Welcome to our weekly update! As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond.

Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

If you haven’t yet, join the WEAll community –become a WEAll Member & join our WEAll Citizens Platform.

WEAll Opportunity Board

Find out the latest jobs, surveys, calls for submissions, and engagement opportunities on our weekly-updated opportunities board here!

Top Picks

The latest Happy Planet Index: Costa Rica tops the list, beating Western economies on sustainable wellbeing

Wellbeing economy: An effective paradigm to mainstream post-growth policies? –

Lorenzo Fioramonti, Luca Coscieme, Robert Costanza, Ida Kubiszewski, Katherine Trebeck, Stewart Wallis, Debra Roberts, Lars F. Mortensen, Kate E. Pickett, Richard. Wilkinson, Kristín Vala Ragnarsdottír, Jacqueline McGlade, Hunter Lovins, RobertoDe Vogli

What If Progress Meant Well-Being for All? – RAND

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From the Archives

WEAll revealed the latest rankings of the Happy Planet Index (HPI) today, which compare countries by how efficiently they are creating long, happy lives using our limited environmental resources.

The Happy Planet Index (HPI) is the leading global measure of ‘sustainable wellbeing’. It measures ‘efficiency’, using three indicators:

This is the fifth edition of the Happy Planet index. It was first launched in 2006, with subsequent editions published in 2009, 2012, and 2016.

The 2021 Happy Planet Index: Which countries are most ‘efficient’?

The top 10 countries by Happy Planet Index score are as follows:

  1. Costa Rica
  2. Vanuatu 
  3. Colombia 
  4. Switzerland 
  5. Ecuador 
  6. Panama 
  7. Jamaica 
  8. Guatemala 
  9. Honduras
  10. Uruguay 

Notably, South America dominates the Happy Planet Index, with 8 of the top 10 highest ranking countries from the region. However, there has been a decline in wellbeing in several countries in South America, including Brazil.

Selected other countries:

11.   New Zealand

14.   United Kingdom

29.   Germany

31.   France

35.   Ireland

41.   Sweden

88.   Australia

94.   China

105. Canada

122. USA

The full Happy Planet Index rankings are available to view at www.happyplanetindex.org

How does your country measure up?

This year, the Happy Planet Index features an interactive website, where viewers can explore the data, make comparisons between countries and regions, and view trends over time, from 2006 to 2020. You can also download the data to make your own analyses!

There is also a new ‘Personal Happy Planet Index’ test to help users see what country they are most like based on their own lifestyles – and to reflect on how they can create their own “good life that doesn’t cost the Earth.

How is the Happy Planet Index different?

Unlike other indices, such as the Quality of Life Index or World Happiness Report, the Happy Planet Index does not rank countries in terms of quality of life or happiness. Instead, it looks at which countries are best at using minimal ‘inputs’ of natural resources to create the maximum possible  ‘outputs’ of long, happy lives – thus delivering truly “sustainable wellbeing”. 

Rankings serve as a compass pointing in the overall direction in which societies should be travelling – towards higher wellbeing lifestyles with lower ecological footprints. 

The Happy Planet Index does not consider societies truly successful if they deliver “good lives” which use more resources than the earth can support OR if they consume within the Earth’s limits, but have very low levels of wellbeing or life expectancy. 

Promoting human happiness doesn’t have to be at odds with creating a sustainable future.

The Happy Planet Index turns the old world order on its head by highlighting how high-income Western nations are often inefficient at creating wellbeing for their people. 

Costa Rica has again been ranked in first place for a fourth time due to its commitment to health, education, and environmental protection. In contrast, the USA was placed as the lowest scoring G7 nation at 122nd place, ranking low on both wellbeing and ecological footprint.

Costa Rica has been ranked in first place for a fourth time due to its commitment to health, education, and environmental protection. According to the Happy Planet Index, Costa Rica has a more efficient economy than the USA.

  • Costa Rica outperforms the USA (#122) on each of life expectancy, wellbeing, and environmental sustainability.
  • Costa Rica’s GDP per capita is less than half that of the USA. Despite this, Costa Ricans have higher wellbeing, and on average live longer. 
  • Costa Rica’s per capita Ecological Footprint is just one third of the size of the USA’s.

Countries that rank highly on the Happy Planet Index show that it is possible to live long, happy lives with a much smaller ecological footprint than found in the highest-consuming nations. 

Many nations achieve green lights in each of the individual components of the Happy Planet Index – meaning that these targets are genuinely attainable. 

Stories from a ‘Happy Planet’?

Overall, the Happy Planet Index shows that we are still far from achieving sustainable wellbeing: only a third of nations (representing 38% of the global population) consume within environmental limits and no country scores successfully across the three goals of high life expectancy for all, high experienced wellbeing for all, and living within environmental limits. 

Still, the Happy Planet Index rankings highlight many success stories that demonstrate the possibility of living good lives without costing the Earth – and we’re making progress towards this goal.

Environmental progress made in Western Europe – but more must be done.

  • Switzerland jumps to 4th place out of 152 countries on the Happy Planet Index, becoming the top ranking European country on the Index – and the only one in the top 10.
  • The UK rises to 14th place; now the highest scoring G7 country. 
  • Other Western European countries rank fairly well on the index: the Netherlands (#18), Germany (#29), Spain (#30), France (#31).

Mixed results among high-income countries.

  • North America falls in the bottom third of rankings of 152 countries: USA (#122) is the lowest ranking G7 country; Canada (#105) and Australia (#88) are not much further ahead.
  • In contrast, New Zealand is now in 11th  place,  becoming the second highest Western country in the rankings. 
  • South Asia and the Middle East dropped in the rankings; India dropped to 128th place out of 152 countries due to significant decline in wellbeing since 2006, but also a rising ecological footprint.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa’s scores are rising due to rapid increases in life expectancy.

The Impact of the Pandemic

Data from 2020 shows that despite the largest pandemic in living memory and a complete re-organisation of the world economy, people’s wellbeing had, at least in 2020, on average, remained surprisingly stable.

This demonstrates that our wellbeing is not inevitably linked to the fast-paced economic system that we have become used to – and suggests that it is possible to sustain good lives with a lower impact on the Earth.

To effectively address the climate crisis, positive changes we see on the Happy Planet Index need to be much more rapid. To do that, we need to rethink how our global economic system is designed. All signs point to a Wellbeing Economy.

Share the Happy Planet Index

Use our promotion pack to start the conversation: “How can we live good lives that don’t cost the Earth?”

For further information or to speak to the founder of the Happy Planet Index, Nic Marks, please contact: Rabia Abrar at happyplanet@weall.org 

Welcome to our weekly update! As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond.

Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

If you haven’t yet, join the WEAll community –become a WEAll Member & join our WEAll Citizens Platform.

WEAll Opportunity Board

Find out the latest jobs, surveys, calls for submissions, and engagement opportunities on our weekly-updated opportunities board here!

Top Picks

Happy Planet Index 2021 Launch Event – October 25th!!

The Outgrowths Video Recording with Katherine Trebeck

Building for Mental Wellness – report from Masawa

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From the Archives

Welcome to our weekly update! As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond.

Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

If you haven’t yet, join the WEAll community –become a WEAll Member & join our WEAll Citizens Platform.

WEAll Opportunity Board

Find out the latest jobs, surveys, calls for submissions, and engagement opportunities on our weekly-updated opportunities board here!

