Beginning in 2005, La Pax began an innovative program called “Real Neighborhoods for La Paz” (PBCV) with the aim of empowering and improving the quality of life for poor urban communities. The program is based on the Law of Popular Participation, which encourages neighbours to commit themselves to the development of their community by volunteering to be part of a “Neighbourhood Committee”.

The first step of the program was therefore to have communities discuss and put forth a strategy for infrastructure and community development. These plans included road development, school improvements, public safety initiatives, recreation (green space, parks and community centres), community housing, legal reforms to allow ownership of property, and basic services. These programs were put forth with the understanding that the Neighbourhood Committees would ultimately be responsible for allocating public resources and overseeing the implementation of these projects.

Throughout the implementation and execution of these projects, Neighbourhood Committees monitor the process, identify any “deviations”, and propose solutions when any difficulties or unseen challenges arise. Through their local Annual Operative Plan, Neighbourhood Committees are also tasked with allocating additional resources when new complementary projects are identified that were not part of the initial strategy. Once projects are finalised, Neighbourhood Committees work to ensure effective maintenance (e.g. recycling, cleaning campaigns, waste reduction, etc.) and sustainability of the projects through community governance mechanisms.

The incredible results of this program on poverty reduction, sanitation, education, health, environmental sustainability, and many other dimensions of wellbeing for over 111,000 people has inspired development agencies and other neighbouring countries to explore more empowering approaches to poverty reduction strategy design and implementation.

Find out more:
https://www.urbanagendaplatform.org/best-practice/real-neighborhoods-la-paz

Financial markets need clear, comprehensive, high-quality information on the impacts of climate change. This includes the risks and opportunities presented by rising temperatures, climate-related policy, and emerging technologies in our changing world. Increasing the amount of reliable information on financial institutions’ exposure to climate-related risks and opportunities will strengthen the stability of the financial system, contribute to greater understanding of climate risks and facilitate financing the transition to a more stable and sustainable economy.

The Financial Stability Board created the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) to improve and increase reporting of climate-related financial information. The TCFD framework enables consistent climate-related financial risk disclosures for use by companies, banks, and investors in providing information to stakeholders.

This framework requires businesses to report the climate-related impacts of their operations, thus providing an accounting mechanism that clarifies progress toward wellbeing goals.

To date, many investment companies have signed up to the framework to guide their investment decisions, including Black Rock, the world’s largest fund manager.

Find out more here.

Find out more:

In 2017, the Dutch Government instigated a process of institutional reform to better align economic and environmental strategies by realigning ministerial mandates and creating the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.

The Government’s Climate Plan, the National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), and the National Climate Agreement contain the policy and measures to reduce the Netherlands’ greenhouse gas emissions by 49% by 2030, compared to 1990 levels, and a 95% reduction by 2050.

Find out more here.

Find out more:

Basque Country has a strong culture of cooperatives and employee ownership, which have one defining purpose: protecting workers.

One example is the Mondragón Corporation, which is a vast collection of 96 cooperative enterprises. Its cooperatives employ more than 70,000 people in Spain, making it one of the nation’s largest sources of paychecks. They have annual revenues of more than 12 billion euros ($14.5 billion). The group includes one of the country’s largest grocery chains, Eroski, along with a credit union and manufacturers that export their wares around the planet.

Most of its workers are partners, meaning they own the company. Though the 96 cooperatives of the Mondragón Corporation must produce profits to stay in business — as any company does — these businesses have been engineered not to lavish dividends on shareholders or shower stock options on executives, but to preserve paychecks.

In the town of Mondragón, the cooperatives trace their origins to the wreckage of the Spanish Civil War in the early 1940s, when a priest, José M. Arizmendiarrieta, arrived in the area bearing unorthodox ideas about economic betterment. The priest viewed cooperative principles as the key to lifting living standards.

Find out more here.

Find out more:

Confronted with rising poverty after the economic crisis of 1995, the Mexican government progressively changed its poverty reduction strategy, ending universal tortilla subsidies and instead funding new investment in human capital through PROGRESA.

PROGRESA (Programa de Educacion, Salud y Alimentacion) is an innovative Mexican program that provides Conditional Cash Transfers to poor rural households. Conditional cash transfer (CCT) programs are designed to incentivise parents to invest in their children’s health and wellbeing, while providing cash transfers to improve their current welfare.

