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Dear supporters and members of the ECG,
International collaboration is at the cornerstone of the Economy for the Common Good movement. We were very pleased to meet ECG members from Argentina, Sweden, USA and many more countries at the recent international Delegates Assembly in Stuttgart, Germany. The gathering is our parliament for the movement, making decisions and passing motions to bring into existence a common good society.
This year delegates decided on a range of issues such as how best to deal with commercial activities within the movement, what our guidelines for partnerships should look like and how to improve democracy within the movement.
Delegates also agreed upon the key strategic focuses for the movement and ranked the following as the most important; spreading the news about ECG, assuring the quality of the Common Good Balance Sheet, raising the number of municipalities and companies with a Common Good Balance Sheet, creating a community of ECG companies and promoting the ECG model as a way of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. This issue of the newsletter brings you news from across these areas and you can find a full list of the 29 strategic focuses here.
Summer is here and with it festival time. ECG has its own Summer Week, this year in Mannheim, Germany and the offer is out there to set up an international ECG week.
You can read more below about two recent events that we are particularly excited about: the BEST ECONOMY Forum in Bozen, Italy and the UN Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva.
Greetings from the editors,
Bridget Knapper and Gus Hagelberg
In this issue
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ECG Company Platform
Crowdfunding begins to launch the project
One of the top five strategic priorities voted by the ECG movement is to create a community of ECG companies. The ECG company platform responds to that need and fulfils many of the other goals at the top of the list!
The ECG company platform is:
- an online presence for ECG companies and ethical customers
- an information platform which explains the Common Good Balance Sheet approach, impact and benefits through personal stories and films
- a cooperative marketing tool to give customers more direct access to ECG companies and their offerings
- an inspiration for other companies to see that operating according to ECG values is possible and desirable
- a digital space for ECG companies to network and cooperate with each other and with ECG stakeholders and the community
A crowdfunding campaign has started in support of the project.
The platform is a cooperation project of GWÖ GmbH (Vienna), Communications & Design (Munich) and sinnwerkstatt Medienagentur (Berlin). It is a pilot project for companies from Austria, Germany and Switzerland and will be expanded internationally.
First Common Good bank account is launched
Bank balances can now do good and benefit society
This is the slogan of the newly launched Common Good bank account presented by the ‘Genossenschaft für Gemeinwohl’ (Cooperative for the Common Good) in Austria. The account is a product of the Environment Centre of Raiffeisenbank Gunskirchen and is available exclusively to members of the Cooperative for the Common Good.
This pioneering initiative represents a transformation in how we regard money - not as a goal in itself but as a means by which we can create a better life for all. “With every common good account and every euro invested, we finance projects that promote the common good and are thus a real benefit for everyone," says Fritz Fessler of the Cooperative for the Common Good.
Professional fundraiser hired as of 1 May 2019
On May 1st there was another reason to celebrate besides the Labour Day: The International Association for the Promotion of the Economy for the Common Good hired Hendrik Brosche as Expert - International Fundraising. With him, we will be able to conduct fundraising more professionaly in the future and build up a reliable long-term collection of money, material and time resources for the Economy for the Common Good.
Due to the rapid growth of the ECG movement, fundraising is becoming increasingly important to enable IT, communication and administration in the background. Additionally, new projects and next steps of the ECG have to be financed as well. While so far this has been done thanks to individual contacts, we will now be able to take some serious steps forward.
Here is a small insight into the future activities:
- Establishment and care of permanent, reliable and long-term donor relationships
- Focusing of our own fundraising activities with major donors with an international focus (in particular foundations and companies)
- Expansion of the number of members
- Consolidation and (further) development of fundraising documents
- Support of national and regional fundraising activities with know-how and best practices
- Bundling of volunteer fundraising activities in the ECG Fundraising Hub (e.g. fundraising, sponsoring, application for EU grants, ...)
Are you looking for specific projects to support? Do you want to support the ECG even further than with your membership? Then you are more than welcome to contact email@example.com.
Have you already been involved in fundraising in your private or professional work? Have you already been looking for donors regionally or (inter-) nationally for the ECG? Or are you simply interested in the topic? Then get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.