Top Picks

New Report: Failure Demand

Systems Change at Youth4Climate – a report back from Milan

Turning Point: The pandemic as an opportunity for change

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From the Archives

By: Albin Wilson 

On September 28- 30, 380 youth from 190 countries gathered in Milan, Italy for the Pre-COP 26, Youth4Climate summit. As one of the two Swedish representatives, I was excited to meet the many global representatives, and understand how my peers were demanding for   governments to act on climate. 

It is reassuring that  systems change is finally being included in the conversation as it relates to climate, even though no concrete actions are being taken. However, the shift in the conversation allows the discussion to move beyond growth or even green growth, and poke at the conventional understanding of how to address the climate crisis. 

So how can we go about changing the system that we’re so deeply wedded to?

In Greta Thunberg’s speech, she said there is too much ‘blah blah blah’ amongst the leaders who can actually make the radical changes needed. I found it unique to this summit that as youth, we don’t have politics to play. Therefore, we didn’t hold back in the honesty of our experiences or calls to action.

In fact, we were encouraged to speak our minds, express our concerns and push hard for the changes that we want to see in the world – all without being withheld by a political agenda. 

However, there was tension amongst the attendees. Some of us have grandiose ideas for the future, while others are focused on what can get done today. Both of course are important – but for some, including myself, it felt the proposals being given may not be achievable in our lifetime.

Which gives me pause because if I feel this way, I can foresee leaders in high positions of power throwing out some of the proposed ideas if they seem too impractical in their eyes. This surfaces another tension – how can youth continue to push the boundaries of what’s possible (as it’s our futures that are most threatened), without pushing the boundaries so far that our proposals are considered impractical? 

I reflected a bit on my key takeaways from the conference which I’ve listed below:

  1. The proposals are still too transitional. We’re making policy proposals that are 10-20 years out. I was struck that we needed to also be thinking in terms of what we can do tomorrow. 
  2. Voices of the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) and Indigenous communities are the most important voices in the room. Hearing the stories from these youth that are most significantly impacted by changes in climate validated the thinking that these perspectives are the most important to listen to. Not only does their entire environment shift, but their way of life shifts as well. We have a responsibility to attend to the needs of these communities, as they are often the ones who have contributed the least to climate degradation.
  3. The policy proposals that we created are not specific enough. We need more concrete actions to act on climate. However, this is the sacrifice that is made when we’re drafting policy  proposals that are inclusive of the entire world. How can we ensure everyone is included, while also ensuring that the policy is radical enough? 
  4. Climate technology must be looked at more seriously. We’re deep in our current system – and the solution cannot be just to stop everything and allow the planet to regenerate. We must use technologies that exist to support the transition. This requires us to lean into the opportunities out there – and the possibilities that technology has to offer.
  5. Financing must dramatically change. From government grants, private equity funds and venture capital firms, the financial bottom line is entirely insufficient. We cannot continue to fund growth as the end, rather than a means to the end. What’s unclear is the shared vision of the end we are aspiring to create. If we can agree, in this circumstance, that we’d like to live on a healthy planet, then the funding needs to begin to move swiftly in that direction. 

Some of the key moments are captured below:

This work is complex. It’s disheartening to listen to the perspectives of youth whose livelihoods are most impacted by our deteriorating climate. And we need to move with urgency for those people. The fact that this event even occurred proves that the narrative is changing. Never before have future generations been considered a key voice in these conversations, and now we’re leading them. This is the beginning of a culture shift which influences behavior and ultimately can change the system. I hope the proposals that we developed are taken into consideration and the leading governments stop the ‘blah blah blah’ and take the drastic changes needed to build better lives for future generations.  

To tune into the conversations from Y4C click here.

What should be the purpose of the economy, and the goal of public spending: promoting the wellbeing of people and the planet, or reacting to immediate, avoidable problems? Put this way, the answer seems obvious, yet the prevailing economic model forces governments towards the latter.

WEAll’s new report, “Failure Demand: Counting the costs of an unjust and unsustainable economic system”, written by Mark Anielski, Anna Chrysopoulou and Michael Weatherhead, examines two case studies of Scotland and Alberta, Canada to demonstrate that in pursuit of economic growth – a stated goal of almost all governments – harm is caused to people and the planet. Governments then need to spend money to respond to these harms – which in turn becomes a justification for growth.

In other words, we are caught in a cycle of paying to fix what we continue to break. This is known as ‘failure demand’.

Of course, governments will always need to be reactive to immediate needs. There will always be unavoidable demands on public spending. That is not in dispute. This report is concerned with demands that are avoidable: damages incurred through economic choices – the purpose and structure of the economy. These are damages that necessitate deployment of a government’s financial resources, but which could have been avoided in a Wellbeing Economy scenario.

The report asks the questions: is this the best we can hope for? Is it good enough just to help people survive and cope with the current system? And what about value from our taxes? Are payments that allow us to survive all that we should be using our taxes for, rather than investments and configurations that help us to thrive?

The research focuses on three key interlinked sectors that illustrate the impact on the financial resources of a state, directly and indirectly. Those sectors are: paid work, the housing sector, and the environment, with Scotland, a devolved part of the UK and the province of Alberta, Canada used as the two territories to articulate the story of failure demand. Even within just these sectors, the report considers just a small subset of the true picture and makes conservative estimates.

It finds that in Scotland:

  • Due to the existence of low pay, the state provided over £596 million in 2014/15, over £635 million in 2015/16, over £890 million in 2016/17, over £840 million in 2017/18 and over £774 million in 2018/19 in welfare payments, free-school meals and work-related ill health 
  • The total excess cost (failure demand) of healthcare for people who have ever experienced homelessness is over £900 million
  • The failure demand costs for various levels of government due to the effects of global warming in Scotland can be estimated at £771 million and £956 million due to air pollution per year.

Whilst in Alberta, Canada:

  • In 2019 an estimated 310,363 Albertans lived in poverty (or 7.1% of the population) with an estimated societal cost of poverty of $9.1 billion
  • The average cost of homelessness in Alberta is estimated at $142,500 per homeless person per annum. This suggests the societal cost of homeless in Alberta was $1.05 billion in public programmes and other supports
  • Weather related disaster costs increased by over 2,500% to approximately $9 billion with the Alberta government incurring an estimated $2.3 billion from 2010 to 2016.

Co-author Michael Weather explains: “Of course, the primary driver for changing towards a better way of doing things is the reduction of harm to people and the planet. Fiscal implications are secondary, but this report seeks to demonstrate that taking a Wellbeing Economy approach also makes financial sense, reducing avoidable demands so that public spending has a longer-term positive impact.”

Welcome to our weekly update! As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond.

Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

If you haven’t yet, join the WEAll community –become a WEAll Member & join our WEAll Citizens Platform.

WEAll Opportunity Board

Find out the latest jobs, surveys, calls for submissions, and engagement opportunities on our weekly-updated opportunities board here!

Top Picks

Common Ground Music Fest at COP26

November 6 | Glasgow, Scotland

1.5-Degree Lifestyles: Towards a Fair Consumption Space for All

Built for the Environment report

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From the Archives

The Wellbeing Economy Governments (WEGo) group now consists of five key governments: Scotland, Finland, Iceland, Wales and New Zealand. There has been such momentum from the WEGo partnership – other governments are following their lead. Below are a few updates of some of the exciting advancements in this space.