PROGRESA involves a cash transfer that is conditional on the recipient household engaging in a set of behaviors designed to improve health and nutrition. The family only receives the cash transfer if:

(i) every family member accepts preventive medical care;

(ii) children age 0-5 and lactating mothers attend nutrition monitoring clinics where growth is measured, nutrition supplements are distributed, and they are provided education on nutrition and hygiene; and

(iii) pregnant women visit clinics to obtain prenatal care, nutritional supplements, and health education.

The size of the cash transfer is large, corresponding on average to one third of household income for the beneficiary families. Another unique feature of the program is that the cash transfers are given to the mother of the family.

Researchers evaluated the impact of Mexico’s national CCT program (PROGRESA) on a wide range of health outcomes. Preventive care utilisation increased by more than half, and both children and adults experienced significant improvements in health. Children experienced fewer illnesses, a reduction in anemia, and an increase in height.

Founded in 1997, PROGRESA grew to cover around 2.6 million families by the end of 1999, the equivalent of 40 percent of all rural families, and one in nine families nationally. Operating in 31 of the 32 states, in 50,000 localities and 2,000 municipalities, its 1999 budget of US$777 million equaled 0.2 percent of Mexico’s gross domestic product.

The high level of funding for PROGRESA, and reduced funding for other programs, was based on a deliberate policy decision – to favour programs that are better targeted to the poor, which involve co-responsibility by beneficiaries, and which promote long-term behavioural change.

Find out more here and here.

Find out more:

Scenario planning based on narrative or storytelling is one way of considering how various dimensions of wellbeing intersect within communities.

The UN supported 200 people in a series of 11 scenario-building workshops organized in six settings in the Mekong region (North-East Thailand; Tonle Sap, Cambodia; Mekong Delta, Viet Nam; Xishuangbanna, China; Nam Ngum Basin, Lao People’s Democratic Republic; and a regional gathering).

This process produced 21 final narratives about existing and potential wellbeing in communities. These narratives demonstrated how uncertain drivers manifested themselves over time and the effect they had on the lives of the ‘protagonists’ and their families in rural areas.

Analysis of the storylines created by participants revealed that protagonists in the stories, 50% of whom were women, frequently took risks voluntarily as well as experiencing it involuntarily, in changing locality to ensure their livelihoods. A common theme was that wellbeing in the region could be improved if people were able to stay in rural areas and avoid the instability of work, especially low-skilled wage labour, in cities.

Several participants expressed a vision in which people do well working in family or community enterprises involved in organic farming, aquaculture, carbon forestry, and ecotourism in rural areas.

Some stories imagined that if environmental governance improved, such enterprises could coexist near heavier industry, providing rural non-farm employment for farmers displaced because of inability to compete with large-scale farms.

This process shows the potential of scenario-building and narrative workshops to generate wellbeing visions that are informed by the reality of communities.

Find out more here.

South Africa has been using robust quantitative and participatory methods to conduct impact evaluations to better align their environmental goals with their socio-economic development goals. The iterative nature of their impact assessments and inclusive stakeholder engagement has been time consuming but it has allowed them to develop the necessary citizen support for bold policy reforms in the energy sector which balance a wide variety of wellbeing priorities.

South Africa’s energy policy is informed by its National Development Plan (NDP) 2030, which sets out a wellbeing vision to “eliminate poverty and reduce inequality by 2030… by drawing on the energies of its people, growing an inclusive economy, building capacities, enhancing the capacity of the state, and promoting leadership and partnerships throughout society”. The NDP highlights climate change as a critical factor for South Africa’s national development and prioritises a number of strategies to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).

Historically, the majority of impact evaluations related to a reduction in emissions have focused on costs (e.g. GDP), but South Africa recognised the need to consider a variety of criteria when assessing impact such as energy access, employment, gender, health and welfare, quality of life, biodiversity impacts, climate impacts, and water use. The government and technical institutions in South Africa therefore undertook a series of multi-criteria impact assessment approaches to help them identify and prioritise the economic activities that best align with their country’s current and future wellbeing goals.

Through a series of quantitative and multi-stakeholder evaluations that took place over the course of several years, the Government’s Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity was revised to better respond to the growing energy demand in the country whilst maintaining their commitment to the development and climate goals of the country. Their goals include:

  • Increase in renewable installations (wind, photovoltaics and concentrated solar power to support local industry
  • Nuclear development to address cost uncertainties related to fuels and renewable energy
  • Reduction of CO2 emissions to 210 million tons/year by 2050, as compared to approximately 430 million tons/year under a baseline scenario
  • Implementation of energy efficiency demand side management actions.

