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“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.

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

Find out more about our team members here 

Ana Gomez 

What’s kept you busy in October?

  • Onboarding and meeting with new members – the network is growing all the time!
  • Spending time as a team in Malaga which was vital to confirm our priorities
  • Recharging my energy with time off in both Scotland and Spain

October highlight:

  • Helping to deliver the WEAll Scotland launch event in Edinburgh – I was inspired by everything happening to create a wellbeing economy there

November priorities:

  • Developing some ideas I’m really excited about to help further connect members and create spaces for dialogue within the movement
  • Cultivating new communications channels for working with members

Lisa Hough-Stewart 

What’s kept you busy in October?

  • Planning and creating content for the communications around NESI Global Forum 2019
  • Supporting the WEAll Scotland launch and strategic thinking
  • Considering the role for WEAll in work around finance by participating in the global Ethical Finance conference and Change Finance convenors meeting (this is really interesting for me given my background working in the banking sector!)

October highlight:

  • I’m so proud of, and excited by, the great work happening in Scotland. The energy at the WEAll Scotland launch was fantastic

November priorities:

  • The launch and promotion of NESI Global Forum 2019 ticket sales – watch this space!
  • Supporting events to promote Stewart’s book ‘A Finer Future’ and Katherine’s forthcoming book ‘Arrival’
  • Developing concept notes and plans for our Citizens initiative and other comms work

 

Katherine Trebeck

What’s kept you busy in October?

  • A wonderful trip to Malmo and Copenhagen where I met with people working on changing the economy for discussions and presentations about transitions, narrative, wellbeing economy businesses, and shifting EU policy
  • So much is happening in Scotland – as well as the WEAll Scotland launch event, I also did a key-note at an international Zero Waste summit, took part in a Finance Innovation Lab event, and spoke on a panel about business and sustainability with the Institute of Chartered Accountants
  • Taking forward our narrative work, both by planning for a workshop at Lancaster University in collaboration with our members the Green Economy Coalition, and by developing ideas and funding bids for future work

October highlight:

  • The trip to Malmo and Copenhagen was a timely chance to see how people’s eyes light up when they hear about a wellbeing economy and how they want to get involved. And it was a wonderful chance to spend time with WEAll members Flo, Lars and Fredrik

November priorities:

  • Travelling to Rio to speak at the incredible CollaboroAmerica event, and also at a gathering of the wonderful This is Not the Truth project
  • Accompanying the Scottish Government to the OECD meeting in South Korea where they will participate in a session about the Wellbeing Economy Governments project. I’m also chairing another panel at that event
  • Having the Wellbeing Economies film crew in Scotland (have you seen the film’s awesome trailer yet?)

 

Stewart Wallis

What’s kept you busy in October?

  • After two months of ‘re-retirement’, it has been great to reconnect with the WEAll Amp team and our members. The team spent time together in Malaga doing vital work on our strategy and priorities
  • Presenting at and participating in the Economics of Happiness conference in Bristol, organised by WEAll members Happy City and Local Futures
  • Meetings with potential funders and developing funding proposals

October highlight:

  • The launch of ‘A Finer Future’, a book that I co-authored with Hunter Lovins, Anders Wjikman and John Fullerton. It’s been very well received so far

November priorities:

  • Promoting the book including (hopefully!) an event in London with Hunter when she visits the UK
  • Developing a proposal for WEAll’s governance structure
  • Exploring some exciting funding opportunities for WEAll

 

Michael Weatherhead

What’s kept you busy in October?

  • Designing and delivering our team strategy days in Malaga to help us prioritise and to work better together
  • Finalising WEAll’s 3 year project plan after our strategy sessions, in order to share it with funders and partners
  • Managing the recruitment process for two people to deliver the NESI Academy project, which will tackle underemployment in Andalucia. We’ve appointed two great candidates and I’m looking forward to working with them

October highlight:

  • Setting up the content group for NESI Global Forum. WEAll members are contributing to the development of the forum programme

November priorities:

  • Working with the business cluster, we will be developing a proposal for a Wellbeing Economy guide for businesses
  • Agreeing next steps with Velcro for our partnership with them
  • Development of content for NESI Global Forum 2019 – I’m hoping we can confirm some impressive speakers and contributors soon

WEAll Knowledge and Policy Lead Katherine is a special guest on the latest podcast from The Rescope Project, talking about the need to build a wellbeing economy, and her forthcoming book ‘The Economics of Arrival: ideas for a grown up economy’.