  1. Canada included a wellbeing/quality of life framework in their 2021 budget which you can see here. They have just had an election, so watch this space for any more momentum a refreshed government may bring. 
  2. Norway has just announced a new wellbeing strategy. They also have a new government- but the strategy predates it. More here
  3. ZERO, a Portuguese based member, hosted an event a few months ago with speakers from the OECD, Scotland’s chief economist and Katherine Trebeck putting collective wellbeing into policymaking. You can watch the video here:
  1. The European Environment Bureau and Oxfam Germany have recently launched a paper about the Wellbeing Economy agenda..
  2. The Club of Rome recently launched a paper about reframing economics toward wellbeing.
  3. The European Commission has been debating the agenda
  4. There was demand for a wellbeing economy in the UK through petition to Westminster (which received almost 70k signatures!) 
  5. The University of Glasgow recently hired Dr. Gerry McCartney as the Professor of Wellbeing Economy. 
  6. Katherine Trebeck wrote a great piece for the Scotsman about a new oil field off the coast of Scotland.

If you’re interested in supporting the creation of Wellbeing Economies in your community, check out our Policy Design Guidebook, Case Studies, and progress of our Hubs

Featuring Colonel Mustard and the Dijon Five, Caroline Lucas, Rou Reynolds, Sandrine Dixson-Decleve and many more…

In November, the most important conversation in the world is taking place in Glasgow.  COP26 will bring together thousands of legislators, politicians and journalists to make decisions about our collective future.  The idea behind Common Ground Festival is to create a space to include everyone in these conversations.

Together with fiis, WEAll is thrilled to bring this innovative new festival to Glasgow on Saturday 6 November during COP26: and it’s completely free.

It will be the space to hold and celebrate the conversations that involve us all in the intersection of climate action and economy to repair our planet.

We believe that art and music have the ability to effect change from the ground up and to shift the conversation.

Because we can’t talk about the climate crisis without talking about the economy.

We must advocate for a system that prioritises the health of the planet and its people above infinite growth and consumption.

We must challenge the narrative that we are separate from nature, that nature is just a resource, and that we are separate from each other to a new narrative of interconnection and wellbeing, in which we look after one another.

The line-up

Music from: Colonel Mustard & the Dijon 5, The Dalmar Chorus, Kitti and Sacred Paws, with more to be announced…

Discussions and dialogue with: Caroline Lucas MP, Rou Reynolds (Enter Shikari), Sandrine Dixson-Decleve (Club of Rome), Pat Kane (Hue and Cry), Dr Katherine Trebeck (WEAll), and many, many more!

Plus a “green marketplace” where you can discover the social enterprises already transforming the economic system in and around Glasgow.

Find out more and register to attend here

Welcome to our weekly update! As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond.

Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

If you haven’t yet, join the WEAll community –become a WEAll Member & join our WEAll Citizens Platform.

WEAll Opportunity Board

Find out the latest jobs, surveys, calls for submissions, and engagement opportunities on our weekly-updated opportunities board here!

Top Picks

The Happy Planet Index 2021 Launch Event

The Happy Planet Index measures what matters: sustainable wellbeing for all.
It tells us how well nations are doing at achieving long, happy, sustainable lives.
Join us for the launch of the latest rankings of the Happy Planet Index!

Register here for the launch event

(October 25th – 9 AM – 10 AM Eastern Time)

Thriving Places Index 2021 Update

What if progress meant well-being for all? – Metropolitan group

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From the Archives

By Eloi Laurent, Senior Economist and Professor at the Sciences Po Centre for Economic Research (OFCE)

There is a shattering table on page 18 of the Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group I contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report by the IPCC released last month. Its second column shows that all of the five main climate scenarios considered converge toward a 1.5 C degrees world at more or less rapid pace. Call it the column of fear.

Source: IPCC Summary for Policy Makers: Climate Change 2021 – The Physical Science Basics

In the same table, the third line shows that one climate scenario dubbed “SSP1-1.9” foresees a stabilization of global warming at 1.6 degrees between 2041–2060 before witnessing a decrease to 1.4 degrees at the end of the 21st century. Call it the line of hope. To be honest, the only thing that mattered to me when I saw this table among the thousands of pages of the IPCC Report was: what is SSP1? And how do we get there?

SSP 1 stands for “Shared Socioeconomic Pathway 1” and it’s one of the five climate narratives that the IPCC now uses to describe interactions between social dynamics and biophysical realities that will determine the climate future of human communities around the globe. These five scenarios have been detailed in a 2017 paper which has this to say about SSP 1: “The world shifts gradually, but pervasively, toward a more sustainable path, emphasizing more inclusive development that respects perceived environmental boundaries. Management of the global commons slowly improves, educational and health investments accelerate the demographic transition, and the emphasis on economic growth shifts toward a broader emphasis on human well-being. Driven by an increasing commitment to achieving development goals, inequality is reduced both across and within countries. Consumption is oriented toward low material growth and lower resource and energy intensity.” 

In other words, moving beyond economic growth and toward human well-being is a critical necessity for the future of humanity. The Wellbeing Economy Alliance is committed to doing just that. My understanding of our common commitment is that the age of “indicators” is behind us: we now need to work on well-being policies, i.e. operationalizing new visions of the economy and mainstreaming these visions into policies. More precisely, we need both new narratives and visions on the one hand and new institutions and policies on the other. It can be said indeed that transitions are about turning aspirations into institutions. 

An important resource in this perspective is the WEAll’s Policy Design Guide released last March, which has inspired me to offer a new class in my home university, Sciences Po, and more precisely within the Paris School of International Affairs (PSIA). The class is called “Building well-being policies” and has been offered for its first iteration to a group of 21 students in the Master program starting in September 2021. The undeniable strength of PSIA is its global fabric, with 1500 students representing over 110 countries. In the class, 21 students representing 11 nationalities are being asked to build their own well–being vision and policy, with the WEAll’s Policy Design Guide as a compass. The main assignment for the class is a 15-pages long fully-fledged proposal of well-being policy.

After the introductory session devoted to the course’s purpose, outline and organization, the class has really started (“Part I: The Well-being Transition: Connecting Well-being to Sustainability”) with a session devoted to “Building your well-being policy: design thinking and tools” divided in two parts: a presentation/illustration of key building blocks of well-being policies (narratives; frameworks; concepts; metrics; participation; institutions) and a general discussion of the Policy Design Guide (see below).

Session 3 and Session 4 are devoted to presenting one possible well-being policy narrative and vision, the instructor’s, insisting in turn on two critical nodes in the social-ecological feedback loop: the health-sustainability nexus (of “full health” nexus) and the sustainability-justice nexus

Sessions 5 to 8 (“Part II: Understanding, measuring and improving well-being and sustainability”) will be devoted to reviewing main well-being dimensions’ theoretical underpinning and empirical evidence, from the elementary dimensions of economic well-being (employment and income), to widening the lens to human development to putting well-being in motion with resilience and sustainability.

“Part III: Building Well-being Policies around the world at all levels of governance”, with Sessions 9 to 11, is meant to show students that the well-being transition is already under way across the globe at different governance levels, from the European Union to Bhutan, New Zealand, Iceland and Finland to local initiatives such as Amsterdam City Doughnut and BrusselsDonut. The class concludes with a Well-being Policies Forum where students have 5 minutes to present their final paper in poster session format. 

To my knowledge, this class is the first to use WEAll’s Policy Design Guide and showcase the WEGo’s patient and precious work. A widespread WEALL curriculum would be a key asset to achieving the well-being shift we so direly need.

 What some PSIA students have to say about WEAll’s Policy Design Guide

Main strengths

“The Policy Design Guide was very comprehensive and helpful in gaining tangible skills to build well-being policies. Policies are not a “one-size-fits-all” so I think the inherent nature of the guide is helpful in pointing policy-makers and citizens in the right direction to create and/or lobby for well-developed, inclusive well-being policies.”

“The Design-Guide is very eye-catching which makes it interesting to read. I think it was a great idea to include definitions for key-words and phrases in the guide. This establishes greater clarity and encourages the reader to keep reading. Additionally, including the “purpose,” “how to,” and tips for each step on how to achieve the purpose is a great way to interact with the reader, keep them engaged, and, again, establish clarity.”

“In my opinion, the guide is a really useful tool to help citizens and governments to design and correctly implement well-being visions and transitions, since it is very much detailed and reports a lot of best-case practical examples.”

“I particularly liked the transition boxes from ‘Old Economic Policies’ to ‘Wellbeing Economy Policies’. They helped the transition in thought process – especially for someone who has been working/studying policies before from an ‘old economic’ perspective.”

Possible improvements

“I found it sometimes to be redundant, especially about the citizens’ co-participation- which is of course paramount for successful implementation of a well being policy, but I think it was reported too many times. Also, I would suggest to use also developing countries more often as best-practice examples of well-being initiatives, by showing that market-led economic growth is not the only possible step of development for this kind of countries. Finally, I would further suggest to show graphically, in a more accurate way, the difference between the old economic policy and the new one.”

“I think that the guide needs additional arguments, why one should implement well-being policies. I have the feeling that, e.g., Ukrainian officials or politicians thinking about a public endorsement would be reluctant to conduct a significant shift without tangible examples of why to bother (or, as may media claim, “spend tax-payers money”). So some case success stories or maybe methodology to convince conservative state systems would be an asset.”

“While the booklet did not resemble a typical guide, including ‘guide’ in the title may be slightly confusing. From my understanding, it is meant to initiate the thought process in wellbeing economy policies (transition from old to wellbeing and tips), and encourage a platform/starting point from which to work further.”

 “While speaking about building a well-being policy in a particular field, an explanation/additional info would help to understand how people may adopt strategies in specific sectors with regard to the whole socioeconomic system and its problems: how to deal with some challenges (e.g. poverty) and how (if needed) apply effects of well-being policy in one field to an entire system.”

The world of leadership and societal development is transforming before our eyes. Leaders either learn to cross the threshold or struggle with approaches from outdated mindsets. Over the past decades, whilst life expectancy has increased, economies have grown and technology has developed immensely, we have also witnessed rising inequality, ecological collapse and mental health crises among many other issues. Siren bells are ringing from the Earth as society calls for a new way of organizing and leading that better serves our collective flourishing. 

Most of us in the WEAll community recognise the need to create a different economic system: a wellbeing economy, that puts care of people and our Earth at its core rather than an unrestricted pursuit of profit. If we are to bring about a wellbeing economy, a way of leading our lives and businesses in harmony with ourselves and the Earth, we must first cultivate a different, regenerative source of ‘inner leadership’. The more we embody inner leadership, the greater our capacity to embed this into our organizations – into the culture, processes, structures and the metrics, into every aspect of our organizations, and then into the wider ecosystems and economy that we are also a part of.

Leading From Within

Our team of global New Zealanders, Alexander Evatt, Christopher Evatt and Shruthi Vijayakumar are committed to nurturing inner leadership to enable the systemic shift that society is calling for. Inner leadership as we call it requires us as individuals and collectives to question the way we think about ourselves, each other, the world around us, and why we are here. It recognises how interconnected we are to everything around us, and our interdependence with one another and the Earth. It invites us to look beyond the cognitive capability of the mind and cultivate our intuition, wisdom and capacity to listen and draw from the timeless, deep wisdom of life and natural world. It guides us to our inner source of strength, wisdom, peace and allows our actions to draw from this source rather than from a feeling of discontent, anxiousness, worry, guilt, fear or a host of  other emotions that can drain us.

This way of leading that may feel ‘new,’ is in fact ancient. It is found in many philosophies and wisdom traditions, spanning the East, the West and indigenous traditions which reflect values of living in harmony and respect with all life. We acknowledge and pay our respects to the many leaders who have kept this wisdom alive, which we seek to revive and live by in our efforts to support the systemic change that is needed in this time. 

In August we launched a co-creative leadership development journey, for visionary leaders; entrepreneurs, change-makers, managers, social impact leaders and consultants. To cultivate the capabilities, qualities and skills to transform the extractive models of business and economy into a regenerative model where all life can thrive and gain a community to support you and your organisation’s continued transformation. We are astounded by what’s possible when we collectively come together and deeply appreciate the insights and teachings in each of you.

Despite the difficulties and challenges we uncovered and shared from the current extractive systems, we sensed by practicing and embodying together with an open mind and heart, how we and our business can be a force for transformation.

We look forward to taking the next step in our journey of change makers in our next Masterclasses: October 4th & 5th
How to Create Regenerative Organizations and Cultures

We would love to see you there. With deep gratitude NewDirection team:
Alexander, Christopher & Shruthi

Welcome to our weekly update! As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond.

Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

If you haven’t yet, join the WEAll community –become a WEAll Member & join our WEAll Citizens Platform.

WEAll Opportunity Board

Find out the latest jobs, surveys, calls for submissions, and engagement opportunities on our weekly-updated opportunities board here!

Top Picks

Lanzamiento de la Guía de Elaboración de Políticas de la Economía del Bienestar

Indigenous Resistance Against Carbon

How Informal Banking Schemes Empower Entire Communities – Post Growth Institute

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From the Archives

Welcome to our weekly update! As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond.

Please use the comment box to share any relevant updates from this week and keep the conversation going!

If you haven’t yet, join the WEAll community –become a WEAll Member & join our WEAll Citizens Platform.

WEAll Opportunity Board

Find out the latest jobs, surveys, calls for submissions, and engagement opportunities on our weekly-updated opportunities board here!

Top Picks

Delivering Wellbeing and Doughnut Economics

Revisiting Community Control of Land and Housing – Democracy Collaborative

Book Releases!

We Call Her Ina BaiLiyang Network

Net Positive – Paul Polman & Andrew Winston

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From the Archives

It’s been a busy few months for the team here at WEAll Scotland.

From organising online events and putting the finishing touches on reports to kickstarting some exciting new partnerships—the list goes on. We asked some of our core team members to share with you what they’ve been working on lately.

If you want to learn more about any of these updates, please get in touch! We’re always looking to listen and learn about new ideas, opportunities, and examples of the wellbeing economy in action.

Jimmy Paul, WEAll Scotland Director

I’m delighted to share a snippet of what we’ve been up to here at WEAll Scotland!

Our project with the Cairngorms National Park is now underway. We are taking a Wellbeing Economy Stocktake, co-creating cornerstone indicators and taking forward work around the Wellbeing Economy and business. All with a view of delivering social justice on a healthy planet; starting in the Cairngorms. 

Another project is to build a children’s wellbeing budget in a local authority area. After interest from local authorities all across Scotland, we agreed to partner with Perth and Kinross! Our delivery team, the brilliant Kelly and Sarah, are now in place and starting their work. This project will co-create locality based, wellbeing services focused on prevention, early intervention and which build personal and community resilience. This is such an important an exciting project which, like the Cairngorms project, is all about shifting the power base and working with communities to deliver a Wellbeing Economy. 