Find out more here and here.

Find out more:

Maroma is a multi-million dollar Indian business that sells home fragrance and body care products. The Auroville community in India owns all shares in Maroma and employees have the autonomy to run and manage the business.

Maroma is the largest employer in Auroville and the biggest contributor. Each year, 40% of Maroma’s profits are returned to the community to further growth and development i.e. road building, water and sanitation, sustainable power, telecommunication and housing for Auroville residents.

Maroma also contributes financially to secondary and higher educational institutions in Auroville.

Maroma is a quintessential example of an enterprise fully embedded in its community and is a social enterprise that is certified Fair Trade for its implementation of all 10 Fair Trade Principles in all their operations and supply chains.

Find out more here.

In May 2018, the New Zealand Government set up the Just Transitions Unit in its Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, to foster a transition towards a low emissions economy that is “fair, equitable and inclusive”. The unit operates by creating partnerships in communities undergoing a major transition.

These partnerships have four objectives:

  1. Build an understanding of potential pathways to transform the economy to low emissions;
  2. Identify, create and support new opportunities, new jobs, new skills, and new investments that will emerge from the transition;
  3. Better understand how the transition might impact different communities, regions or sectors; and
  4. Make choices about how to manage these impacts in a just and inclusive way.

As part of its climate change programme, the Government stopped issuing new permits for offshore oil and gas exploration in 2018. That policy has a large impact on economic security in the Taranaki region, which has supported oil and gas exploration off the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand for several decades. The Just Transitions Unit has worked in that region, with a particular focus on its energy sector in a low emissions future.

It established a Taranaki Transition Lead Group of representatives drawn from central government, local government, Māori, business, the workforce, education and community organisations. This group facilitated 29 workshops around the region, including a specialised event for youth. It also sponsored a creative competition for students aged 7–18 to describe their vision for 2050; more than 140 took part. Material from this process fed into a draft Taranaki 2050 Roadmap, launched at a National Just Transition Summit hosted in the region in May 2019. The Summit involved 550 people from around the country. Kate Raworth (author of Doughnut Economics) was a keynote speaker.

Following the finalisation of the Roadmap in August 2019, the Lead Group then facilitated workshops to create eleven Transition Pathway Action Plans (TPAPs). The Energy TPAP, for example, agreed on the following Action Statement:

“Using our know how and resources we will transition to a world-leading energy eco-system that provides sustainable, secure and affordable low-emissions energy by 2050, while creating meaningful work, community well-being and prosperity for generations to come.”

Projects to implement the TPAPs are under way, including a project to build a Clean Energy centre in Taranaki.

Find out more here.

Find out more:

Locavore is a Community Interest Company and social enterprise in Glasgow which exists to help build a more sustainable local food system which is better for the local economy, the environment and communities.

Running since 2011, Locavore has been working to improve Glasgow’s food network by means of the production and distribution of ecologically produced fruit and vegetables, as well as education around food. They operate a shop, a veg box scheme and grow on three sites, totalling around 1.2 hectares, which are all within 10 miles of Glasgow city centre.

Locavore’s ambition is to use the money raised from food sales to achieve social and environmental gains by funding projects and education about the global impact of food including climate change, animal welfare, exploitation, and workers’ rights.

Locavore is explicitly anti-corporate and strives to create an alternative to the supermarket model which has dominated food production and sales in Scotland.

Find out more here.

Find out more:

The National Performance Framework (NPF) is Scotland’s wellbeing framework, setting out the vision for the country by providing 11 National Outcomes and 81 National Indicators which focus on economic, social, and environmental factors.

In 2019, one year after the NPF was reviewed, the Scottish Government issued a Wellbeing report to evaluate the country’s progress towards the set wellbeing goals. The aim of the report was to provide evidence and analysis on key areas and features of Scotland’s performance which could inform decision making on policy, services, and spending. The areas examined include evidence around natural and economic resources, fair work, and an equitable working society, education, health, and community wellbeing. The report uses the framework’s data that support each National Outcome, along with evidence on equalities and additional information that can present a holistic picture on how Scotland is progressing towards the achievement of the National Outcomes.

The Wellbeing report aims to be a starting point for decision makers to better understand the key trends of Scotland’s performance in order to develop the necessary policies and activities to deliver the country’s vision.

