April update

Publication Date: 

Monday, 22 April 2013 - 9:45am


Emily Benson - Green Economy Coalition

Check out the online version of the newsletter here.

Thatcher - the unlikely trail-blazer of a green economy?

The battle over Thatcher's legacy is now underway. The champion of self-determination, entrepreneurship and liberty? Or the servant to markets, privatisation and individualism at the expense of all else? The debate will rage on.

Amid the flurry of opinion there is one moment that should not go un-noted.In June 1990 Thatcher warned representatives of more than 100 nations that the destruction of the earth's ozone layer was proceeding even faster than scientists had feared. She said that efforts to reduce ozone-destroying chemicals must be hastened. Her speech opened an international meeting that resulted in the Montreal Protocol, an agreement on a worldwide end to the production of chlorofluorocarbon chemicals. The USA and the UK - the free market champions, and the two largest producers of these chemicals - lead the creation of the Montreal Protocol.

In that moment alone, Reagan and Thatcher achieved something that no contemporary politician seems capable – an economy that responds to boundaries defined by science.  Free market forces were then unleashed to innovate, fix the problem, find the alternatives and the substitutes.  Value was created for people, the economy and for nature.

Now, 23 years later, eight of the nine planetary boundaries defined by Stockholm Resilience Centre are getting worse. Only one is improving – ozone. 

It is a time for a step change. We need an economy that is defined by science and serves the needs of the majority.  Free markets that are defined by clear boundaries and guided by long term vision could be a powerful force for good.

  • To this end GEC is ramping up. In Switzerland, we held a coalition strategy meeting with 26 leading organisations represented and have agreed a collaborative workplan for the next three years.  ‘Engaging with economic power’ captures a renewed commitment for the GEC and its partners to scale up our influence, championing equity, inclusion and ecological limits; we will seek to engage a broader constituency base, particularly in the South as well as appropriate business and finance partners; and we will target key economic decision makers at the local, national and global levels. 
  • GEC is tackling the big, relevant and timely issues through our core activities and five project themes of: measurement, finance, green sectors, equity, and managing natural capital; and members have agreed to collaborate on this work.
  • The GEC is also moving towards a network model, supported by the Secretariat, guided by its Steering Group, and funded by external sources.  These funds will pay for our shared projects and the collaborations of our members.

To launch our new phase in which we will be engaging with economic power, this month, we welcome TEEB for Business to the GEC; we hear of some innovative ways for reforming the financial system (see Martin Halle's piece on sovereign bonds and Jamie Brown's take on BIS); and we propose a new webinar series with Ethical Markets Media to explore the role of financial system reform in the transition to a green economy.

Oliver Greenfield
Convenor, Green Economy Coalition

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GEC launches new phase

The race for a green economy is now on and is gathering pace. But there are still some big obstacles ahead. In response, the GEC is moving into a new phase. One that will engage economic power and ensure that equity and inclusion sit at the very heart of the transition to a green economy. We have some exciting plans afoot. Check out the GEC in action and read the summary report...

What have financial systems got to do with the green economy?

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TEEB for Business join GEC

A big welcome to the TEEB for Business Coalition which aims to achieve a shiftin corporate behaviour to preserve and enhance rather than deplete our natural capital. We are delighted to be working with them and look forward to collaborating  READ MORE>>>



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