As well as the above, WEAll Scotland now holds the secretariat for a cross party group on a Wellbeing Economy. Being a non-political organisation, the principles that underpin a Wellbeing Economy appeal across the political spectrum and we have the involvement of MSPs which reflects this. We have our first meeting on the 22nd September.

We’re continuing to grow our fantastic network of Allies, sitting now at 32! Watch this space; in autumn we will put together a programme of events and sessions for Allies to connect with each other more than ever before, accelerating our individual and collective impact.

Anna Chrysopoulou, Core Team Member

I’ve been on working on the launch of two reports:

Failure Demand: Counting the true costs of an unjust and unsustainable economic system

The report examines two case studies of Scotland and Alberta, Canada to demonstrate the fiscal impact of the current economic model: how much is currently deployed in response (albeit inadequately) of the way the economy harms people, communities, and the environment. The research focuses on three key interlinked sectors (paid work, the housing sector, and the environment) to illustrate that governments are caught in a cycle of paying to fix the damage that the prevailing economic system continues to create, known as ‘failure demand’. Although it is acknowledged that governments will always need to be reactive to immediate needs, the report is concerned with demands that could be avoided in a Wellbeing Economy scenario.

Tapping into a Wellbeing Economy: Lessons from Scotland’s craft breweries about the importance of local production

This research project aims to demonstrate the role of local production as a key pillar in a just transition from the current economic model to a socially fairer economy which concurrently respects planetary boundaries. To achieve this, the project uses the craft brewing sector as a lens to identify the factors that could encourage local production, the sector’s contribution to regional economic development, and the practices that could be shared with other industries. Through this process, the project seeks to deepen our understanding and advance the conversation in Scotland around transitioning to a Wellbeing Economy, one that delivers social justice on a healthy planet.

Denisha Killoh, WEAll Scotland Trustee

Although I’m currently in the middle of a transition from a WEAll Scotland core team member to a trustee, my priorities have not faltered from the need to make the communities most impacted and marginalised by the current system the architects of designing and delivering a Wellbeing Economy. I advocated for this at the ‘Women in the Wellbeing Economy’ event hosted by the WEAll Global team, and I currently represent Scotland alongside Jimmy Paul on the UK-wide Future Generations Commission, to promote this view in line with the principles of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Bill.

Joey Gartin, Core Team Member

Looking after comms on the WEAll Scotland core team, I’m lucky that I get to stick my nose into so many different projects. After a few months of organising some exciting events (including a webinar on business and the wellbeing economy and our recent Q&A with our director, Jimmy), I’ve spent the last few weeks writing: from newsletters and blog posts to engaging with our followers on social media. But I’m most looking forward to supporting The Poverty Alliance during Challenge Poverty Week, which takes place 4th-10th October. The campaign highlights that poverty is a problem that we can solve, and there are solutions that we can all get behind. One of the key themes this year is “redesigning our economy to reflect our shared values of justice and compassion” . . . in other words: a wellbeing economy.

Katherine Trebeck, WEAll Scotland Co-Founder

Apart from the usual suite of agenda promotion work (talks, articles, media pieces), I’ve been deep in working on two exciting upcoming projects—figuring out the details, team, and activities. One is with the Cairngorms National Park: we’ll be part of a consortium, and I’m scoping our role to bring the Wellbeing Economy thinking into valuing the work that happens in the Park, embracing the role of business, and understanding what more needs to be done. The second project is yet to be 100% confirmed so I can’t say the name, but it is with a fantastic organisation who want to work with us on their theory of change to ensure their activities and the support they provide others is aligned to the Wellbeing Economy agenda.

Linda White, Core Team Member

WEAll Scotland is an organisation which thrives on the time, skills and passion of its volunteers. The Hub’s resources are therefore highly prized. As our activities grow in response to an increasing number of time-bound projects and long-term collaborations, it’s imperative that we utilise our core team to its maximum potential. Currently I am working to identify and deploy the best option for smart resource planning to ensure appropriate scheduling, project performance, finance management, forecasting potential capacity gaps, timely decisions, and team engagement. This will complement other tools in our project management landscape delivered by me and others. I also have fingers in other pies, including contributions to the emerging strategy and organisational structure as well as impact evaluation.

Lukas Hardt, Core Team Member

I am Lukas, a core team volunteer for WEAll Scotland, and I am currently working on revising the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ section for the WEAll website. The section provides brief answers to more than 50 of the questions WEAll commonly gets asked. For example, ‘What is a wellbeing economy?’ or ‘How can we make a wellbeing economy happen?’ The answers to these questions are not only useful for visitors to our website, they are also an important resource for our spokespeople, who promote the ideas of a wellbeing economy to lots of different audiences. Working on these answers also makes us at WEAll really think through the more challenging aspects of a wellbeing economy and the stories we want to tell around it.

Sarah Deas, WEAll Scotland Trustee

It’s an exciting time for the Wellbeing Economy Alliance around the world. In 2018, WEAll Scotland was the first WEAll place-based Hub to be established. The network has grown significantly over the last few years with 19 hubs now in development in countries, states, regions and cities across the world. These include Australia, Brazil, Canada,  Costa Rica, Cymru (Wales), Denmark, East Africa, Iberia, Iceland, Ireland, New Zealand, North Carolina, Trinidad and Vermont. I represent the Hubs on WEAll’s Global Council and helps facilitate bimonthly meetings designed to strengthen the network.

Welcome to our weekly update! As part of our work to amplify the important work in the Wellbeing Economy movement, these WEAll Weekly Update blogs will share some of the latest and greatest updates from our membership and beyond.

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From the Archives

By Lisa Hough-Stewart

What could economic system transformation mean for women and non-binary people? 

This was the question at the heart of the discussion convened on September 7 by WEAll, Caroline Lucas’ office and Kat Davis of Flip Finance.

WEAll has been working since May with Caroline Lucas’ team to promote the ongoing petition urging the UK Government to prioritise Wellbeing Economy approaches and ideas. We wanted to use the petition campaign to explore different aspects of what a Wellbeing Economy means in greater depth. This event was our mechanism to do so in relation to gender.

Recognising that the power structures of the current economic system often play out in how we engage with each other, the event was structured carefully to distribute power and space as evenly as possible.

After an introduction to Wellbeing Economy ideas from Dr Katherine Trebeck, the audience heard from four UK-based speakers who are actively working to bring about economic system change. Beautifully led by Kat Davis, there was an emphasis on the lived experiences of women and non-binary people throughout the discussion. 

Dr Milena Buchs (University of Leeds) shared her experiences as an academic, reflecting on the fact that academic funding and priorities increasingly mirror the economic system. Work is prioritised based on monetary value rather than societal value. She also advised that women need to challenge and avoid adopting the sorts of masculine behaviours endemic in the current system.

Denisha Killoh (WEAll Scotland and Includem) said that “this system is dominated by the pale, male and stale – it has been designed by them to serve them”. She emphasised the need to build a Wellbeing Economy that is meaningfully designed by and for those communities most impacted and marginalised by the current system.

Anna Fielding (Economic Change Unit) was open about her personal experiences being marginalised by the economic and healthcare systems, whilst also reflecting on her relative privilege as a white cisgendered woman. She said: “Wellbeing Economics is an idea and a movement that means the elite could no longer monopolise resources and power at the expense of everyone else. That makes it a dangerous idea, which is why I love it.”