Find out more here.

Find out more:

Scotland introduced their Wellbeing Framework, called the “National Performance Framework” (NFP) in 2007, which was later put into law in 2015.

“Putting wellbeing at the heart of our approach means we can focus on a wider set of measures which reflect on things like health and happiness of citizens as well as economic wealth to create a world that considers the quality of a person’s life to be as precious an asset as financial success”. – Scotland’s First Minister

In order to inform its development, the Scottish government used data collected by a public consultation, entitled ‘Creating a fairer Scotland’, to better understand the wellbeing priorities of the population. The consultation included questions such as:

  • What are the issues that matter most to you?
  • What do you think needs to be done to create a fairer Scotland?
  • How can you and your community play a role in helping to shape our future?

Participants were able to engage through the government’s website, social media platforms, via email and freepost, or attend one of the 200 open events organised across the country. During this process, 7000 people took part in the public events and around 17,500 visited the social media platforms. The responses were then summarised in five core categories (working and living standards; homes and communities; early years, education, and health; community participation and public services; respect and dignity), which relate to some of the National Performance Framework themes.

In 2018, the National Performance Framework was reviewed and updated, with the aim to publish a new set of National Outcomes and to embed the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Scotland’s Action Plan for Human Rights. To ensure greater public involvement so that the new National Outcomes reflected the values and aspirations of people in Scotland, the Scottish government organised a two-phased consultation.

The first phase of the process focused on public engagement. During this phase, public views and opinions were collected through public discussion groups and street stalls, and workshops and a review of projects and programmes were provided by the Children’s parliament. In addition, the Scottish government took into consideration the findings of the conversation for “Creating a Fairer Scotland”, held in 2015, and “Creating a Healthier Scotland” in 2016 when drafting the National Outcomes.

The second phase of the consultation included expert engagement. During this phase, a lead Committee was formed, comprised of the Local Government and Communities Committee, and various stakeholders were approached seeking views on the revised National Outcomes and National Indicators to inform the framework’s scrutiny. The Scottish Government also organised conversations with stakeholders, an online survey, along with a series of discussions to explore whether the National Performance Framework reflects the set vision.

After this large-scale consultation, the Scottish Government’s National Performance Framework Team, part of the Data, Statistics and Outcomes Division, with the support of the government’s Performance and Priorities, collated the data, and the findings were further worked up into thematic areas.

Each of the thematic areas was identified based on the relative depth and breadth of the participants’ views during the consultation process, and, subsequently, were further developed into a draft set of National Outcomes.

The output of this process was the development of the refreshed National Performance Framework, which sets out 11 National wellbeing Outcomes measured through 81 National Indicators.

Scotland articulated their wellbeing vision as having the purpose of “creating a more successful country with opportunities for all of Scotland to flourish through increased wellbeing, and inclusive and sustainable growth” underpinned by the values we are a society that treats all our people with kindness, dignity and compassion, respects the rule of law and acts in an open and transparent way”.

Find out more here.

Find out more:

LOVE is a group of organisations providing social services to promote social justice, inclusion, and wellbeing. Charitable services in one part of the group are financed by commercial activities in other parts of the group.

LOVE is a one-of-a-kind social business that funds its outreach charitable services – such as education and social care – through corporate services, such as wellbeing, professional training, and recruitment. LOVE’s outreach services include education support, employability, sport and physical wellbeing, and social care.

LOVE’s approach differs from other outreach providers in that they identify gaps or opportunities to support vulnerable individuals who would otherwise have limited or no access to the services they need. For example, they deliver services to vulnerable people with 24/7 crisis care where standard services operate during office hours only.

Find out more here.

Find out more:

A car manufacturer founded to ‘pursue, systematically, the elimination of the environmental impact of personal transport’. The company is working towards its vision is of mobility at zero cost to the planet.

Riversimple’s business model aims to completely rethink the automobile sector, from open-source design to a circular economy approach to car use.

The founders redefine ownership by including key decision makers in their governance structure, not only investors but also the Environment, Customers, Communities, Staff, Investors, and Commercial Partners.

The Board’s duty is to balance and protect the benefit streams of all six stakeholder groups, rather than maximising the value of one.

Find out more here.

