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This month, the UK House of Lord’s COVID-19 Committee launched its first inquiry on Life Beyond COVID. The Committee is interested in the long-term impact of the pandemic on people’s daily lives as well as on society as a whole.

In its first inquiry, the Committee is inviting people to share their hopes and fears about what the pandemic might mean in the long-term for our home and working lives, and for how we function as a society – what might it mean for social cohesion, for (in)equality, for our environment or for arts and culture?

If your organisation is interested in engaging in some direct policy impact, make a submission (including stories/ material on lived experience) to inform the Life Beyond COVID initiative.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 31 August.

If you have any questions or would like any further information, contact Alex McMillan: mcmillana@parliament.uk

This week the #BuildBackBetter campaign has launched in earnest in the UK, and the Wellbeing Economy Alliance is proud to support it alongside more than 70 other diverse organisations.

The campaign calls for “a new deal that prioritises people, invests in our NHS and creates a robust, shockproof economy that is capable of tackling the climate crisis.” This includes a petition to MPs, which UK citizens can use to contact their representatives asking them to support the Build Back Better vision.

All coalition partners support the following high level principles for any coronavirus recovery plan in the UK:

1. Secure the health and needs of everyone in the UK now and into the future – irrespective of employment or nationality – including for food, healthcare, income, job security, good housing, and access to clean and affordable energy and heat, public transport, clean air and green spaces.

2. Protect and invest in our public services. From the NHS to paid and unpaid social care, from schools and colleges to rescue services, early years care and local authorities. The services that we all rely on must be properly funded, protected from privatisation and available to everyone, regardless of their immigration status.
3. Rebuild society with a transformative Green New Deal. The recovery plan must decarbonise the economy in a way that tackles inequality and enhances the lives of ordinary people, workers and communities. It should create thousands of new, well-paid, secure, unionised jobs across the country.

4. Invest in people. Ensure that the policies and investments for recovery do not prop up the profits of the big banks and the executives of corporations fuelling
climate change and inequality. We need to restructure public and private finance so that it redistributes power into the hands of people, workers and communities, and supports sectors that nourish our society and safeguards our future.
5. Build solidarity and community across borders. Our recovery should leave no-one behind – especially as much of the world begin their fight against Covid-19. Anything we do now, and in the longer-term recovery, should aim to end global injustices, conflict, and environmental degradation; must guarantee human rights and free movement; and promote changes that end global power inequalities. We must share solutions, technology and transfer finance where it’s needed.

WEAll Scotland has joined over 70 other Scottish organisations calling on First Minister Nicola Sturgeon and the government to commit to a “just and green recovery” after covid-19.

The #BuildBackBetterScot campaign, coordinated by Friends of the Earth Scotland, has written today to the First Minister setting out five principles for recovery and offering to support the process as Scotland moves forward.

The full text of the letter is below:

“Dear First Minister,

Scotland’s Just and Green Recovery from COVID-19

Representing a broad range of Scotland’s civil society, our organisations wish to meet with you to discuss our emerging vision of how Scotland can lead a radical response to the double crises of climate change and Coronavirus.

Across the world, communities, institutions and governments are engaged in an unprecedented global effort to save lives and protect the most vulnerable.

As Coronavirus and climate chaos tear apart people’s lives globally we are seeing pre- existing inequalities laid bare and exacerbated, as the poorest suffer worst.

Massive upheaval to people’s daily lives is our present reality and immediate future. Yet a simple return to business as usual is both unrealistic and undesirable.

As Scotland moves past a peak of infections our attention is turning to what comes next.

You have stated the need for a recovery that cuts climate emissions by “building a fairer, greener and more equal society”, an aim that we strongly agree with.

The COVID-19 crisis has laid bare how inequality is lethal to human life, but it has also shone a light on acts of solidarity and cooperation and centred the vital role of public services, key workers and unpaid carers. Amidst a global threat to human rights and democracy, this crisis has also brought forward the possibility of an economic revival that ensures resilience to future crises, including the climate emergency.

The recovery from Coronavirus is a rare chance to markedly accelerate the repurposing of government away from the prioritisation of economic growth and towards goals of wellbeing and sustainability, ending inequality and environmental destruction. This is a time for system change.