Nonhlanhla Makuyan (Decolonising Economics) reflected on the original definition of “economy” as “the management of home” – and how we associate home (but not currently economics) with safety, comfort, relationships and feelings. She challenged: “What else can we expect this system to do other than extract” when it was built on exploitation and slavery in the first place?

Audience members were then able to share their own stories of how the current economic system has interacted with gender to impact them. Some of the themes that emerged were:

  • The struggle to balance caring responsibilities with work, and the lack of value placed on care roles
  • Being made to feel that economics was nothing to do with them
  • Credibility being brought into question, with views invalidated if they don’t conform to the norms of the system
  • Unequal pay and opportunities along gender lines
  • The intersection of existing inequalities with the pandemic has intensified challenges.

They also shared their hopes for what could be different in a Wellbeing Economy, imagining that it would mean:

  • True equality
  • Valuing care and embedding caring values
  • Everyone is meaningfully listened to
  • A system that is designed with a gender lens from the start, rather than treating intersectionality as an add-on
  • Female and non-binary leadership.

Finally, two “Keynote Listeners” reflected on everything they’d heard and possible ways forward.

Caroline Lucas MP praised the privileging of lived experience in the event, noting that the challenges of gender, race and disability shared by the speakers are interconnected symptoms of the extractive, exploitative economic system. She said: “The Wellbeing Economy gets at the causes of problems rather than symptoms, this binds together so many of the causes we’re involved in.”

Mandu Reid (leader of the Women’s Equality Party) said: “When I look at what slavishly following GDP has done, it’s a betrayal, particularly of younger generations. The economy neglects, overlooks, undervalues and ignores the contributions of women and non-binary people.” However, she is hopeful that we have the potential to correct our course and build a caring, Wellbeing Economy.

This is just a flavour of the powerful discussion – you can watch the full event on YouTube here or just hit play below:

If you are a UK resident, sign the petition – it needs to reach 100,000 signatures before 26 September to force a debate about the Wellbeing Economy in Parliament.

Whether you are in the UK or not, share it with your friends who live there!

Thank you to the incredible contributors and to the audience for sharing their stories so openly. The discussion was energising and uplifting, but it also laid bare just how deep the damage of the current economic system goes when you view it through a gender lens. The good news is, we can and must redesign this system so that it works for everyone – and the ideas shared in this discussion provide a place to start.

Michael Birkjær, Alexander Gamerdinger

The Happiness Research Institute

“All constitutions of government are valued only in proportion as they tend to promote the happiness of those who live under them. This is their sole use and end.” – These were Adam Smith’s words in 1790, but it appears that same view is still widely held today. According to a new cross-national survey conducted by the Nordic Council of Ministers, 70% of people in the Nordic nations agree that the promotion of human wellbeing is a better measure for a successful government than economic growth. But, perhaps more importantly, scientific evidence reveals that increased wellbeing is a better predictor of government re-election than economic growth.

As a result, governments appear to have every reason to place more emphasis on improving people’s well-being. And so they do.

Today, governments around the globe, from New Zealand to Finland, are progressively adopting the notion of the Wellbeing Economy to solve some of society’s most looming issues. In essence, a Wellbeing Economy is about using wellbeing data to inform both national strategies and greater social impact of public policies. Yet, looking across the various initiatives governments have undertaken, it can prove very difficult to detect clear similarities on goals and methodologies. 

By disentangling the various practical shapes a Wellbeing Economy might take, and the many theoretical foundations it can rely on, we propose a ‘common language’ for the Wellbeing Economy with our new report, ‘Towards a Nordic Wellbeing Economy.’ In addition, this report also initiates a discussion on how the Nordic countries might accept and use the concept of the Wellbeing Economy to help achieve their ‘Vision 2030′.

The report was commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers and written by the Happiness Research Institute, a Danish think tank whose mission is to inform decision makers of causes and effects of human wellbeing and make subjective wellbeing part of the public policy debate.

What is certain about the Wellbeing Economy?

The wide consensus on increasing the gross domestic product (GDP) is what currently guides policymaking and business decisions in almost all countries on the globe. A Wellbeing Economy is certain about going ‘beyond GDP’, and to complement – or even replace – the metric with a broader set of social and environmental indicators fed by the ever-growing amount of publicly available data on wellbeing. This is what enables the Wellbeing Economy to tackle some of society’s most looming issues such as loneliness and mental health problems, as well as complex climate and environmental challenges.

The current economy relies on the ‘utility approach’ to wellbeing and uses data on consumer behaviour and preferences to predict and assess the value of public policies. One intrinsic weakness of such methods is to assign a value to any kind of phenomenon that is placed outside of the market. In that way, the accurate valuation of social connections, love or biodiversity loss – all of which are crucial for the wellbeing of humans and the planet – proves very difficult. A Wellbeing Economy on the other hand is capable of addressing and valuing these non-market challenges through empirical insights based on human experiences or objective measurements of social and environmental realities. In that, the Wellbeing Economy has a better chance to solve complex global challenges than conventional economic approaches. 

What is uncertain about the Wellbeing Economy?

While it is clear that the concept of Wellbeing Economy is a beyond-GDP-approach with an untapped potential to address looming social and environmental issues, the concept also suffers from one overarching issue: it proves hard to compare and benchmark Wellbeing Economy programmes and performances across countries. 

Although two Wellbeing Economies will never be identical, it is crucial that goals, performances and experiences can be compared, benchmarked and shared. What we need is to establish a ‘common language’ for the Wellbeing Economy. In the report, we argue that this necessitates shared knowledge of the many theoretical and methodological stances that a Wellbeing Economy can take, as well as a roadmap outlining what it means to transition from a conventional economy to a Wellbeing Economy. 

What kind of wellbeing? Utility vs objective wellbeing vs. subjective wellbeing?

One important point of the report relates to the goals a Wellbeing Economy should prioritize. If not GDP, what then should be the goal of policy-making? Promoting mental health and happiness, decreasing multidimensional inequalities or tackling environmental degradation and climate change? While all of these issues are important, they each demand a diverse set of – possibly conflicting – policies to address them. 

The reason why these different policy priorities (and strategies to get there) exist, can be traced back to a theoretical discussion on how wellbeing is best defined. Broadly, the report informs us about three approaches, each rooted in different understandings of wellbeing: Utility, objective wellbeing and subjective wellbeing. 

In a conventional economy, wellbeing is defined as ‘utility’ and is often expressed in terms of consumer preferences. The general idea is that economic growth, by providing people with a greater variety of choice, enables the general population to fulfil its desires, and thereby enhances wellbeing. This view has generated wide consensus among policymakers, scientists and industry.

Contrarily, a Wellbeing Economy draws on two different approaches to wellbeing: subjective or objective wellbeing. While objective wellbeing can be defined by the ‘hard facts’ of wellbeing circumstances, such as longevity, education and the absence of air pollution, subjective wellbeing is rooted in first-person subjective experience, which can be addressed by measures of life satisfaction, mental health or loneliness.

In practice, we find that governments tend to monitor and utilize utility measures, objective wellbeing measures and subjective wellbeing measures – and often at the same time. But while mixing methods may have practical benefits or even prove necessary (in the case of lacking data), it also comes with a great potential risk. 

For some welfare domains such as healthcare, wellbeing metrics based on the utility method will frequently place a larger value on certains domains of impact than those based on the subjective wellbeing approach. In practice, this means that the choice of method for eliciting wellbeing values indirectly influences the policy output through cost-benefit analyses. Or put differently: it does not only matter whether we value wellbeing or not, but also which definition of wellbeing we rely on.