Find out more:

Between 1992 to 1994, the Quindío department of Colombia developed its regional development plan through a participatory process. Institutions from a wide variety of social sectors were invited to participate in the construction of the plan. These included: local NGOs, community groups, agricultural and ecological groups, universities and schools, regional businesses, investors and hospitals, as well as officials and officers from various municipalities. For some meetings, more specialised groups were also invited.

The process lasted 6 months and resulted in a multi-sectoral plan with a budget, which was based on a set of reports and studies, a collection of sectorial diagnoses, policy statements, and a series of priority-setting processes. The regional government worked under the guidance of CIDER, the Interdisciplinary Centre of Development Studies, of the University of the Andes in Bogota.

As a result of this plan, and other processes, Quindío began:

  1. Investment in its tourism industry, which has since become one of the foremost tourist areas of the country.
  2. A concerted effort to diversify agriculture, which had been based largely on coffee for exportation.
  3. To emphasise the need for improved investment in education, especially in rural areas.

This was one of the first participatory regional development plans in the country. It was followed by similar plans elsewhere, as well as in the Quindio itself. For example, the ‘El Plan Quindío 2020’ is even more participatory than its predecessors and it makes a more direct effort to include marginalized groups.

The Quindío department has used this model of planning for more specific projects such the recuperation of rivers and the strategic plans for sectors of the economy.

In general, the are many forms of public participation in the governance of the country partly because this is a strong element of the country’s Constitution. Article 103 outlines various mechanisms for a more participatory democracy.

Find out more here.

Find out more:

In 2017, the Republic of Panama established its first Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) as an instrument of public policy at the national level. Maintained by the central government, the MPI identifies and measures the incidence and intensity of the main nonmonetary deprivations that affect the wellbeing of Panamanians. The government uses these statistics as a complement to income poverty measurements, in order to achieve a comprehensive reduction of poverty levels.

The Panama Ministry of Social Development led the development of the MPI, in partnership with a technical committee that included the Directorate of Economic and Social Analysis of the Ministry of Economy and Finances and the National Institute of Statistics and Censuses. The Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative and the United Nations Development Programme were the main international partners.

A key idea underlying this effort was that poverty must be understood through the daily experiences and values of the people who are affected by it. For that reason, development of the MPI included a broad consultation process with academics, economists, public servants, members of civil society, and, crucially, Panamanians who live in poverty from all over the country.

Two iterations of the Panama MPI have been published as of 2020: one using data from 2017, and one using data from 2018. The second MPI includes a comparison of incidence levels from one year to the next. Based on the 2017 findings, the government added a second metric focused specifically on children. This children’s MPI was launched alongside the national MPI in 2018.

In 2020, the government established a third iteration of the MPI that will operate at the local level. It maintains indicators and dimensions similar to those in the national MPI and the children’s MPI. Together, these policy instruments make consistent, comprehensive data the basis for the nation’s efforts to build a more just society.
Policymakers behind the Panama MPI point to the proven value of such measures, notably in Columbia, where an MPI first developed in 2010 is now being used to support the government’s response to the pandemic. “MPI is not just an old report, a finished number,” said Ana Carolina Diaz, former Minister’s Advisor and Project Coordinator at MIDES: “it’s what you can do with all the data behind it.”

Find out more:

https://www.gacetaoficial.gob.pa/pdfTemp/29126/81185.pdf

Patagonia’s mission is to be good stewards of the environment. The company’s values include building the best product (built to last, premium materials), causing no unnecessary harm, and using the business to protect nature.

Patagonia has led the outdoor industry in using recycled nylon and polyester fabrics; currently, 68% of its products use recycled materials. The company is also committed to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, with achievements including 100% of electricity needs met by renewable electricity in North America.

Patagonia also prioritises human wellbeing, with 66,000 workers supported by its Fair Trade program.
Find out more here.

Find out more:

