The way in which a society operates is, to a great extent, determined by the way in which the economy is designed. Who owns the most important raw materials? Who receives the profits? Who pays the taxes, and what is taxed? What do we really consider important and valuable? The structure that determines this forms the basis of our society.
Our present economy has diverse negative, social consequences affecting both society and the environment. In the new economy that we envisage there is a good balance between social and environmental progress. Organisations that operate in this economy are not motivated merely by profit - social and environmental aspects play a far more important role. But unless our present economic system changes, these organisations cannot compete with established companies.
DOEN is looking for organisations with initiatives to change our existing economic system and create more scope for sustainable and social entrepreneurs. You could call them system entrepreneurs. People prepared to take risks, willing to exploit new possibilities and opportunities and devise original solutions or business models. Whereby concepts such as co-creation, transparency, cooperation, trust, long-term vision, and locality are a matter of course. Inspiring innovators who serve as an example to others: to entrepreneurs and organisations and even public authorities.
DOEN's New Economy programme currently focuses on the following categories of initiatives:
- Origin and use of materials
- (complementary) monetary systems
- Sustainable ecological recovery
DOEN supports Commonland, an organisation tackling three large-scale landscape restoration projects. They combine sustainable, economic development with nature restoration by enabling all the parties concerned in those areas − and investors − to develop a joint plan. Commonland offers an innovative, holistic model as a win-win situation for all parties involved. It includes developing a business model for nature restoration and nature conservation, important for a green and social economy.
Another example is the Grassroots Economics Foundation, which has developed a complementary currency: the Bangla-Pesa. It is a local currency for entrepreneurs in slums in Mombasa (Kenya). This coin is a complement to the national currency of Kenya and it offers entrepreneurs a way to strengthen the economic resilience of their neighbourhood. The Grassroots Economics Foundation scales the first Community Currency in Africa up to two other slums in Mombasa because it serves well as a model for other cities.
Finally, Proclimate is an initiative in which the extremities of the supply chain come together. For example, coffee companies fund reforestation projects for coffee farmers, so that farmers are better able to withstand the effects of climate change and the long-term availability of coffee is more secure. As a result, ‘value’ spreads through the chain in both directions.
A few examples
De Groene Grachten
De Groene Grachten designs a toolbox that enables a group of enterprises and local residents to realise a (financial) project jointly.Read more
Rechtstreex ensures that sustainable, local products from the region are available in urban districts and that they are reasonably priced, for both the producer and the consumer.Read more