When is a country a Wellbeing Economy?

Broadly, countries have engaged in three wellbeing initiatives. Some countries such as Scotland, the Netherlands and Germany have started to monitor wellbeing through national indicator sets. This development was especially driven by the 2009 Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission, which advocated for the measurement of ‘beyond GDP’ indicators. However, as pure monitoring of wellbeing indicators suggests a rather ‘passive’ use, we cannot consider these countries as Wellbeing Economies. 

Instead, the report makes the case that a country is only classified as a Wellbeing Economy if it uses wellbeing measures to actively inform governments’ wellbeing priorities, or to actively guide policy-making towards most wellbeing impact.

Actively informing wellbeing priorities can be done through wellbeing budgets or fiscal strategies that allocate money for areas of wellbeing such as climate protection or mental health policies. 

On a ‘micro level’ wellbeing indicators can be used in cost-benefit analyses to help policymakers decide for the policies with the highest wellbeing impact. Great examples of such is the work of the treasuries in both New Zealand and the United Kingdom, where subjective wellbeing metrics have been embraced as “social values” to quantify the impact of public policy.

Finding role models in odd places

Making sense of the different theoretical and practical forms of a Wellbeing Economy might be challenging for starters. However, we argue that this is a necessary first step to get familiarized with the concept and accept its diversity. The intention of this report is also not to dictate our concepts onto the global community working with the Wellbeing Economy. It is merely to ‘get started’ with a strongly needed systematic categorization of the different shapes a Wellbeing Economy can take. 

One of the reasons why conventional economic methodologies enjoy widespread acceptance around the world is because its applied measures – such as GDP – are easy to understand and can be applied to benchmark and compare performances across countries. The System of National Accounts (SNA) has globally diffused the way GDP is calculated and thereby provided policymakers and economists with the ‘grammar’ of the current economic language. 

The Wellbeing Economy needs a similar system that provides structure, transparency and comparability. However, this structure should not only exist for the indicators used, but also for wellbeing policies and new narratives that can be applied to transition into a Wellbeing Economy. In sum, what we need is a ‘common language’ and a catalogue  that enables governments to learn- and to be inspired by each other.

By Shaleen Porwal

At the start of this year, as I was navigating through the Regenerative Building Blocks of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance (WEAll), I paused when I read, “People safe & healthy in their communities, rather than necessitating vast expenditures on treating, healing & fixing”. And in the definition of the health goal, it appropriately mentions, “both mental & physical.” 

Being a mental health advocate myself, this resonated so well with me. I am practising the science of Positive Psychology that focuses on what works well for people and how we can make it even better. This combination piqued my interest and paved my way to be able to contribute to the WEAll network.

The Wellbeing Economy talks about Mindsets that, “…economies should have human… wellbeing” and this encompasses the mental and emotional states besides physical safety, therefore the need permeates through all humans, irrespective of their trade and beliefs. This includes teachers.

I am focusing on teachers because they are an incredibly special group of employees who are empowered with the unique responsibility of shaping the future of a nation through their everyday interaction with young humans, who in turn will become into adults and will be taking up the responsibility of adding value to their nation, themselves, their family, and their community.

Every interaction that we have with another person, has the potential to bring about a notable change in our emotions. This change in emotions further leads to the development of thoughts and subsequently into action. Every day at a school, frequent communication channels are established between teachers and students, among teachers, and among student peers. These collaborations are vital for the functionality of performance and behaviour – students and teachers – for the continuity of “business as usual” i.e., a day in school. 

There are global reports on mental health that we have been made aware of and repercussions which we are observing in our local contexts as well, with a radical shift in the psychological state of children, teachers, and families, and that the World Health Organisation has fully acknowledged as follows: “…there has been increasing acknowledgement of the significant role mental health plays in achieving global development goals, as illustrated by the inclusion of mental health in the Sustainable Development Goals…”  

With the advent of the global pandemic – COVID-19 – Vulnerability, Uncertainty, Complexity, and Ambiguity (‘VUCA’) are adding fuel to fire. All of us, from a national level to an individual level, are struggling through it with our fair share of challenges currently. 

However, with a solution-focused approach, I want to see the silver lining of this dark ‘VUCA’ cloud.

We have surpassed the time where we put our resources to destigmatise psychological dysfunction and make efforts for it to be viewed in the light of normalcy. There are already examples of systems, companies, and collaborations that are disintegrating because they are unable to manage the emotional states of employees – after all, the organisation comprises of humans. According to a recent news report, “Mental and emotional well-being are now one of the most important topics in many companies”.

Considering a school as an employer for the teachers, most of the psychological challenges either for teachers or for students pertain to emotions and anxiety. These non-verbal cues need unique skills and methods to tackle and address and at initial stages as a proactive mechanism. We are not in a situation to imagine a scenario where we see attrition of teachers in a similar proportion and events of school dropouts due to the negligence of mental well-being.

Therefore, it calls for:

  1. Accepting this emotional ‘Vulnerability’,
  2. Creating an ‘Understanding’ for each other and the ecosystem, 
  3. All of us coming together for ‘Collaborative’ exercise with experts and within the system, and
  4. Doing what humans have historically always been best at – ‘Adaptability’, in the face of every adversity

Thereby creating a healthy and transparent environment where the teachers and students can freely speak about their psychological challenges to appropriate authorities – a psychologically safe ecosystem with the intent of finding solutions.

As a practitioner myself, below are few recommendations:

  1. Invitation by school management and principal, for teachers to participate in designing well-being policies and systems, in partnership with well-being service providers
  2. This will help in addressing the local pain points by customising the needs of the individual school cultures
  3. Create a transparent and permeable climate for open conversations around challenges in managing psychological distress – walking the talk
  4. Proactively recording and addressing instances of signs and observation by teachers of their students through this established well-being machinery
  5. Including vocabulary, integrating practices and interventions in school curriculum – this will have a double advantage, i.e., it will be an effective strategy to enhance the mental well-being of the current workforce, as well as it will equip today’s students (future workforce) with the skillset for managing well-being in their times of distress
  6. Working on changing definitions and popular beliefs around most widely misrepresented terms like success, failure, vulnerability, emotions, and the like. 
  7. Appreciating meaningful and bigger picture initiatives taken by teachers and students

We know that we are cognitive misers and implementation of a schooling system with a psychologically safe ambience might sound financially unwanted and time-consuming, the truth is that there is no quick fix to it. It will not only save time and effort in the long run but also create a healthy systemic effect for a Wellbeing Economy to function automatically with enhanced belonging to the organisation and finding deeper meaning in education – both for students and teachers – and to the nation.

As I connect the dots backwards, I figure out that this is exactly what Goal Number 3 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 2030 talks about i.e., Target 3.4 “…promote mental health and well-being

About the author

Shaleen Porwal is a Positive Parenting and Education practitioner, based in Singapore. This blog forms part of the Faces of the Wellbeing Economy series, sharing expert opinions from across the WEAll network.