North Ayrshire Council launched Scotland’s first Community Wealth Building (CWB) strategy in May 2020. It sets out how the council will work in partnership with local communities, businesses and wider regional anchor institutions to create a fairer local economy to tackle poverty and inequality, embedding a new economic model focused on wellbeing and inclusion.
The CWB Strategy outlines the mission of ‘Enhancing local wealth and the creation of fair jobs, and maximising the potential of all our places through working in partnership with our communities and businesses’. The strategy sets out six objectives to deliver CWB:
Community Wealth Building Council: We will work across all our services and wider local and regional partners to implement Scotland’s first approach to Community Wealth Building.
Procurement: We will use our spend to actively encourage and support a growing, diverse and resilient local business base, and to support our net zero carbon ambitions.
Fair Employment: We will encourage the creation of fair and meaningful jobs with progression opportunities to unlock the potential of our residents.
Land and Assets: We will support the wider regeneration of our communities by maximising all of our land and assets including through alternative uses for community and business benefit.
Financial Power: We will invest locally and encourage regional and national institutions to invest in our communities.
Plural Ownership of the Economy: We will support the creation and sustainability of a range of business models including SMEs, social enterprise, employee ownership, cooperatives, municipal activity and community enterprises.
Overall, the CWB Strategy aims to encourage:
Spending public money locally;
Keeping wealth generated within local area;
Community ownership; and
The use of property in a socially just way.
To guide the Council’s work, an Expert Advisory Panel has been established. The panel is chaired by WEAll Scotland and includes renowned experts on Community Wealth Building, a Wellbeing Economy, fair work, and climate change. A Community Wealth Building Commission of local and regional anchor institutions was established in September 2019 to implement the CWB approach and establish the North Ayrshire council as a Community Wealth Building Council.
In September 2020, the Council launched its Economic Recovery and Renewal Approach to build back better, fairer, and greener. The approach is based on the foundation of the Council’s Community Wealth Building approach and sets out a Local Green New Deal.
The twin priorities of a North Ayrshire Green New Deal to build back better, fairer and greener are to:
Ensure an inclusive economic recovery by delivering our Community Wealth Building mission; and
Ensure a green economic recovery focused on achieving our net zero carbon ambitions through the creation of sustainable infrastructure and regeneration projects and creating fair jobs.
At the heart of this is the £8.8m Investment Fund which will support an inclusive and green economic recovery by:
Maximising renewable energy generation;
Investing in the commercial estate including improving the sustainability of assets;
Trackling vacant and derelict land and building in town centres by investing in town centre living;
Supporting community economic developing through community regeneration, ownership and capacity building;
A carbon absorption tree planting programme; and
The creation of a Green Jobs Fund.
The Council has launched a ‘Keep it Local’ campaign as part of the wider Community Wealth Building approach. The need for local people, businesses and Anchor Institutions to spend locally is an essential pillar of that strategy and the Council are supporting that need by urging people and businesses to ‘Keep it Local’.
In October 2020, as part of Challenge Poverty Week, the Council launched Scotland’s first Anchor Charter. The Charter was signed by six major regional Anchor Institutions and outlined a commitment to a series of CWB and Climate Action pledges to support an inclusive regional economy.
In terms of lessons learned in developing a bold Community Wealth Building approach, the North Ayrshire Council recommends:
Setting a vision with buy in
Anchoring in education and collaboration
Working across silos
Bottom-up engagement
Be ambitious and bold, but practical
Building awareness, knowledge and showing ‘quick wins’

Find out more:
https://www.north-ayrshire.gov.uk/council/community-wealth-building/community-wealth-building.aspx

An important feature of the wellbeing economy is that it pays attention to the wellbeing of future generations. This means that the wellbeing of children and young people is an essential aspect of a country’s economic strategy.

“Success is about making New Zealand both a great place to make a living, and a great place to make a life”. – Grant Robertson, Finance Minister of New Zealand

Child poverty was one particular area that created the impetus for the creation of New Zealand’s Wellbeing Budget in 2019. Following years of pressure from social movements and expert advice to address the issue, data analysed by the Ministry of Social Development confirmed widespread child poverty in the country. It became a national scandal that 30 years of GDP growth had not improved the measure of child poverty, not even in absolute terms. This issue was a widely accepted illustration of the need to look beyond GDP growth.

Consequently, the government passed the Child Poverty Reduction Act 2018. The Act defines four primary measures of child poverty – two measures of low income households, one measure of material hardship, and one measure of persistent poverty. It also defines six supplementary measures of child poverty. The Act requires the government to publish and report on reduction targets for each of the primary measures, with a duty to explain any non-compliance with the targets. The analysis must include trends for identified populations, such as for the indigenous population of the country.

The Government presented the country’s first Child Poverty Report within the Wellbeing Budget of May 2019. It presented baseline data for the primary measures of child poverty, and defined targets for the measures that the government aimed to achieve in three years and in ten years. It also presented modelling work by the Treasury explaining how the whole-of-government policies in the Budget would contribute to achieving those targets.

