20 governments over the long term on economic transition.

We invite you to join with your signature and echo this call.”

Sign the petition to add your voice now

“We have run out of time for commitments. We now need action. The world is watching.”

That’s the message a group of business leaders, purpose-driven entrepreneurs and impact investors are sending to the attendees gathering to represent the 19 countries and European Union at the G20.

More than ten years since the global financial meltdown, trust still must be rebuilt and long-term benefits and social equity must be prioritised. Now is the time for courageous business leadership to help create a future that serves people and the planet. In this spirit, leaders from  The B Team, B Lab, The Global Steering Group for Impact Investment (GSG) and Sistema B, with support from the Wellbeing Economy Alliance, have put forward this letter to urge movement from commitments to action.

Part of this call to action includes the following recommendations to the G20:

  1. Form a commission for the development of a Positive Impact Economy.
  2. Create New Corporate Forms that build on “for-benefit” models of business practices.
  3. Lead for the long run by establishing a new paradigm for responsible and sustainable impact investment and triple bottom line values.

Read the full letter below.

Add your support by signing the change.org petition now

15.11.2018 · TEATRO DEL LAGO, FRUTILLAR, CHILE

OPEN LETTER TO GOVERNMENTS OF THE G20 NATIONS

“Businesses urge G20 leaders to lead change to a global impact economy”

Today, more than ten years since the global financial meltdown, a group of business leaders, purpose-driven entrepreneurs and impact investors are coming together to call on the G20 countries to help build an economic system that serves people and planet.

Our current economic system has generated unprecedented progress that has resulted in increased global wealth, improved health, and reducing gender inequality. However, decades of prioritising GDP growth over social equity has resulted in historically high levels of inequality, with the top 1% of the population owning two-thirds of global wealth; destruction of natural capital, with the latest IPCC report concluding we are close to reaching our 1.5°C carbon budget, and the decline of social capital through rampant corruption, with 2 out of 3 countries in the world ranking below 50 on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI), putting at stake the very essence of our democracy and freedom.

If our economic systems continue to function as they are, these key indicators of wellbeing will continue along the current trajectory, severely impacting our current fragile economy.

This coalition serves over 2,500 B Corps from over 60 countries, international business leaders and investors around the world. We are committed to shifting global capital flows toward activities that generate net-positive social, environmental and financial results.

Given that you, our world leaders, are meeting this month to discuss our global economy, we are calling on G20 Heads of State to acknowledge and address the following reality:

COURAGEOUS GLOBAL LEADERSHIP IS NEEDED
We are facing a vacuum of global leadership for the common good. There is a significant need to redesign our economic system and its indicators around values that serve people and planet alongside profit, rather than short-term profit maximization and speculation. Systemic, rather than incremental change, is required.

TRUST MUST BE REBUILT
Our current economic system, with unbridled market forces and a lack of regulation for market failures, has led to failing ecosystems and catastrophic climate change, massive inequalities, and a loss of faith in business, governance and our political systems. This social capital can and must be rebuilt.

OUR FUTURE IS AT STAKE
Without collective action, the continued coupling of GDP growth and the destruction of natural and social capital will result in further economic collapse. A recognition of the interdependencies between governments, businesses and civil society is necessary to build a peaceful, sustainable and inclusive future, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Climate Agreement.

Our organizations therefore call on the G20 to:

  1. Form a commission for the development of a Positive Impact Economy – Engage representation from key sectors of society (including business leaders, policymakers & civil society etc.) to consult people around the world. The commission will:
    • Propose concrete policies to bring about a regenerative economy that supports the wellbeing of people and the planet. Policies to be considered as part of this approach may include universal access to health & education and mandated reporting on social and environmental impact for all governments, businesses and investors.
    • Build generally accepted Impact Principles and support the development of accounting standards for businesses that include the measurement of impact, enabling investors to apply impact-weighted methods of financial analysis and evaluation while appropriately valuing natural and social capital.
  2. Create New Corporate Forms – Build on the leadership of Colombia, Italy, and 34 states in the USA to create mechanisms in all G20 countries for establishing ‘for-benefit’ corporations which must, by definition, demonstrate how they are advancing the interests of people and the planet beyond short-term profit.
  3. Lead for the long run – Convene large-scale asset owners, asset managers, policymakers, business leaders and civil society to create rules which support a new paradigm of risk, return and impact for every business and investment decision. This will redirect vast flows of money to responsible, sustainable and impact investment, shifting capital towards triple bottom line returns.