Listen here, or check it out on Rescope Radio.

https://soundcloud.com/rescoperadio/029-launching-the-wellbeing-economy-alliance-with-research-director-dr-katherine-trebeck?utm_source=soundcloud&utm_campaign=share&utm_medium=twitter

Blog by Stewart Wallis, WEAll Chair

Amongst the many different groups and individuals worldwide arguing for a new economic system, there is considerable agreement not only about what urgently needs to change but also on the goals and main ingredients of the much -needed new system. Such a system would focus on maximising wellbeing, meeting the fundamental needs of all humans, regenerating degraded ecological and social systems, and living within local and planetary ecological limits. A new book of which I am a co-author “A Finer Future” covers in detail the elements of such a new system.

Where there is much less certainty and agreement is: how to bring this desired new system into being? How to make it happen?

This was the critical question that exercised myself and colleagues during my 12 years at the New Economics Foundation (NEF). For many years our theory of change was to produce ground-breaking reports based on thorough research and to disseminate the findings through compelling communications backed by both insider lobbying and outsider campaigning in alliance with others. We then often formed partnerships with communities and civil society to demonstrate that these new approaches worked in practice. All this is necessary but – as we came to realise – not sufficient.

Studying successful major system changes over the past 300 years, we and others found that the following elements are also vital:

  1. Organisations and individuals working together across sectors and at different scales to create a vanguard power base.
  2. Compelling positive new stories or narratives
  3. Sufficient coherence of both theory and practice

There are many organisations already doing fantastic work on each of these elements. WEAll (the Wellbeing Economy Alliance) has been created this year not to duplicate this work or compete with it but to amplify it so that together we can catalyse the necessary system change.

Already, over 30 international networks, coalitions and organisations have joined WEAll as members. A small amplification team has been set up; coalition building work has commenced at three levels- governments, cities and businesses; an international group of academics are collaborating on areas where wellbeing economic theory is insufficiently coherent; narrative groups are being established; and a number of country level cross-sectoral groups are being formed including WEAll Scotland.

WEAll members include Local Futures and Happy City: the co-hosts of the Bristol 2018 ‘Economics of Happiness’ conference which runs from 19-21 October. This conference will focus on system change to put human flourishing and happiness at the heart of a new economic system. I am delighted to be participating in this conference and believe that it will be an important step towards the goal so many of us are working for.

Some people argue that system change will only happen when there is a further massive economic crisis. We believe that this is a dangerous argument; history shows clearly that major crises not only cause serious harm to the least powerful people but can also provide fertile ground for the rise of deeply unpleasant variants of populism and nationalism. Furthermore, the time for action is now – not tomorrow! Together we already possess the power to change the system. Join WEAll in making this happen.

Stewart is a keynote speaker at the Economics of Happiness conference in Bristol, UK (19-21 October) – find out more and get tickets here.

Blog by Lisa Hough-Stewart

At the first WEAll Scotland event in Edinburgh this week I spoke about the need for a wellbeing economy with a farmer. And with an artist. As well as an investment banker, a civil servant, a teacher, a scientist – and so many more. This event really was for everyone, and one of the many things about it that made me feel hopeful was the rich diversity of views and experiences in the room.

Keynote speaker Jacqueline McGlade (former Chief Scientist of UNEP and currently of University College London and Maasai Mara University) struck a chord with the Scottish audience when she called for a “a juggernaut of change” to bring about a systemic shift. Crucially, this change must be global and inclusive, but she and other speakers highlighted the potential for Scotland to play a leadership role.

The purpose of the day was to launch the concept of a wellbeing economy and WEAll as an alliance that aims to connect, enhance and amplify the work of the existing movement in Scotland. Katherine Trebeck, of the WEAll global Amp team and WEAll Scotland team, delivered an inspiring presentation showcasing some of the amazing “chinks of light” projects and ideas around the world demonstrating that a wellbeing economy already exists. She also emphasized that the event was happening as part of Challenge Poverty Week – and during Climate Challenge and Good Money Weeks, too. All great examples of people recognizing change is needed, across linked agendas that WEAll is working on.

Doreen Grove from WEAll Scotland said in her talk: “We know what people care about – having meaningful lives, having agency. When we talk about changing the system though, everyone needs to be there not just those with power.”

Perhaps not everyone in Scotland was there for the inaugural WEAll Scotland meeting but a meaningful cross-section of Scottish society brought their experience and voices to the room. After hearing the global perspective from Jacqui and Katherine, it was over to the participants to analyse what can be done in Scotland to advance the wellbeing economy agenda.

There were healthy challenges from participants about the value WEAll can add, and no shortage of ideas for action. The WEAll Scotland team has an exciting to-do list as a result of afternoon discussions about prioritization! We heard that support is needed to help accelerate the good work already happening, help people connect and collaborate, and to support those going against the current system, because it is hard tiring work.