Following this, the New Zealand Government also created a Child and Youth Wellbeing Strategy, which it published in August 2019, to work toward the targets set. The strategy identifies six outcomes:

  • Children and young people have what they need
  • Children and young people are loved, safe, and nurtured
  • Children and young people are happy and healthy
  • Children and young people are learning and developing
  • Children and young people are accepted, respected, and connected
  • Children and young people are involved and empowered

For each outcome, the Government has selected a set of statistical indicators for monitoring trends over time. Some of these indicators will come from a new survey of young people, designed to gather data about health and wellbeing. This nationwide survey will take place in 2021.

This case study illustrates how a government can use evidence as a benchmark to create a dashboard of statistical measures and indicators, in order to set targets and report on progress towards a Wellbeing Economy.

Find out more here.

New Zealand – The Just Transitions Unit’ tags=’Wellbeing Policy Design’ custom_id=’What are the goals of a Wellbeing Economy? / What is Wellbeing Economic Policy?’ av_uid=’av-131mirj’]
In May 2018, the New Zealand Government set up the Just Transitions Unit in its Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, to foster a transition towards a low emissions economy that is “fair, equitable and inclusive”. The unit operates by creating partnerships in communities undergoing a major transition.

These partnerships have four objectives:

  1. Build an understanding of potential pathways to transform the economy to low emissions;
  2. Identify, create and support new opportunities, new jobs, new skills, and new investments that will emerge from the transition;
  3. Better understand how the transition might impact different communities, regions or sectors; and
  4. Make choices about how to manage these impacts in a just and inclusive way.

As part of its climate change programme, the Government stopped issuing new permits for offshore oil and gas exploration in 2018. That policy has a large impact on economic security in the Taranaki region, which has supported oil and gas exploration off the west coast of the North Island of New Zealand for several decades. The Just Transitions Unit has worked in that region, with a particular focus on its energy sector in a low emissions future.

It established a Taranaki Transition Lead Group of representatives drawn from central government, local government, Māori, business, the workforce, education and community organisations. This group facilitated 29 workshops around the region, including a specialised event for youth. It also sponsored a creative competition for students aged 7–18 to describe their vision for 2050; more than 140 took part. Material from this process fed into a draft Taranaki 2050 Roadmap, launched at a National Just Transition Summit hosted in the region in May 2019. The Summit involved 550 people from around the country. Kate Raworth (author of Doughnut Economics) was a keynote speaker.

Following the finalisation of the Roadmap in August 2019, the Lead Group then facilitated workshops to create eleven Transition Pathway Action Plans (TPAPs). The Energy TPAP, for example, agreed on the following Action Statement:

“Using our know how and resources we will transition to a world-leading energy eco-system that provides sustainable, secure and affordable low-emissions energy by 2050, while creating meaningful work, community well-being and prosperity for generations to come.”

Projects to implement the TPAPs are under way, including a project to build a Clean Energy centre in Taranaki.

Find out more here.

Find out more:

The major economic policy event in most countries is the delivery of the Government’s Budget each fiscal year, in which it announces its revenue and expenditure plans. In May 2019, New Zealand attracted international attention for launching the country’s first Wellbeing Budget, which committed to putting people’s wellbeing and the environment at the heart of its policies.

The Wellbeing Budget is designed to use social and environmental indicators, along with economic and fiscal ones, to guide the Government’s investment and funding decisions.

“The purpose of government spending is to ensure citizens’ health and life satisfaction, and that — not wealth or economic growth — is the metric by which a country’s progress should be measured. GDP alone does not guarantee improvement to our living standards and does not take into account who benefits and who is left out.” – Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand

Design Principles

The official Wellbeing Budget document describes the design principles behind this novel approach to economic policy: it breaks down agency silos and works across Government to assess, develop and implement policies that improve wellbeing; it focuses on outcomes that meet the needs of present generations at the same time as thinking about the long-term impacts for future generations; and it tracks the Government’s progress with broader measures of success, including the health of the country’s finances, natural resources, people and communities.

  1. Focusing on outcomes that meet the needs of present generations at the same time as thinking about the long-term impacts for future generations.
  2. Breaking down agency silos and working across government to assess, develop, and implement policies that improve wellbeing.
  3. Tracking progress with broader measures of success, including the health of people, communities, the environment and public finances.