We have run out of time for commitments. We now need action. The world is watching – Without leadership, both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement are at risk. What will we tell our children?

This coalition wants to work with you, and to thank your efforts. We look forward to reshaping the DNA of business and the economy for the wellbeing of people and the planet.

Paul Polman
CEO, Unilever
Chair, The B Team

Amit Bhatia
CEO, Global Steering Group for Impact Investment – GSG

Bart Houlahan
Co-Founder, B Lab

Pedro Tarak
Co-Founder and President
Sistema B Internacional

ANNEX 1

Coordinated by:

1. The B Team: The B Team is a catalyst for bold dialogue, inspiring courageous leadership and brave business action toward a fairer, greener and more human economy. The B Team’s global collective of business and civil society leaders are working together to build a principled and purpose-driven private sector and demonstrate that, with bold purpose, business becomes a force for good. The B Team was co-founded by Sir Richard Branson and Jochen Zeitz, and includes Leaders Oliver Bäte, Marc Benioff, Sharan Burrow, Kathy Calvin, Bob Collymore, David Crane, Emmanuel Faber, Christiana Figueres, Mats Granryd, Arianna Huffington, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, Dr. Mo Ibrahim, Yolanda Kakabadse, Isabelle Kocher, Guilherme Leal, Andrew Liveris, Indra Nooyi, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, François-Henri Pinault, Paul Polman, Mary Robinson, Ratan Tata, Hamdi Ulukaya, Zhang Yue and Professor Muhammad Yunus.

2. B Lab: B Lab is a nonprofit organization working globally with the goal of redefining the meaning of success in business (the DNA of business): to solve social, environmental and developmental problems through products and services, thus using business as a force for good. Its vision is that one day all companies compete not only to be the best in the world, but the Best for the World® and as a result society will enjoy a more shared and durable prosperity. Companies are certified as B Corps and change their bylaws.

3. GSG (The Global Steering Group for Impact Investment): GSG is an independent global steering group catalyzing impact investment and entrepreneurship to benefit people and the planet. The GSG was established in August 2015 as the successor to and incorporating the work of the Social Impact Investment Taskforce established under the UK’s presidency of the G8. The GSG currently has 21 member countries plus the EU, as well as active observers from leading network organizations. Chaired by Sir Ronald Cohen, the GSG brings together leaders from the worlds of finance, business, and philanthropy. The aim is that measurable impact is embraced as a deliberate driver in every investment and business decision affecting people and the planet and the mission that supports the institution is to harness the energy behind impact investment to deliver impact at scale and spark a movement around the world.

4. Sistema B: Sistema B aims to “redefine the meaning of success in the economy”. An economy that can create value for our civilization and our planet simultaneously by promoting forms of economic organization that are measured by the well-being of people, societies and nature. Since its creation in April 2012, in Latin America there are 10 national Sistema B including 10 local B Communities, over 1100 university professors teaching a triple impact business model, approximately 300.000 participants to festivals on impact economy, one Benefit Corporation legislation passed in Colombia, four bills being discussed in national parliaments and over 460 B Corps leading by the example through business. Together they account for more than 5 billion dollars in annual revenues.

Supported by:

5. Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll): WEAll is a broad movement that aims to bring about a transformation of the economic system, of society and of institutions so that we all prioritise shared wellbeing on a healthy planet. Established in spring 2018, WEAll’s efforts to catalyze system change stretch across three spheres: amplifying new narratives; working with others to push for structural reform; and cultivating positive disruptors. WEAll is a movement, not a representative body. With over 40 affiliated organisations around the world and growing daily, its membership includes an unprecedented breadth of approaches, views and expertise. The WEAll Amplification team is proud to support this initiative spearheaded by some of those members, but in doing so it does not act on behalf of its entire membership.