These are the steps we believe must be followed to deliver a just and green recovery:

1. Provide essential public services for people, not profit. Expand public ownership of public services and boost investment, including in social care, strengthen the NHS and cradle-to-grave education, and create zero-carbon social and cooperative housing instead of buy-to-let.

The First Minister The Scottish Government St Andrew’s House Regent Road Edinburgh EH1 3DG

Friday 29th May 2020

  1. Protect marginalised people and those on low incomes by redistributing wealth. Provide adequate incomes for all instead of bailouts for shareholders, significantly raise taxes on the wealthy, ensure all public workers receive at least the real Living Wage and strengthen health, safety and workers’ rights, including access to flexible home working. Investigate and mitigate the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 and social distancing on women, children and young people, disabled people, LGBTI people, people of colour, key workers, unpaid carers, private renters, and those on lower incomes.
  2. Provide new funds to transform our society and economy to meet Scotland’s Fair Share of climate emissions cuts and greatly enhance biodiversity. Create and protect jobs in sustainable travel, renewable heat, affordable local food and energy efficiency, with ambitious green employment opportunities for young people and support for retraining where whole industries are affected. Put measures in place to ensure all government programmes tackle inequality, public health and the just transition away from fossil fuels, excluding rogue employers, tax avoiders, major polluters and arms manufacturers from bailouts.
  3. Strengthen democracy and human rights during these crises. Withdraw new police powers, surveillance measures and restrictions on protest as soon as possible. Enable full scrutiny of planning and policy decisions. Create an independent Recovery Commission founded on participatory democracy to engage and empower communities, trade unions and civil society. Introduce fundamental human rights into Scots law so that safety nets are always in place for the most vulnerable.
  4. Offer solidarity across borders by proactively supporting an international Coronavirus and climate emergency response that challenges the scapegoating of migrants, centres on the worst affected, bolsters global public health, development and environmental bodies, and ensures equitable access to COVID-19 treatment. Use the UN climate talks in Glasgow to push for robust implementation of the Paris deal, platforming the voices of indigenous and frontline communities and advancing climate finance and global debt cancellation. Ensure coherence between all domestic policy and global sustainable development outcomes.

Decisions made in times of crisis have long-lasting consequences. After the 2008 financial crisis, inequality grew and climate emissions spiralled. We want to see this moment seized for the common good, not repeat the mistakes of the past.

Civil society has a central role to play in helping to shape Scotland’s future in this unprecedented time. We look forward to meeting with you to address how we can realise a truly just and green recovery.”

Members of the public can support the call by signing this petition.

Organisations can add their support via this form.

Reposted from the site of Social Enterprise Mark CIC, which is part of WEAll Member Social Value UK

By Sophie Short

Calling on Government to #SaveOurSocents

Social Enterprise Mark CIC is working with partners in the social economy to call on the Government to make some small changes to the way it is currently distributing business support, to ensure the long-term sustainability of the UK’s 100,000 social enterprises, co-operatives and community businesses.

We realise that many social enterprises have been falling through the cracks of Government support and are unable to access the necessary grants and loans to keep their businesses afloat. We are urging the Government to act now to ensure social enterprises are supported to get through this crisis, which we believe will increase the chance of a quick, fair and inclusive recovery from this lockdown.

We have written a letter to the Chancellor to outline a four-point action plan to ensure social enterprises receive appropriate support:

  1. Extending existing business grants to include social enterprises;
  2. Changing the delivery of loan finance to work for social enterprises;
  3. Opening up emergency financing for public services to social enterprises delivering services on behalf of the state;
  4. Providing business support so that social enterprises can use any funds they do receive effectively to transition their business.

Lucy Findlay, Managing Director of Social Enterprise Mark CIC said “Social enterprises are part of the glue that holds our society together. They will now be needed more than ever to help rebuild a more resilient economy moving forwards. To not invest in them now risks huge holes in getting back to normal and will leave the most vulnerable without the support that they so desperately need.

How you can help

We are calling on our network and the wider social enterprise community to back our call to the Government for urgent support. Please complete this short form to add your support to our letter to the Chancellor.