ECG Delegates Assembly 2019
May 3rd - 5th, Stuttgart, Germany
After months of intense planning and organization, the 2019 ECG Delegates Assembly in Stuttgart, Germany took place with over 90 participants from twelve countries. Participants came from as far away as Argentina, the USA and Sweden. The Delegates Assembly is the movement's decision-making body which meets once a year. Important and groundbreaking changes are decided here by systemic consensus, a modified form of consensus decision-making practiced throughout our movement.
New working groups were created, fundamental decisions were made like the mandate to create an online convention and issues such as communication within the movement were intensively discussed.
The event took place at the Rotebühlbau meeting point in the city center. The Volkshochschule (adult education centre) there and the Café Rudolfs, provided extraordinary support for our three-day assembly.
On Friday evening, the city of Stuttgart hosted the participants at the town hall, where we learned more about the ground-breaking efforts by Stuttgart to promote ECG.
ECG with Vaude at the United Nations, Geneva
Showing how companies can deliver the Sustainable Development Goals with ECG
ECG and pioneer company Vaude attended the United Nations Regional Forum on Sustainable Development for the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe in Geneva on 21 and 22 March 2019. Christan Felber and Antje von Dewitz, Managing Director of Vaude Sport GmbH & Co.KG presented the Common Good Balance Sheet as a tool for companies to tackle global ecological and social challenges.
Antje made the following point: "Sustainable companies are disadvantaged due to higher costs, additional effort and more uncertainty. In our current economic system, having a sustainable supply chain is a decision taken at the discretion of individual companies. Companies are primarily evaluated according to their financial success. However, they should also be measured by the extent to which they assume responsibility for people and the environment and take into account the true costs of their products. If companies were asked to pay for the ecological and social damage they cause, then global challenges such as global warming would immediately take on a completely different significance in our world.
With the Common Good Balance Sheet sustainability can be systematically anchored in companies and organisations. One could couple, for example, the respective number of points of the ECG balance sheet to a certain tax rate. That would mean concretely: the more sustainable a company is, the less taxes and levies it will have to pay.
Vaude has already drawn up a common good balance sheet three times and is constantly optimising its own activities. We look and accept that we share responsibility for current challenges through our business activities and seek solutions. This makes us innovative and future-oriented. As a family business, we perform better than the average of the highly competitive outdoor industry."
The organisers of the conference expressed their gratitude with a very positive response: "You have left a very lasting impression and appeal to all that we need to do more. (...) Thank you for enriching us. On behalf of UN Environment, I want to thank you again for your participation in our round table! I felt your statement was a very needed input."
Time to dethrone GDP - reviewing SDG 8
ECG collaborates for an event at the UN High Level Political Forum in New York, July 2019
At the UN Regional Forum in March, the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) organised a side event titled ‘Economic Growth vs Environmental Sustainability’, which was very well attended and received. Participants exchanged information on the short-comings of GDP as a measure of economic success and agreed that GDP growth cannot and must not be the main goal we set for our economy. In the follow up to this event, ECG put together a statement on behalf of the participants of this side event and submitted it to the office of the UNECE. This statement was accepted by the Executive Secretary of the UNECE, published and highlighted in the final report of the UNECE Regional Forum. EEB and ECG are now proposing a side event at the High Level Political Forum in New York in July. The aim is to build on the success of this gathering in Geneva and on the overwhelming positive feedback from delegates and UN representatives, who were in agreement about its core message: our economic system needs a more meaningful goal - a true purpose. It is a year of review for SDG 8 - time to dethrone GDP and let the people’s wellbeing take its place.
Manifesto from the BEST ECONOMY Forum
April 9th to 11th in Bozen, Italy
Over 200 participants, entrepreneurs, scientists, politicians, students and interested parties of the first BEST ECONOMY forum, which was organized by ECG, Bio Hotels and Bioland, developed a manifesto for a sustainable economy during the two-day congress. The manifesto contains a concrete action plan for representatives of business and politics to achieve Agenda 2030.
© Flo Hagena/5seeMEDIA
ECG summer week
Suggestion for going international
Since a number of years the ECG Local Chapters and Hubs in the German speaking countries get together for one week during the summer. They use this time to get to know each other, exchange ideas and experiences, work within their hubs, et. al. (the sky is the limit).
