March 2012 news update
- 9 Principles for a green economy - online consultation
- Global Transition Dialogue in New York
- Latest Know How of a green economy from our members and beyond
- Talking Green Economy with Cambridge economist, Dr Bhaskar Vira
- Updates from our members
This month the Green Economy Coalition is exploring our second theme of change: Investing in People. How can we ensure that a green economy provides a better quality of life for all?
In much of the western world we could argue we are slowly emerging from debt-fuelled consumerism into a post-consumerism era. After half a century of increase in consumption and corresponding GDP growth we are left with a slightly unsettling thought – did all this stuff make us any happier? As Tim Jackson summarised in Prosperity without Growth, ‘we borrow money we can’t afford, to buy things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t care about.’ So what does the post-consumerism era look like? Is it the generation of wellbeing? An era in which we agree on what is truly important – friends, family, the natural world, our health?
In much of the developing world, the western patterns of consumption are gathering pace. For example, China and India alone have a combined consumer class of 362 million. All the while poverty persists across the world, with 1.2 billion people estimated to live on less than US$1 a day, of which 70% depend on natural resources for all or part of their livelihoods. These are the people continually excluded from the brown economy and most vulnerable to its externalities.
The three key questions green economies must address in this space are: How do we deliver new value to the wellbeing generation? Must societies go through a consumerist phase to arrive at wellbeing, or can they leap-frog? How can green economies genuinely offer prosperity and wellbeing to the world’s poorest?
We have started trying to answer these questions – with policies under our theme – investing in people – social protection, decent jobs, skills and capacity building, but broader than this are the green economy principles of equity and social inclusion. The practical innovations of community renewable energy systems, local currencies, and micro-credit, resilient local economies powered by small business all offer glimpses of what resilience and prosperity could look like for people in green economies.
So in this month’s newsletter we do two things:
- We launch the first phase of an online consultation for the principles for a green economy – let us all agree on the thinking that underpins and guides this new economy. Please contribute your thoughts online.
- We launch the question: How can green economies build prosperity for all and reduce poverty? Your thoughts are most welcome and do check out the latest Know How articles on this subject.
We have three months left until the world meets for Rio 2012. The question of how a green economy can improve the quality of all our lives should be at the forefront of our minds and efforts.
Convenor, Green Economy Coalition
9 Principles of a Green Economy?
At the UNEP Governing Council over thirty stakeholders gathered to draft 9 principles of a green economy which built directly on the work by numerous other organisations including the ITUC, ANPED, the GEC Green Economy Dialogues and many more. The principles generated a lot of interest from governments and helped to define a broader understanding of what a green economy must deliver for a range of different voices. We think these principles should go all the way to Rio but first we need to see if they hold under your scrutiny and your vision. So we're launching an online and global consultation to get your views and input. Click here for more information and next steps.
Global Transition Dialogue in New York
As part of the 2012 Global Transition initiative, the Coalition is helping to coordinate a two-day Dialogue in New York held just before the next Rio intersessional that will focus on the practical and realistic solutions to enable the transition to a new economy, particularly for developing countries. The coordinators from the green economy national dialogues will be taking part to respresent their experiences. For more information and to register your interest in the conference please contact Kirsty Schneeberger.
Each month we bring you the latest and brightest thinking on a green economy from our members and beyond. This month we focus on how a green economy can improve our lives. We hear from Muyeye Chambwera, IIED, who questions how the informal economy - which makes up half of the world's work force - can participate in or potentially drive a green economy. Hanna Thomas from the East London Green Jobs Alliance takes on a journey back to 1992 and describes the first steps to combat youth unemployment. Jamie Skinner, IIED, tackles the role of water in a green economy and the big question of how we can cost water to the user.
In the second part of our 'Talking Green Economy' interview series, we talk to Dr Bhaskar Vira, economist and senior lecturer in Geography at the University of Cambridge about how we can ensure that poor people benefit from a green economy.
Update from our members
- IIED unveils exciting plans for Rio+20. Drawing on IIED's 40 years of experience in sustainable development, they will host a high profile two day event on the weekend before the negotiations start in Rio. Focusing on 'solutions for a sustainable planet', it will showcase the expertise of practitioners and researchers from across the globe. They have issued an open call for your involvement and participation in the event. Do get in touch with Tom Bigg or Kate Lines if you would like to find out more.
- Ethical Markets Media have released the 2012 Green Transition Scorecard which tracks private sector investment in green technologies and companies. It shows Asia, Europe and Latin America catching up with the USA in total non-government investments and commitments for all facets of green markets.
- Aldersgate Group host an evening debate on Long-term Focus and Moral Capitalism in the business sector. There is much evidence to indicate that short-term thinking can damage value for businesses and investors in the long term, but we face entrenched barriers to change. What practical actions are key to shifting behaviour? How can we enable frameworks that seek to maximise long-term economic value?
- Shaping Sustainable Markets – a new research flagship from IIED – explores the use, impact and effectiveness of market governance mechanisms, all of which play a critical role in enabling inclusive green economies. They are conducting a short anonymous survey to guide their future research strategy. Do spare 5 minutes to complete this: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/2SMVDNB