The below is the introduction to the report ‘The state of the growing movement fighting inequality‘. reposted from the Fight Inequality alliance

In the 21st century so far, levels of inequality within and between countries have been rising. The neoliberal economic system has enabled an explosion in the concentrations of wealth and power in our societies: 26 individuals now hold the same wealth as the 3.8 billion poorest people.1 Interconnected and systemic forms of oppression and inequity such as racism, patriarchy and homophobia shape the daily realities of the majority of the world’s population.

Rising authoritarianism is fuelled by growing inequality and concentration of power. It is resulting in attacks on freedoms and protections on assembly, association, and speech— rights that peoples’ movements exercise in order to organise and influence action—as well as the enhanced targeting of particular marginalised groups and minorities by many regimes.

The Fight Inequality Alliance was formed to fight this growing crisis of inequality. Numerous groups came together to establish the Alliance: leading international and national non-profit organisations, human rights campaigners, women’s rights groups, environmental groups, faith-based organisations, trade unions, social movements, artists, individual activists and other civil society organisations. They had a shared vision for radical, systemic change and tackling the root causes of inequality through a people powered movement2.

This research was initiated by Fight Inequality Alliance with the support of the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity programme at the International Inequalities Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science. Fight Inequality Alliance partnered with Rhize to lead the research, building on their experience in studying multi-country social movements3.

This study was conducted in response to the evident gap in existing research on inequality, which has to date has focused on tracking and analysing its rise in different forms. Much less attention has been given to the analysis of campaigning and organising against inequality. This research aims to widen and deepen our collective understanding of movements fighting inequality around the world.

The research findings are based on 138 responses to a 30 minute survey and over 40 in-depth interviews conducted between 2018 and 2019 with people in 23 countries across Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe.

Read the report here

Let me start by telling you a secret, you can’t tell my boss though. When I first got a job at The Equality Trust I didn’t really know what inequality was. This is probably partly down to my privilege, but if you asked me to define it, there and then, as I was being interviewed, I’d have been toast. 

So when I started at The Equality Trust, I did what everyone does, I googled it. Then I read books on it, really good books. Then I watched Ted Talks on it and listened to podcasts but still it couldn’t quite stick. I couldn’t quite make sense of it in my head. Until I heard a story about it

Then I got it. Inequality is everywhere, every time you get that sick feeling of injustice in your stomach, the feeling you can’t define when you are a child, the feeling of sadness at the state of the world, that’s inequality. It’s everywhere and ever present. 

So how do we fight inequality? Well how about stories? After all, it worked for me.  

At The Equality Trust we have created a new platform to hear people’s stories about their experience of inequality… and it involves you. It’s called Everyday Inequality and brings home all the stats: think Humans of New York meets Everyday Sexism, but we’re talking about inequality in all its forms. 

We are facing unprecedented changes to our world. The climate crisis, shockingly unfair  levels of income distribution, insecure work and unequal pay. Inequality is entrenched in all these issues, yet there is no platform or forum providing information or access to the lived experience of inequality or its everyday impacts. Amongst the statistics, policy briefings and panels of experts, we forget real people’s voices and stories of inequality are lost. 

Everyday Inequality aims to change this. We are bringing together blogs, interviews, podcasts, poetry, music, art, videos and photography that showcase the real, diverse stories of what inequality feels like.

Videos, words, poems, performances – all forms of creative storytelling are welcome. Anyone can contribute, you don’t need any experience or a specific story to tell. You just need to be open to starting a conversation and talking about your personal experience, in whatever form you are most comfortable. We want this to be diverse and unique. Because inequality is bad for all of us, not just for people at the sharp end but those at top as well.

To find out more about the project, please get in touch with  frankie.galvin@equalitytrust.org.uk or visit our sign up form here. 

Frankie Galvin is Campaigns and Administrative Assistant at the Equality Trust

Dear Adult,

We are WEAll Youth and hereby we are inviting you to join the global climate strikes on the 20th and 27th of September.

In recent months, Greta Thunberg and millions of other students have been striking for the climate.

Right before our governments will gather at the United Nations for the Climate Action Summit on September 23, we will strike again.

Join us at the global climate strike on the 20th and 27th of September.

This is not just a call for students and young people, this is a call for everyone. We need to show our politicians something needs to happen now, to show them that business, as usual, is no longer an option.

Let’s make them see that we all need economic system change, that we all need to transform the current profit focussed economy to an economy that puts people and planet first.

WEAll Youth will be there, will you join us? Use #WEAll and #WEAll Youth on your banners and let’s see how many places we can take the message that in order to tackle climate change we all need economic system change. If you can’t be there in person, you can participate in the digital strike.

For more information and to check if there is a strike near you check out this website: https://globalclimatestrike.net/ 

We can’t wait to see you there,

WEAll Youth

Esther, Pien and Mara are part of the WEAll Youth core team. For more about WEAll Youth see here.

This content is reposted from Corporate Europe 

“In preparation for the complicated process of hiring 27 new EU Commissioners, Corporate Europe Observatory joined forces with organisations defending women’s rights, democracy, public health and the environment, to outline the ideal profile of Commissioner candidates.

With the selection of Ursula von der Leyen as new President of the European Commission now behind us, EU Institutions are gearing up for the complicated process of hiring 27 new EU Commissioners.

Each EU Member State nominates a candidate to the Commission, who will then need to be vetted by the European Parliament. Those that followed this process in 2014 will surely remember the many problems that can appear during this recruitment – from Commissioners with severe conflicts of interest with the industry they are meant to regulate, to sexism.

To ensure we don’t see a repetition of this situation, Corporate Europe Observatory has joined forces with organisations defending women’s rights, democracy, public health and the environment, to outline and suggest the ideal profile of EU Commissioner candidates.

We also wrote directly to the EU Heads of State ahead of the May 2019 Sibiu Summitt. EU citizens now count on their governments to deliver a list of candidates that is gender balanced, conflict of interest free and who will put public interest first.

Job ad: European Commissioners
Primary Location: Brussels, Belgium
Job Function: European Commissioner

Mission of the role

The people of Europe are looking for European Commissioners for the 2019-2024 term to take strategic leadership in putting people at the center of EU policy-making and to champion a just transition towards a sustainable economy and society for all.

Every day, people across Europe struggle with growing poverty and inequality, deteriorating access to healthcare and worrying levels of youth unemployment. Urgent problems go unsolved – the climate crisis, air pollution killing hundreds of thousands of residents, refugees and migrants fleeing war treated inhumanely, to name a few. Causes the EU once championed, such as gender equality and guaranteeing civil rights and labour rights, have stagnated.

Many people in the EU feel frustrated, and have lost trust in the capacity of the EU institutions to respond to their aspirations, fueling Euroscepticism across the continent. The rise of nationalism and xenophobia across Europe is a worrying sign and a severe threat to the EU’s fundamental values, to our health and well-being, to our future, and to the European project itself.

As European Commissioner, you will have a unique opportunity to restore trust in the EU, provide a better life for all of us, and prosperity for future generations and the planet.

Role and Responsibilities

You will serve people in the EU and beyond, by developing and implementing public interest- driven policies and positively contributing to a vision of Europe that:

  • Puts public interest first
  • Achieves the 2030 agenda for sustainable development
  • Respects the universal values of freedom, equality, democracy, the rule of law and human rights
  • Delivers a strong social pillar in Europe
  • Delivers decent, sustainable jobs for all
  • Ensures the freedom of expression, association and assembly, including free media across Europe
  • Takes urgent climate action to limit warming to 1.5°C and phases out fossil fuels quickly, showing global leadership
  • Promotes just and sustainable transition to a 100% renewable energy supply, which is clean, affordable and supports community ownership and does not lead to energy poverty
  • Promotes sustainable and healthy food systems, more environmental and nature protection, increased food sovereignty and regional farmers’ markets
  • Ensures fair taxation
  • Pursues a sustainable trade agenda that is designed to advance well-being and the public interest, instead of cost and burden reduction for companies, and that end existing VIP rights for investors
  • Supports legally binding European and international human rights obligations for its businesses that operate overseas, including push for a UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights
  • Puts human rights at the centre of the response to migration
  • Contributes to a people-centred and gender-sensitive EU budget
  • Develops a needs-driven and responsible research and innovation policy
  • Ensures a high level of protection of human health and well-being in all EU policies
  • Ensures Europe cracks down on corruption both within and outside Europe and promotes greater transparency in member state and EU policy-making
  • Ensures meaningful public participation in EU policy-making processes
  • Ensures the corporate and the financial sector deliver for people and planet, not for profit

Essential Requirements

Candidates are expected prioritise the interests of people over those of economic and financial actors; by, among other things, limiting meetings with corporate lobbyists and ensuring that those meetings that take place are transparent.

Only candidates without conflicts of interest will be considered for this role. Such conflicts of interest can arise from candidates’ – or their spouses, partners or family members – financial investments or professional roles. Cases of this nature can not only impair the ability of these commissioners to act with impartiality, but they also taint the image of the EU institutions.

Additional Information

The EU is now striving to be an equal opportunities employer hence we particularly welcome applications from women; people of different ethnic, religious, and educational backgrounds; migrants; people with disabilities and LGBTI+ people.

Compensation Packages and Benefits

  • A generous compensation package, according to EU standards;
  • Transitional allowance at the end of the term to prevent any conflicts of interests with regard to the candidate’s prospective employment after leaving public office.

With this compensation package, paid by taxpayers money, we only expect the candidate to defend people’s interests above all.

To find out more and apply contact your national government as they will be responsible for nominating the candidates.”

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.

On 15 September 2018, the ten year anniversary of the collapse of Lehman Brothers, #WEAll campaigners gave away free money outside the bank’s former building in New York. The purpose: to urge people to rethink our relationship with the economy, and to promote sharing, collaboration and dialogue. #FreeMoneyDay #10yearson

Photo and video by Create the Remarkable

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.”

Blog post by Lisa Hough-Stewart

What happens when you give away free money to strangers?

WEAll teamed up with our members the Post Growth Institute and Finance Watch to do just that.

On September 15, 2018, ten years to the day from the collapse of Lehman Brothers (which triggered the financial crash), a small group of us stood opposite the old Lehman Brothers building on 7th Avenue in New York, and dished out cash.

This stunt was part of the Change Finance coalition’s #10yearson campaign. The purpose was simple: to provoke people to think about our relationship with money and what the economy is for, encouraging sharing and collaboration instead of greed. To emphasize the point, we invited everyone to take two dollars – one to keep, and one to pass on to someone else.

In preparing for this stunt, I gave plenty of thought to our messages, the logistics, the risks – and not much thought to how people would react. In fact, I assumed that the $500 we had to give away would disappear within half an hour, with people grabbing bills as quickly as they could.

The reality was more complex, and it said a lot about our relationship with money: exactly what we were there to explore! At first, almost everyone was wary and confused, and many would not engage with us at all, refusing to believe anyone would just hand out money with no catch.

We didn’t get a lot of outright negativity, but a lot of people were quick to put up their hands and say, “I’ve got enough”. A nice sentiment, as our economy certainly needs a better concept of “enough”: it was pretty clear, though, that this response was defensive. People did not want to be seen to be in need.

Our pitch went along the lines of “It’s free money day! You get a dollar, and you pass one on to someone else”. The last part of the sentence was transformational. We could see the penny drop, as people who had been quickening their pace to avoid us suddenly smiled, slowed down and started to engage. The sharing element connected with people instantly, and that’s when they wanted to know more about what we were doing.

My favourite part was the people who really got into the spirit of it, eager to give away their dollar straight away – a few even joined our team for a while! Kids were particularly thrilled not just to get a buck but to hand out money to others. I lost count of the number of people who said we made their day.

It didn’t take half an hour to get rid of $500 on a Saturday afternoon in New York City. It took almost two hours. In those two hours, we had conversations with strangers lasting from a few seconds to fifteen or twenty minutes. We shared ideas, laughter and hugs with these strangers as we connected over the idea that we all can do better, and build an economy that works for people and planet.

  • Free Money Day is a global event in which people hand out money to strangers in order to raise awareness and start conversations about the benefits of economies based on sharing. http://www.freemoneyday.org/
  • Finance Watch is an independent, non-profit, publicinterest association dedicated to making finance work for society. It was created in June 2011 to be a citizen’s counterweight to the lobbying of the financial industry and conducts technical and policy advocacy in favour of financial regulations that will make finance serve society. It now expands its mission to include work on campaigns that demand systemic change, and coordinates the Change Finance coalition. 
  • The #10YearsOn campaign has involved over 60 organisations to reimagine the financial system. Its demands are focused on a financial system that serves people and planet, that is democratically governed, and that is stable.

Images by Create The Remarkable