ECG members from other parts of the world have raised their interest in joining and simultaneously stated the language barrier.
This year's ECG summer week takes place from July 22 to July 27 in Mannheim, Germany. You can find out more here: https://gwoewoche.de/.
The summer week is entirely organized by volunteers and financed by the participating members. As such there is no reason why there couldn’t be similar ECG-get-togethers in other parts of the world. Take the initiative and start the first summer week in your corner of the globe!
"Little by little grow the bananas"
The ECG Kenya movement is alive and well with activists dedicated towards advocating for the common good values both within the private and public sectors. Over the past few months since November 2018, the Kenya Local Chapter has been active in coordinating ECG activities within the country and our development has moved on progressively well.
We have done well in advocacy, collaborating with like-minded people and training institutions. Our key highlights are achieving a report for a training institution, North Pole College but yet to do a full common good audit. We have approached companies interested in our activities with the Economy for the Common Good being a relatively new idea in Kenya many questions arise, which as ECG activists we are glad to answer.
We thank the international movement for the continued support as we uphold a Congolese African Proverb “Little by little grow the bananas;” for our inspiration that ECG movement and its ideals principles will thrive in Kenya and Africa.
Article by David Kimani, ECG Activist Kenya
ECG Denver/Boulder, USA
Our first local chapter in the USA was founded recently in the Denver/Boulder, at the foot of the majestic Rocky Mountains. Coordinator Gregory Adams is full of enthusiasm and already traveled once to London for an ECG business consultants training and to the Delegates Assembly in Stuttgart, Germany.
Greg is working simultaneously for three different balance sheets for three different companies. He is also organizing a meeting with about half a dozen economists from around the world to help us with a public bank in Colorado. The local chapter is also outlining a plan to approach civic leaders in three different small towns near Denver.
Copyright Gregory Adams
Sustainability Prize for Common Good Balance Sheets
German cities of Breklum, Bordelum and Klixbüll
The three northern German municipalities of Breklum, Bordelum and Klixbüll received the Sustainability Prize awarded by Environmental Minister Anke Erdmann of the state of Schleswig-Holstein.
With this award, the Ministry of the Environment wants to promote sustainable projects in the state and create a deeper awareness for this issue. The anchoring of the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Common Good Balance Sheet is in line with the objectives of the state.
Essay on the Economy for the Common Good
Authors: Christian Felber and Gus Hagelberg
Looking for a more in-depth essay about the ECG? Check out this essay published for the Next Systems Project.
This paper is one of many proposals for a systemic alternative published by The Next Systems Project. These papers were commissioned in order to facilitate an informed and comprehensive discussion of “new systems,” and as part of an effort to create an comparative framework which provides a basis for evaluating system proposals according to a common set of criteria.
Kick Off Event - ECG Luxembourg
June 4, 2019 in Mertzig, Luxembourg
More Information, Program Flyer
International Conference - Call for Papers: ECG - A Common Standard for a Pluralist World?
November 28-30, 2019 in Bremen, Germany
Call for Papers
We welcome contributions from any discipline, industry, or organization in the private, public, or non-profit sectors. The conference invites research submissions, conceptual, empirical, experimental, and case studies by nature.
About the Conference
The ECG can be considered as a new approach in-line with several socio-economic and political approaches that aim to frame economic activity within ecological and social boundaries. But different to other approaches, the ECG does not aim to incorporate sustainability into the predominant rationale of profit-maximization but to embed economic activities into a broader cultural and social context and to link them with the core human values of dignity, solidarity, social justice, environmental sustainability, democracy and transparency. Recently, a growing number of scholarly works focussed on the ECG both from conceptual and empirical perspectives.
The conference aims at bringing together those scholars working on topics related to the ECG or similar concepts. It will provide a platform for a critical review, a resonance space, and a platform for networking. We also strongly encourage submissions from early career researchers, Master and PhD students.
Please go to the conference website to learn more about the conference and about submitting contributions.
The Economy for the Common Good movement is only possible because of assistance through membership fees, donations and the amazing team of volunteers spread across the globe.
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