As Carol Tannahill (Head of Social Policy for the Scottish Government and director of the Glasgow Centre for Population Health) summarized, hope was an overarching theme for the day, with positive energy and optimism brimming from all discussions. This is, participants agreed, a unique moment for Scotland. Political will, public engagement and capacity to change seem to be intersecting, and together they provide fertile ground for Scotland to act as a leader in the shift to a wellbeing economy.

The event was an important milestone on the route to a wellbeing economy for Scotland – to follow this journey or get involved in Scotland check out www.wellbeingeconomy.org/scotland

 

 

 

 

 

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

Find out more about our team members here 

Ana Gomez 

What’s kept you busy in September?
  • Onboarding new members
  • Ongoing communication with existing and potential members, deepening relationships and ensuring that all members have what they need
  • Supporting the development of the Malaga hub and getting a new app ready for launch
September highlight:
  • I really enjoyed our September member calls, they’re becoming really useful and participative, and it’s great to welcome new members to them
October priorities:
  • Helping to deliver WEAll Scotland’s first event and supporting the team there
  • More work with and for members – I want to bring proposals for working together and deepen relationships still further
  • Planning logistics and production for NESI Forum 2019
  • Spending time with the rest of the Amp team in person

Lisa Hough-Stewart 

What’s kept you busy in September?
  • Planning and delivery of our #10yearson stunt in New York. Collaborating with Finance Watch and Post Growth Institute was great
  • Coordinating the first public WEAll event in New York at Fordham University. It was wonderful to meet US members and make new connections
  • After launching the WEAll website and social media channels right at the start of September, I’ve been continually developing them and creating/sharing content
September highlight:
  • I’m proud of the Free Money Day stunt we did as part of the #10yearson campaign in New York, especially the video! Watch it here
October priorities:
  • Developing the communications plan for NESI Forum 2019, and getting ready to launch ticket sales with a website update and press release in early November
  • Medium-long term planning on our communications and mobilisation goals, including working with the newly formed comms working group
  • Supporting the WEAll Scotland launch event and follow up work
  • Spending time on strategy and planning as a team in Malaga

Diego Isabel

What’s kept you busy in September?
  • Our trip to New York, where we hosted the first public WEAll event at Fordham and also had the chance to connect with US members, and bring them together for the first time
  • Producing a data report about Spanish consumer opinions and behaviour around wellbeing and ethics
  • Lots of productive meetings with partners in Spain, including to discuss plans for NESI Forum 2019
  • Acting as MC for the brilliant European Ideas Lab event in Madrid
September highlight:
  • Giving away free money opposite Lehman Brothers on the ten year anniversary of the crash, especially working with our members Post Growth Institute and Finance Watch
October priorities:
  • Meeting the Amp team in person to focus our energies and discuss strategy, planning and working together effectively
  • Moving into the next gear with preparations for NESI Forum 2019
  • Fundraising efforts, and various meetings including with local hubs in Spain
  • Setting up and starting to work with the WEAll strategy group

Katherine Trebeck

What’s kept you busy in September?
  • Having a week in a cabin to focus on research content, both reading the latest that’s out there in the knowledge sphere, and writing blogs and articles
  • Attending a convening in Bellagio, and seeing diverse people and organisations rallying around the concept of wellbeing (though this is admittedly also a risk – blog to come!)
  • Partnership working with Green Economy Coalition to advance narrative work and submit a funding proposal to EC DEAR
September highlight:
  • With support from us, the Scottish Government have been showing real leadership in their work with other governments on the wellbeing economy
October priorities:
  • WEAll Scotland’s first event – Wealth of Nations 2.0, and all the follow-up afterwards to define the action plan and offer
  • Several presentations and appearances to engage with new audiences (to Transitions Town in Malmo, to city officials in Malmo, to the Institute of Chartered Accountants, to Aberdeen Standard Life)
  • Getting the Research Fellows Network moving forward

Stewart Wallis

Stewart has been enjoying a well-earned rest in August and September – after coming out of retirement to help set up and run WEAll, he has temporarily re-retired! The team can’t wait to welcome him back in October.

Michael Weatherhead

What’s kept you busy in September?
  • Creating and sharing plans for the business cluster and getting a business education sub group up and running
  • Strengthening connections between WE Africa and WEAll
  • Attending OECD meetings in Paris – meeting partners, members and funders, and advancing the WEAll message
September highlight:
  • Making connections at the OECD
October priorities:
  • Agreeing content and form of the NESI Forum 2019 with co-creation team (and also setting up this team!)
  • Face to face meeting in Malaga with the Amp team
  • Making the plans for the business cluster operational

WEAll’s Katherine Trebeck writes for CUSP on “Making transformation tangible”.

Excerpt:

“The vision underpinning so much of this work is not far away. You hear it if you take the time to listen to what people identify as most important in their lives. You read it in certain texts of the world’s religions and development scholarship. You see it if you look at brain scans or reflect on the findings of psychologists and epidemiologists about human stress and flourishing. It flows from what Tim Jackson often refers to as what makes us ‘innately human’.

Essentially, the messages from these diverse quarters point to the need for a ‘wellbeing economy’: an economy in service of human and ecological wellbeing. It is about meeting the needs of all. It recognises that the economy is embedded in society and the rest of nature rather than nature and society being in service of the economy. A wellbeing economy is about more than tweaking and fixing the harm caused by the current model.”

Read the full blog here

WEAll’s Katherine Trebeck has published a new blog for Transformations Forum, “Teaming up to transform the economy”.

Excerpt:

“A nice vision perhaps, but changing an economic system is extraordinarily challenging.

Fortunately, many are rolling up their sleeves and creating projects, policies, and programmes that illustrate a wellbeing economy: from businesses with a social or environmental mission to new ways of local decision making; from pushing for policies that seek to open up space for experimentation to projects that epitomise – even in microcosm – that things can be done differently.

But how can all these initiatives add up to sometime more systemic? Can they ever be more than the sum of their parts?”

Read the full blog here.

Wellbeing Economy Alliance Launches in U.S.

Marking a decade after the financial crisis, group calls for transformation of economy

Sept. 20, 2018 – New York – A decade after the financial crisis, the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll) today announced its U.S. launch, with a commitment to transform the economic system in pursuit of sustainable wellbeing for people and the environment.

This new alliance will build on the long-term efforts of the new economy movement, amplifying existing and emerging work that demonstrates the feasibility of shifting the economic paradigm away from growth at all costs, towards collaboration and shared flourishing.

The launch will take place today at a Fordham University conference where participants will hear from a diverse range of speakers, including private business leaders, academics and financial specialists focused on developing a wellbeing economy.

“The 2008 crash was one of the clearest indicators that the system is broken,” said Diego Isabel, Strategy and Connections Lead for WEAll. “Global leaders did not take the opportunity ten years ago to transform the economic system to the benefit of all. A wellbeing economy recognizes that the economy is embedded in society and the rest of nature and that true success depends on creating a world where we all prosper and flourish.”

“Businesses have an essential role to play in this transformation, and we are pleased to be part of the dialogue WEAll has begun,” Tom Cripps, Board of Directors, Velcro Companies, said. “Velcro Companies was built on products that reflect nature’s genius, so we see sustainability as a must-have, not a nice-to-have, component of our economic model and ultimately a key driver of long-term success.  We are working with companies worldwide to lead a transformational change in the way business is done and embrace a larger social purpose that complements and enhances our traditional business goals.”

WEAll’s Katherine Trebeck has written a chapter for a new ebook by Open Democracy, available free here. Edited by Laurie Macfarlane, “New Thinking for the British Economy” brings together leading thinkers to outline the broad pillars of a new economic agenda, and the type of policies that are needed to get us there. As well as more traditional policy areas such as trade, finance, housing and industrial policy, the book explores a range of areas that are not typically considered to be within the sphere of economic policy but which nonetheless play a critical role shaping our political economy – such as the media, our care systems, racial inequalities and our constitutional arrangements.

Katherine’s chapter – “Building a Wellbeing Economy” – explains that GDP is a wholly inadequate measure of progress for the twenty-first century: the narrow pursuit of growth-at-all-costs is failing to meet human needs and destroying the planet. Repurposing the economy away from GDP towards outcomes that align economic success with the delivery of human and ecological wellbeing is therefore an essential step towards an economy that works for people and planet.

Download the ebook for free now.

 

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.”

WEAll Policy and Knowledge lead Katherine appears on the latest Politics Galore! podcast, talking wellbeing economies, and a little bit of Scottish politics.

Wondering what WEAll is all about, and what we’re hoping to achieve?

Amp team members Katherine and Lisa wrote a piece for the Transforming Capitalism Lab, part of our member The Presencing Institute.

Read it here and join the discussion.

Katherine Trebeck, WEAll Policy and Knowledge lead, sat down with Brazilian media outlet “This is not the truth” to explore the need for a wellbeing economy and how we can get there.