  1. American Psychological Association. Apa dictionary of psychology. American Psychological Association. https://dictionary.apa.org/cognitive-miser. 
  2. American Psychological Association. Apa dictionary of psychology. American Psychological Association. https://dictionary.apa.org/positive-psychology. 
  3. Brown Brené. (2019). Dare to lead: Brave work, tough conversations, whole hearts. Random House Large Print Publishing. 
  4. Chuan, W. P. (2021, July 16). Commentary: The coming resignation tsunami – why many may leave their jobs in a pandemic economy. CNA. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/commentary/resign-quit-new-job-office-remote-work-employer-hr-covid-19-2052156. 
  5. Edmondson, A. C. (2019). The fearless organization: Creating psychological safety in the workplace for learning, innovation, and growth. John Wiley & Sons. 
  6. Singer, T. & Ricard, M. (2015). Caring economics. Picador. 
  7. WEAll. (2021, March 18). Home. Wellbeing Economy Alliance. https://weall.org/
  8. What vuca really means for you. Harvard Business Review. (2014, August 1). https://hbr.org/2014/01/what-vuca-really-means-for-you. 
  9. World Health Organization. (n.d.). Mental health. World Health Organization. https://www.who.int/health-topics/mental-health#tab=tab_1. 

Reposted from Resilience

The campaign for ‘Footprint Justice’ is gathering momentum with a call for UN member states to investigate the legal implications of enshrining a ‘Fair Earth Share’ as a human right. The following article explains the latest developments, by Jan Juffermans of the Dutch Platform Fair and Green Economy.

We know from various calculations and reports that the rich countries use a disproportionate amount of the Earth, which has resulted in major social and ecological problems. This already started in colonial times and got more and more out of hand due to the growth of international trade. For a long time, these raw numbers were used: 20% of the people on Earth, especially in the rich countries, use about 80 to 85% of the annually traded (fossil) energy, land and raw materials.

Climate Justice

Due to the great differences in energy consumption, the term ‘Climate Justice’ has been used. The users of a lot of fossil energy, even over many years, are therefore by far the biggest causes of climate disruption. They therefore have by far the greatest responsibility to effectively combat climate disruption and to help poorer countries as much as possible. This is also recognized in the UN Climate negotiations.

Footprint Justice

It is not different with raw materials and the use of agricultural land. Here, too, we see that the rich countries are irresponsibly seizing global lands and resources. For many people there is almost nothing left and that means poverty. Hardly anything is done against this unacceptable situation. To denounce that, I started using the term “Footprint Justice” a few years ago and wrote an essay about it, which was published on the Resilience site in the US.

Global footprints

To take a positive position, the starting point ‘A Fair Earth Share is a Human Right, for present and future generations’ was devised. The interesting thing is that this can be quantified today. Using the ‘Ecological Footprint’ model, the Global Footprint Network calculates the average global footprints of all countries every two years. Comparing these footprints, calculated with the same model, provide the scientific figures of the unequal distribution between countries. The project is being further developed with the support of the Platform Fair and Green Economy. The intention is to have the right to a ‘Fair Earth Share’ ultimately enshrined in international law. See a more detailed explanatory document here (in English) with the most important steps that have already been taken.

Statement of support

Contacts have been established with various persons and organizations, and the plan has been developed to request an ‘Advisory Opinion’ from the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The project has now reached the stage where a few countries are being sought, preferably a rich country and a country with a low national income, that want to put this statement on the agenda of the United Nations. After that, all countries are allowed to rule on the matter before the International Court of Justice, followed by a judgment by the judges. Important for this is the support statement issued jointly by professors Hans Opschoor, Jan Pronk and Nico Schrijver.

Wellbeing Economy Governments

The aforementioned statement now looks for countries with a new vision on the economy, such as Scotland, Iceland, New Zealand, Wales and Finland, which have started to cooperate as the Wellbeing Economy Governments (WEGo). Katherine Trebeck is one of the initiators of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance and founder of this new economic philosophy, which focuses on wellbeing and not just material prosperity. These countries therefore give priority to new indicators, which they consider more important than the Gross Domestic Product. WEGo has now been asked whether they want to take the initiative to apply for the aforementioned ‘Advisory Opinion’ (also republished below).

Jan Juffermans, nationally active for the Dutch Footprint Working Group and the Platform Fair and Green Economy. Boxtel, January 22, 2021. 

Original source: This is the English translation of the article which was originally published on Platform DSE.

A Fair Earth Share is a Human Right for present and future generations

Give everyone structural rights and room to thrive

Amsterdam / Glasgow, December 2020

Although in the last 40 years the wellbeing of many people has increased, and some have seen an extreme rise in their income, the living standards for many others not only have not improved but in some cases have even deteriorated. The time for a new approach is now!

According to the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone has the right to ‘a decent standard of living, including food, clothing, housing, medical care and social services’ (article 25). However, until now, there is no practical reference as to how this right can be realized. Would a new approach create new possibilities?

A new approach

The UN Declaration protects everyone’s right to life, which is enshrined as well in regional human rights law (such as the European Convention on Human Rights). This right to life translates into a human right of access to the Earth’s natural resources and environmental qualities for all.

Given the inherent limits of the Earth systems to provide sustainably and safely those resources to current and future generations, it is crucial to consider how a human right to a fair Earth share could be translated in quantitative terms and recorded in an internationally agreed human rights language.

Quantifying the available ecospace

The Doughnut-model (2017) by Kate Raworth describes the space for sustainable and fair development for humanity, with the safe ecospace as a ceiling and the fair sharing of the social benefits of development as a floor. This space is to be calculated so as to leave a fair amount of resources for future generations.

The model of the global Ecological Footprint (1996) allows us to make quantitative scientific comparisons of present aggregate claims on global ecospace between continents, countries, cities, and persons. Through the concept of ‘Safe Planetary Boundaries’ (2009), the available safe ecospace can be calculated.

Following these methodologies, we can take the next step towards fair global sharing. We hope the right to a fair Earth share can be recorded in internationally agreed human rights law.

An Advisory Opinion

For this process to start, we seek from UN member countries to make a request to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) for an “Advisory Opinion” on this subject by the International Court of Justice in The Hague. The request should preferably be made by a combination of two or more high-income and low-income countries.

When the International Court of Justice starts an “Advisory Opinion” with the proposition that “A Fair Earth Share is a Human Right” all member countries of the UN are invited to give their reaction. Based on all reactions, the official ‘Opinion’ will be formulated.

Our request to you

We would like to ask your support for this new approach, and to take the initiative, with one or more members of the Wellbeing Economy Governments, to make this request for an Advisory Opinion an item on the agenda of the UNGA. Should you have any questions, please find our addresses below as we would be happy to provide further clarification.

More information:

The Dutch Platform Fair and Green Economy (since 2006 – www.platformDSE.org)

The Platform Fair and Green Economy is a member of the Wellbeing Economy Alliance. A more detailed ‘two-pager’ of the present status of this project can be found here.

A recent supportive statement for Footprint Justice by the leading scientists Hans Opschoor, Jan Pronk and Nico Schrijver from the Netherlands can be found here.

An essay about Footprint Justice by Jan Juffermans was published by Resilience in June 2020.

Original references:

Opschoor J.B. (1995). “Ecospace and the Fall and Rise of Throughput Intensity”, Ecological Economics Vol. 15 (1995) No. 2: 137-141.

Raworth, K. 2017. Why it’s time for Doughnut Economics, IPPR Progressive Review, Vol. 24, issue 2:216-222.

Rockström, J. et al 2009. A safe operating space for humanity. Nature 461, 472-475.

Wackernagel, M. and W. Rees, 1996. Our ecological footprint: reducing human impact on the Earth. New Society Publ., Philadelphia. See also: www.footprintnetwork.org