238 leading academics wrote an open letter to the EU this weekend, calling for the prioritisation of stability and wellbeing over GDP.

The experts, including WEAll Ambassador Kate Pickett, mention the vital role of WEAll in connecting the existing and  emerging wellbeing economy movement.

Read the full letter below or on the Guardian website here, where you can also see all the signatories.

If you agree with their call, you can add your voice by signing this petition to the EU.

The open letter

“This week, scientists, politicians, and policymakers are gathering in Brussels for a landmark conference. The aim of this event, organised by members of the European parliament from five different political groups, alongside trade unions and NGOs, is to explore possibilities for a “post-growth economy” in Europe.

For the past seven decades, GDP growth has stood as the primary economic objective of European nations. But as our economies have grown, so has our negative impact on the environment. We are now exceeding the safe operating space for humanity on this planet, and there is no sign that economic activity is being decoupled from resource use or pollution at anything like the scale required. Today, solving social problems within European nations does not require more growth. It requires a fairer distribution of the income and wealth that we already have.

 

Growth is also becoming harder to achieve due to declining productivity gains, market saturation, and ecological degradation. If current trends continue, there may be no growth at all in Europe within a decade. Right now the response is to try to fuel growth by issuing more debt, shredding environmental regulations, extending working hours, and cutting social protections. This aggressive pursuit of growth at all costs divides society, creates economic instability, and undermines democracy.

Those in power have not been willing to engage with these issues, at least not until now. The European commission’s Beyond GDP project became GDP and Beyond. The official mantra remains growth — redressed as “sustainable”, “green”, or “inclusive” – but first and foremost, growth. Even the new UN sustainable development goalsinclude the pursuit of economic growth as a policy goal for all countries, despite the fundamental contradiction between growth and sustainability.

The good news is that within civil society and academia, a post-growth movement has been emerging. It goes by different names in different places:décroissance, Postwachstumsteady-state or doughnut economicsprosperity without growth, to name a few. Since 2008, regular degrowth conferenceshave gathered thousands of participants. A new global initiative, the Wellbeing Economies Alliance (or WE-All), is making connections between these movements, while a European research network has been developing new “ecological macroeconomic models”. Such work suggests that it’s possible to improve quality of life, restore the living world, reduce inequality, and provide meaningful jobs – all without the need for economic growth, provided we enact policies to overcome our current growth dependence.

Some of the changes that have been proposed include limits on resource use, progressive taxation to stem the tide of rising inequality, and a gradual reduction in working time. Resource use could be curbed by introducing a carbon tax, and the revenue could be returned as a dividend for everyone or used to finance social programmes. Introducing both a basic and a maximum income would reduce inequality further, while helping to redistribute care work and reducing the power imbalances that undermine democracy. New technologies could be used to reduce working time and improve quality of life, instead of being used to lay off masses of workers and increase the profits of the privileged few.

Given the risks at stake, it would be irresponsible for politicians and policymakers not to explore possibilities for a post-growth future. The conference happening in Brussels is a promising start, but much stronger commitments are needed. As a group of concerned social and natural scientists representing all Europe, we call on the European Union, its institutions, and member states to:

1. Constitute a special commission on post-growth futures in the EU parliament. This commission should actively debate the future of growth, devise policy alternatives for post-growth futures, and reconsider the pursuit of growth as an overarching policy goal.

2. Incorporate alternative indicators into the macroeconomic framework of the EU and its member states. Economic policies should be evaluated in terms of their impact on human wellbeing, resource use, inequality, and the provision of decent work. These indicators should be given higher priority than GDP in decision-making.

3. Turn the stability and growth pact (SGP) into a stability and wellbeing pact. The SGP is a set of rules aimed at limiting government deficits and national debt. It should be revised to ensure member states meet the basic needs of their citizens, while reducing resource use and waste emissions to a sustainable level.

4. Establish a ministry for economic transition in each member state. A new economy that focuses directly on human and ecological wellbeing could offer a much better future than one that is structurally dependent on economic growth.”