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

Find out more about our team members here 

Ana Gomez 

What’s kept you busy in August?
  • Helping Lisa build WEAll’s new website, focusing on Member’s details, donation software, and anything she has needed. Supporting each other is a common goal for all of us!
  • Enjoying an amazing and fruitful face-to-face meeting with Lisa, Diego, Rebeca and myself to organise the coming months in terms of September event, and thinking ahead to NESI 2019
  • Working on the onboarding process to welcome new members/friends/groups into the movement. Getting to know interested organisations and individuals! 
August highlight:
  • Lisa’s visit to Malaga to work together with Diego and myself. It’s rare to have the chance to see each other in person but when it happens we get the most out of it, at working and human level. 
September priorities:
  • WEAll Scotland event. Collaborating with Ellie Logan and the whole team in WEAll Scotland to celebrate at the beginning of October the incredible debut of the Scotland Local Hub.
  • Members will be my priority. I want to get to know each other much better, listening to their ideas, proposals, questions, etc. My goal is that they feel they are an active part of the movement. I’m willing to create a closer bond and understanding among all of us in our future collaborations.
  • Creating more Local Hubs around the world to get many more people involved with WEAll at a local level with an international perspective. Super excited about this! 

Lisa Hough-Stewart 

What’s kept you busy in August?
  • Getting plans in place for our trip to New York in September, where  we’re running an event and launching some new aspects of WEAll’s work. It was great to spend some time in Malaga with Diego and Ana, planning together
  • Overseeing the completion of the website build
  • Creating the WEAll Citizens programme, which I’m very excited about

August highlight:

  • Delivering a workshop about WEAll at the Rethinking Economics Summer Gathering. The student “Rethinkers” were super inspiring, and had great ideas for linking their curriculum reform work to the wider wellbeing economy movement.

September priorities:

  • Campaigning as part of the #10yearson campaign with Change Finance in New York – watch this space!
  • Running an event in New York to soft launch WEAll and connect with the US movement
  • Launching WEAll Citizens

Diego Isabel

What’s kept you busy in August?
  • Starting to prepare the WEAll action plan and budget for 2019-2021
  • Fundraising activities for WEAll
  • Following up with contacts after our visit to the US in July 
August highlight:
  • Charging the batteries under the Spanish sun with positive energy for the coming months!
September priorities:
  • Preparing and participating in the WEAll event in New York on the 20th of September
  • Connecting with key partners for WEAll as well as for the NESI Forum 2019 where all the WEAll members will come together
  • Launching the WEAll strategy group with members and experts

Katherine Trebeck

What’s kept you busy in August?
  • Loads of meetings!! But wonderful ones, including many related to WEAll Scotland (possible partnerships & preparing for our event in October ‘The Wealth of Nations 3.0: Building the Conditions of Wellbeing’) and plenty with other WEAll partner organisations.
  • Speaking at the Edinburgh Fringe in a debate (about a 300+ report from the governing Scottish National Party about Scotland’s future being one of growth. I said I think we can do better…)
  • Submitting a chapter with the rather boring title of ‘Building a Wellbeing Economy’ to a book being edited by Open Democracy  
August highlight:
  • Besides snorkelling on the Great Barrier Reef?! Seeing the final version of the cover for a book I co-authored (coming out in January). Hope you like it as much as Jeremy and I do!  
September priorities:
  • Moving ahead on actions from the research cluster (eg WEAll Wisdom Webinars), mapping priority synthesis papers, and creating the WEAll Fellows Network
  • Finalising plans for the WEAll Scotland gathering in October (including an opening talk from WEAll friend Jacquie McGlade)
  • Spending time in a cabin beside a Scottish Loch making a dent in my long reading list in order to move forward with some WEAll outputs

Stewart Wallis

Stewart has been enjoying a well-earned rest in August and September – after coming out of retirement to help set up and run WEAll, he has temporarily re-retired!

But that didn’t stop him spending a couple of days in Amsterdam building relationships on behalf of WEAll. Stewart will be working again in late September.

 

Michael Weatherhead

What’s kept you busy in August?
  •  Developing proposals to pilot the WEAllCities guide (currently being finalised).
  • Laying the ground work for the start of an exciting new employment and wellbeing economics coaching programme to up skill and assist unemployed individuals across Southern Spain
  • Developing our team’s cultural code of conduct
August highlight:
  •  Supporting one of our regional members with their strategy and how WEAll can support them
September priorities:
  • Getting the WEAll Business Cluster off the ground with a firm action plan and proposals for future initiatives
  • Establishing the formal relationship between WEAll and its first established local hub WEAll Scotland
  • Furthering the transformation journey of a leading multi-national