1. Wellbeing Priorities

The Budget began by answering the question, “What is wellbeing?” The Wellbeing Vision, resulting from this reflection was:

“Wellbeing is when people are able to lead fulfilling lives with purpose, balance and meaning to them. Giving more New Zealanders capabilities to enjoy good wellbeing requires tackling the long-term challenges we face as a country, like the mental health crisis, child poverty and domestic violence. It means improving the state of our environment, the strength of our communities and the performance of our economy.” (The Wellbeing Budget, 30 May 2019)

The Budget cycle began with the Cabinet selecting a small number of Wellbeing Budget priorities, using a collaborative and evidence-based approach. Statistical evidence on wellbeing and its distribution among the population, from the Treasury’s Living Standards Framework (LSF), was combined with advice from sector experts and the Government’s Chief Science Advisors. The LSF is divided in two sections:

  • Current wellbeing (income, housing, security, education health etc.); and
  • Future wellbeing (land use, skills and knowledge, health, natural and social environment).

Some measures are taken annually, some quarterly and some more often. The aim is to take into account both the quality of economic activity and the long-term impact of current policies.

After this period of research, five wellbeing priority areas for the 2019 Wellbeing Budget were set, based on where evidence showed the greatest opportunity to make a real difference to the lives of New Zealanders: aiding the transition to a sustainable and low-emissions economy, supporting a thriving nation in the digital age, lifting Māori and Pacific incomes, skills and opportunities, reducing child poverty, and supporting mental health for all New Zealanders. New Zealand allocated NZ$25.6b over four years into the Wellbeing Budget, with spending on the five priority areas representing roughly 5 percent of total expenditure.

2. Ways of Working

Ministers and agencies then developed initiatives targeting international wellbeing outcomes, analysed using the LSF. For each outcome, the Government has selected a set of statistical indicators for monitoring trends over time. Government Ministries and Departments collaborated in budget bids for new funds, to show how proposals would contribute to the priority areas. An example of this was 10 agencies coming together to jointly put in a bid to help address family and sexual violence.
The Cabinet then agreed on an integrated programme of policies to meet its prioritised wellbeing outcomes. The standard Budget documentation was redesigned to make clear how any policy or initiative, including the government’s balance sheet and asset management, contributed to improvements in wellbeing. This practice is spreading throughout the public service. The Treasury, for example, has begun to evaluate and communicate how the government’s balance sheet and asset management contributes to improving wellbeing. The Government of New Zealand has embedded this wellbeing approach into legislation through the Public Finance (Wellbeing) Amendment Act 2020.

3. Tracking Progress

While the Wellbeing Budget 2019 only accounted for new spending for one fiscal year, it made good progress in investing in priority areas. Sustained investment is needed to tackle long-term infrastructure and social deficits; such complex issues cannot be fixed in a single Budget.

“Achieving genuine and enduring change in the way Budgets and policies are developed takes time. We know that we cannot meaningfully address long-term problems like child poverty, inequality and climate change through a single Budget. This is why the Government committed to taking a wellbeing approach to Budget 2020 and beyond to build on the successes of our first Wellbeing Budget.”

The New Zealand government has embedded this wellbeing approach into legislation through the Public Finance (Wellbeing) Amendment Act 2020. It is continuing, and in some cases expanding, the work started within its 2019 wellbeing priorities. The 2020 wellbeing goals are:

  • Just Transition – Supporting New Zealanders in the transition to a climate-resilient, sustainable, and low-emissions economy
  • Future of Work – Enabling all New Zealanders to benefit from new technologies and lift productivity through innovation
  • Māori and Pacific – Lifting Māori and Pacific incomes, skills and opportunities
  • Child Wellbeing – Reducing child poverty and improving child wellbeing
  • Physical and Mental Wellbeing – Supporting improved health outcomes for all New Zealanders

The 2019 Wellbeing Budget was a bold experiment in not only shifting understandings of progress but also embracing a new way of designing policies.

This wellbeing approach contributed to the Government’s swift and effective management of COVID-19 pandemic, as their first priority was protecting the health and wellbeing of their citizens rather than the growth of their economy. At the time of writing, New Zealand has one of the lowest COVID fatality rates in the world with only 25 people having died since the start of the pandemic. They have also used a wellbeing approach to help inform their COVID-recovery efforts and to bolster spending in critical public services such as health, education and green infrastructure.

Barriers to change include the need for further clarification on how to compare policy proposals that had different impacts on wellbeing. While the Treasury has provided some monetarisation estimates for different types of wellbeing impacts, this remains a work in progress.

Find out more here.

Find out more: