Written by: Abhijit Dabhade

‘Wellbeing’ as a term has been used in common parlance only in the last few years. Before that, it was always the term ‘Quality of Life’ that was used to indicate growth, progress, and even happiness.

Humans are thought to be competitive by nature. It’s easy to think that the grass is always greener on the other side. In the earlier days, it was about survival and biological needs, and after World War I it became all the more imperative to find a livelihood. There was a struggle even to cover for the bare necessities, and any challenge faced to secure sustenance was taken as a necessary effort to achieve success.

Then, we ushered into an era of Industrial Revolution. People could now make machines work for them. As a result, output and production were at an all-time high. But, during this same phase is when humans started pondering about quality of life. For most parts of the developed world, gadgets, gizmos, comfort, minimal effort, and wealth define the quality of life–creating a psychological layer of competitiveness that drew us further away from our core human needs

Only when the tide changed and technology peaked, and the digital revolution started making humans feel like hamsters running on a wheel, did some people start questioning what quality of life actually meant for them. From that moment on, the term wellbeing gained popularity.

Wellbeing was defined as the ability to live a nourishing, nurturing and, above all, self-gratifying life at a pace that could be achieved by all.

As the population boomed, the ability to find the right talent for an organisation or the right partner for a lifetime companion became a challenge. This led to creating a department for Human Resources with a skill set that could leverage some unorthodox methods for better productivity and management.

But, what makes a person happy?

Why do people with high paying CTCs switch jobs at the drop of a hat?

Why do seemingly happy couples find themselves on the brink of a divorce?

Why do we find people who made us laugh caught at the wrong end of the noose of depression?

What prompts legendary star athletes to walk out of a game and not participate in a world championship where guts are considered glory.

Just as some answers to diseases could only be unlocked after an in-depth study of genomics, the answer to these questions can only be found when we decode and assess a person’s personality, including their demeanour and their feelings. This persona is a cumulative response to a variety of different spheres of an individual’s life and environment.

Because of that, broadly, at Joygraphy, we look at these significant areas of wellbeing:

  • Physical wellbeing
  • Relationship wellbeing
  • Career wellbeing
  • Workplace wellbeing
  • Personal wellbeing
  • Values and Ethics – as these form the basis of wellbeing.

Joygraphy is built by Mr Abhijit Dabhade, who has a long journey behind him as an educationist. Every so often, he would meet individuals who seemed to be lost. People were living a life that they thought they wanted but yet were not entirely happy at being alive. Students aspire to be number one, only because someone else told them that it was nice to be number one—athletes choose their sport because of waylaid concepts of glory and thrill.

As such, Abhijit decided to found Joygraphy in 2018. Thus began the research to map 174 human behaviour traits over 2.5 years and analysis of 250,000 data points. He was joined by a subject domain expert, Dr Vishal Ghule, a qualified Psychologist and psychometrician.

This combination of clear intent with core subject matter expertise led to the creation of the Joygraph, ultimately, the evolution of Joygraphy. The Joygraph decodes a person in his/her/its sphere of choice. With a unique set of questions, Joygraphy can uniquely assess a person’s wellbeing. Furthermore, it uses  an integrative approach that combines and compares wellbeing across different facets and creates a Joygraph for an individual from a social, organisational, and interactive perspective.

Joygraphy can customise the Joygraph survey and assessment tools to offer intelligent analytical inputs based on the organizational or institutional requirements. It can provide deep insights that  lead to an individualized action-orientation.

Joygraphy is backed by more than 70 years of cumulative research by PhDs in Education, Psychometrics, and Clinical Psychology.Overall, the insight and perspectives that a Joygraph can offer – especially as a customised assessment tool – remain unparalleled and beyond the realm of mere psychometric testing.

How can and should businesses and finance support social movements to drive change? 

From Extinction Rebellion to Bill Gates, the support for a proactive government  for climate action is clear. But the role of business and finance in making this happen is less obvious: can the ‘rule-taking’ private sector legitimately take on a ‘rule-maker’ role through lobbying and advocacy without undermining democracy?

Joining us in the discussion was Jennifer Allyn, Director of Programs and Campaigns at ClimateVoice, an organisation whose mission is to mobilise the workforce to urge companies to go ‘all in’ on climate, both in business practices and policy advocacy. And Alan Schwartz, founder and funder of the Universal Commons project. (Also co-author of ‘Why Sustainable Investment Means Investing in Advocacy‘). 

Anna introduced the key ideas, visible on the mural below and viewable here.

Outlined by Alan was the key role he thinks businesses could and should take to act positively towards changing policies that affect the climate crisis:

  • Businesses exist to make a profit and cannot be expected to act against their own economic interest.
  • There are some areas where economic profit and sustainability or good corporate citizenship overlap.
  • Business and finance should lobby to broaden this space, given that nothing short of system change is needed to avert the climate crisis.
  • When businesses partner with civil society and get involved in ethical advocacy, great things can be achieved.

Jennifer introduced Climate Voice and the philosophy of the organisation that revolves around workers acting as key pressure points in businesses:

  • Businesses face challenges in being explicitly ‘political’. Climate Voice asked companies who claimed they were pro-climate whether they would support the climate action bill in the US, the Build Back Better Act, to which the answer from most of the organisations was ‘no’.
  • Companies felt unable to disassociate themselves from the loud, anti Build Back Better voice of trade associations. Traditionally, taking a ‘side’ in politics, especially in the polarised US, has been avoided by businesses.
  • However, workers within businesses can play a crucial role in influencing the political direction of the business. Employees can group together and encourage their employers to live up to targets and climate change rhetoric they produce. Pushing from within is the philosophy behind Climate Voice. 

Member questions included ‘how can businesses act together with civil society, and be involved in advocacy in countries where authoritarian governments or political instability limit the influence you can have?’ and ‘how can recent graduates be activists in workspaces where the power imbalance is so strong?’

The key conclusion was that business can and should play more of a positive role in politics whether pushed from below by workers, or by C-Suite decisions that make businesses more actively ‘political’. As Jennifer put it, the absence of climate policies was decades’ worth of work by the fossil fuel industry. So lobbying for positive climate action should be something businesses get behind. After all, we know lobbying works.

Watch the session on YouTube here (for an overview of the core ideas, start at 3:15, for the start of the discussion with the speakers, at 41:50). 

Join us in January as we talk to bestselling author Azeem Azhar for an in person session in London’s Impact Hub Kings Cross.

Sign up here 

To stay up to date on the latest book club events join the Whatsapp group and follow us on Twitter under the hashtag #WEAllRead

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A poem written by Judy Janoo

Let us be known
for the plea, sea to sea—one country,
lakes, plains, city streets,
essential work rewarded
long past pandemic disease.
Fairness regardless of skin or origin,
inequity’s truth an epiphany,
warding off war a gain.

Let us be known
for Lincoln and King,
for questioning, inventing,
justice boring through
smokescreens, through hate
berating those dragging their bones
as the richest gain riches.

Let us be known
for opposing those
who sharpen their claws
on our daughters’ plea
for a new economy
steeped in well being.

Let us be known
for clearing the sky for better lives,
now and then—an extra slice of pie,
known for the falcons’ wingbeat
freeing seas of hungry children
as the raptor’s shadow passes
dropping bills like uneaten seeds.

By: Lisa Hough-Stewart

In March 2021, WEAll published our Policy Design Guide. This Guide was co-created with over 70 WEAll members, and aims to support visionary policy makers to build more just and sustainable economies for people and the planet. 

It was never intended to simply be a guidance document,  rather to transform policymaking and bring to life better outcomes for our societies.  Almost as soon as it was published, we were seeking collaborators and funding to pilot the Guide in real life settings.

The WEAll hubs and their partners in California, Canada, New Zealand and Scotland are working with community partners and local or city governments to bring the Wellbeing Economy Policy Design process to life. WEAll has also teamed up with ZOE Institute for Future-Fit Economies to collaborate on the process and evolve their groundbreaking policy portal to share learnings and successes from the pilots.

These pilot projects (which you can read more about below) are setting out to do something new. They are attempting to transform not just policy results but the process of policy making and decision making itself–to become more inclusive and democratic. They are, in the spirit of the Guide, working in radically participatory ways so that the policy design processes are not only based on the co-created visions of communities but aim to meaningfully engage those communities at every stage of the process – from deliberation to implementation.

The Guide offers a roadmap for this process, as well as many tools and case studies, which are a starting point for the pilots. However, as they evolve in the process, they are also charting new ground, and much remains unknown. WEAll is keen to learn as much as possible from their experiences, working with the hub teams to share learnings and stories that might help other communities and policymakers setting out on a similar journey. We will also develop a new version of the Guide to incorporate their experiences. 

About the pilots


  • WEAll California is carrying out its pilot in the city of Pomona, where the mayor is committed to championing new economic approaches.
  • Jeremy Fackenthal, Managing Director of the Institute for Ecological Civilisation and co-founder of WEAll California explains: “We’re working with local organisations in the city of Pomona to help shape a long term framework and vision for a wellbeing economy, an economy that that works for all people and for the planet, that provides fair and equitable resources and opportunities for flourishing in a holistic set of ways.” 


  • The Well-being Economies Alliance for Canada and Sovereign Indigenous Nations (WEAll Can) in Canada is focusing on the City of Toronto for its pilot, building on the foundations of “Doughnut Economics” workshops with city officials in 2021.
  • Tara Campbell, Wellbeing Economies Specialist at David Suzuki Foundation which hosts WEAll Canada, explains: “We are working directly with city officials, elected officials and city staff to socialise these ideas about wellbeing economies and generate interest. The other part of the work is building up a community oriented coalition or network that is interested in exploring these ideas, to develop wellbeing visions for the city of Toronto, to evaluate what’s already been happening, and imagine policy initiatives that could take place.”

Aotearoa/New Zealand

  • WEAll Aotearoa/New Zealand is aiming to work with community partners in three different regions.
  • Paul Dalziel, Professor of Economics at AERU, Lincoln University and co-founder of WEAll Aotearoa/New Zealand, explains: “We are talking with community groups, who are not formally part of local government themselves, but are collaborating with their local council to promote a vision around participation of people and creating economic opportunities and general wellbeing for themselves, their families, and their communities beyond what the people can achieve just on their own.”


  • WEAll Scotland is working with Perth and Kinross Council to deliver “Love Letham”: a project which aims to bring the long term visions to life of children and young people for a flourishing future in their community of Letham.
  • Sarah Stocks, Director of Northern Star which is working as an associate of WEAll Scotland to deliver this project,  explains: “We are working with local people and decision makers together, to first understand what wellbeing means to those people, particularly children and young people in Letham, and then to try and meaningfully affect change in the way that policies are made.”

The story so far

The pilots are still in their early stages, with most of them set to deliver their first community engagement activities in January 2022.

The story that emerges from their experiences so far is one of the importance of relationships and trust as the foundation for a Wellbeing Economy policy design process.

All four pilots have found enthusiasm and willingness to collaborate amongst community partners and policy makers, and they’ve also found that the investment of time and energy required in developing these crucial relationships is considerable. Tara from WEAll Can suggested that the Guide needs a “phase 0” focused on the importance of stakeholder mapping and relationship building, which is something we’ll definitely consider!

The pilot teams reflect on the importance of relationship building and trust

Jeremy, WEAll California: “ The connections that we’ve made have been a real highlight for me. Being able to use those connections toward something that will hopefully make a lot of impact for people in the city of Pomona. So for instance, talking with Sarah McKinley [Democracy Collaborative] and picking her brain about both the positives and the pitfalls of worker owned cooperatives. Also, connections in Pomona, particularly with Latino and Latina Roundtable. Having them as a partner, and a partner who has the same vision for wellbeing and is willing to even adopt some of our language and help use it to shape the way that they talk about the economy has been really a lot of fun.”

Yannick, WEAll Can: “One of the elements of that relationship building is also inviting people not to be speaking primarily from their professional role. In the case of Toronto, the commonality of everybody is that there are residents of a big city, of Toronto. So how do you also create the space where when the elected official comes in, they’re not automatically seen as the policymaker, and that they have to respond only from their professional role as an elected official?”

Justin, WEAll Aotearoa/New Zealand: “Relationships are critical for our Māori partners. Our Indigenous partners, they wouldn’t call it networking, they would call it relationships. So that’s a really important element we’re trying to work on. Two of our three proposed partners are based on existing relationships, for example we have a hub member working with a potential partner which presents a natural collaboration.”

Sarah, WEAll Scotland: “There was quite a lot of time at the beginning, with colleagues in Perth and Kinross Council, basically trying to understand where Perth and Kinross were at. When I look back I remember it being a lot of discussions about wording, how to come up with a description of the project that would work for Perth and Kinross council as well as work for WEAll. But it was really about understanding each other’s position and where we were coming from and what we all were interested in and what we could learn from this process. 

“When we’ve gone out into the community in Letham, sometimes it wasn’t the first people that we spoke to who were actually the people that we needed to engage. But it was necessary to speak to them in order to determine who was. So it’s like a snowball effect, where you speak to someone, and then ask them to tell you who else they think you need to speak to.”

Are you interested in finding out more about the pilot projects, or using the Policy Design Guide to inform your own work? Get in touch with me at lisa@weall.org

Image: Sarah Stocks, Love Letham stall engaging with community members at Letham Christmas Market

Written by: Isabel Nuesse

In the system that we’re currently living in, money reigns in every aspect of our lives. Wherever money flows in our economy will dictate the priorities of our culture. If this is the case, what can we do in the short-term to influence where money is flowing and, therefore, influence the priorities of our time? 

In October 2021, Jags Walia, a portfolio manager and responsible investor since 2008,  gave a WEAll Talk “From Nudge to Push – Money, Power and CO2” where he shared his own experience of influencing big companies to reduce their CO2 emissions as a smart investment decision. 

He gave our audience his take on how to do this, and assurance that he’s not alone working on these bold objectives.

As an investor, Jags told us he has two priorities: 

  1. Make money for his clients;
  2. Consider the environmental implications of those decisions, to reduce harm and the amount of CO2 emitted into the atmosphere.

There are a number of strategies to go about meeting these goals, and, rather than shying away from today’s big polluters as potential clients, Jags operates on the notion that, by  choosing to work with a dirty company, he can have a bigger impact by directly  influencing their decision making. You can read his Investment Guide here.

“I find the companies that are not the saints today – and try to change their behavior and rehabilitate them.”

He shared a story of a client he worked with back in 2019. The company had proposed to build two brand new coal power plants. Of course, he was adamantly against this decision. But rather than coming out and saying his opinion, he needed to show them that making such a choice was bad business. Why? Well, the average lifespan of a coal power plant is 48 years, and he was predicting that, in 48 years, coal will not be the primary energy resource that we use and, therefore, the return on their investment wouldn’t be realized. In the end, after 8 long months of back and forth, the company decided that they wouldn’t go ahead with the power plants and not only that, but they vowed never to build another coal fired power plant again. 

This was a huge win for Jags and his team, as the outcome of their work turned out to be a long-term company-wide divestment from coal, rather than something restrained to one single project within the company. 

How does Jags do it? He shared his 3 main strategies  for how to engage with companies effectively.

  1. Understand the complexity of the situation that the company is in. Really put yourself in the shoes of these businesses. Who are their stakeholders? Who are the beholden to? What steers their decision making?
  2. Find the right question(s) to ask. When engaging with any company, find out what is possible for them within their context. Don’t suggest something outrageous for them to achieve without first understanding what is reasonable. 
  3. Evaluate what each company says they’re doing vs. what they are actually doing. Many companies will boast about their sustainability achievements, but these can often be overembellished. Do your due diligence to better understand what kinds of commitments the company is actually making. 

One of the participantsasked Jags about the Key Performance Indicators he looks at when evaluating whether a company is ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’. 

He said that he looks at three things, 

  1. Willingness
  2. Ability 
  3. Commitment 

In other words, are the companies willing to make a change? Is it possible and are they able to make it? And, can they get paid to commit to making significant changes? Still working within the current framework, Jags understands that in order for companies to decarbonize, they still have to meet their financial obligations and therefore be paid to do it. 

There is always a balance between uprooting what exists, and improving the status quo. This talk with Jags showed a clear example of how to improve the current situation within the existing boundaries or our system. 

If you missed the talk or want to engage further with this topic, you can watch the full talk recording on our YouTube channel:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bgCljvMqzKY

This holiday season, the WEAll Amp team wants to thank our members and friends around the world for collaborating, experimenting and celebrating with us this year. Your work and your passion IS the Wellbeing Economy movement and it’s thanks to you that we’re more hopeful than ever about our chances of bringing a better economic system to life. 

Click here to download this roundup as a beautiful PDF.

Wellbeing Economy ideas gain momentum

Anyone else feel like you’re hearing the term “Wellbeing Economy” everywhere?
2021 saw the continued spread of Wellbeing Economy ideas, as WEAll members continue to champion the agenda and grow the movement. 

  • The European Union has recognised the need to shift to a Wellbeing Economy and enshrined it in legislation
  • The need for a Wellbeing Economy was debated in the UK Parliament – with many references to WEAll and our members! This follows a public petition which gained more than 70,000 signatures.
  • The World Health Organisation has increased its interest in Wellbeing Economy ideas, setting up a New Economy Experts Group and Economy of Wellbeing Initiative (also being advised by brilliant WEAll members).
  • Canada included a wellbeing/quality of life framework in their 2021 budget.
  • The University of Glasgow recently hired Dr. Gerry McCartney as the world’s first Professor of Wellbeing Economy.

The WEAll family expands across the world

When it comes to growing the Wellbeing Economy movement, that’s the kind of growth we like.

This year, WEAll’s powerbases have expanded and deepened all over the world.

  • There are now eight thriving WEAll hubs established and at least ten more in development. Our hubs have run successful events, secured funding and gained media attention in their countries.
  • WEAll now has 274 organisational members – more than double the number we had this time last year. What’s more, there are now WEAll members on every continent.
  • There are more than 3000 active members of the WEAll Citizens platform, and this year they’ve become more engaged in events and working groups.

Big moments for the WEAll Amp team

It’s been a huge year which is impossible to sum up in one sentence. To give you a feeling for the things our team is most proud of, each of us has shared one highlight.

  • Rabia Abrar: “The Launch of the 2019 Happy Planet Index. A great tool to help people re-consider how we define the ‘success’ and ‘efficiency’ of our economy”
  • Marina Gattas: “Truly honored to have joined the incredible WEAll community this year and so proud of the launch of the Brazil Hub in such polarized political times!”
  • Ana Gomez: “The publication of the Policy Design Guide in Spanish. This means so much for the Spanish-speaking community and for WEAll.”
  • Lisa Hough-Stewart: “Kicking off four pilot projects with WEAll hubs to implement the Policy Design Guide process. Truly bringing Wellbeing Economy ideas to life.” 
  • Amanda Janoo: “The co-creation and launch of the Policy Design Guide. This has led to the creation of a global Policymakers Network bringing together changemakers in government committed to building a more just and sustainable economic system.” 
  • Isabel Nuesse: “The many publications we put out this year from our membership. From the Policy Design Guide to Failure Demand to the Health and Environment paper – it shows such dedication from our membership and real evidence that a Wellbeing Economy is necessary.”
  • Katherine Trebeck: “Presenting to the Director Generals of the European Commission at their annual retreat was a real moment! Also seeing more interest in the Wellbeing Economy amongst states in my home country of Australia.”
  • Stewart Wallis: “Seeing the influence of our members’ work – including how the Health and Environment Policy Paper has directly influenced the WHO.”
  • Michael Weatherhead: “Common Ground Fest. The biggest in-person awareness raising event we’ve done, and it worked! Also, the publication of our Failure Demand report – it got noticed and set us up to draw in more support to do the new system solutions.”

Rounding up the round up

There’s a sense that WEAll, and the Wellbeing Economy movement more broadly, has shifted up a gear in 2021. Wellbeing Economy ideas are in more demand than ever, and we’re also seeing more funders really start to recognise the value of our work.

WEAll has been through a strategic review process this year, which has helped clarify our next steps – and also the enduring value of our founding principles. At our heart, we are about connection and collaboration.

We’ve made it right to the end of our round-up without mentioning the pandemic – but of course this has been another challenging year for all of us and our communities. We feel deeply for the losses of loved ones that our WEAll community has suffered. It hasn’t always been easy for our small team either: we miss each other, we miss our members and although snippets of human connection have energised some of us this year, they’ve been too fleeting. We’re grateful for the technologies that allow us to connect and collaborate with members all over the world – and we also hope to see more of your faces in person in 2022.

WEAll publications in 2021

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

Top Picks

Grassroots movements are key drivers for a Wellbeing Economy – WEAll East Africa

9 tips for talking to your family about degrowth during the holidays

Interlinkages between natural asset regenerating economies and human wellbeing – featuring Amanda Janoo

Upcoming Events

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WEAll Originals  



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

Top Picks

Tapping into a Wellbeing Economy: new report explores Lessons from Scotland’s craftbreweries

The Economy of Well-Being Revolution: A New Paradigm For Future Fit Funding with Amanda Janoo

WEAll at COP26 – reflections from our team (blog)

Upcoming Events

*WEAll Events

WEAll Originals  



From the Archives

By Melanie van de Velde, PhD

More and more business leaders are aware of the importance for their business to become more sustainable. Because they want their children and grandchildren to live in a thriving world. Or because they realise purpose driven companies grow faster. Or because their customers and staff are increasingly asking for it. Or because of the increasing sustainability legislation and to prevent stranded assets.

Once you have decided you want to take the next steps on your sustainability journey how can you best move forward? Should you go down a certification route such as B Corp or focus on effective impact strategies for the best outcomes (or both)?

For those not familiar with B Corp, it is a framework to assess many aspects (200 questions across 80 areas) of your business to define areas that can be improved. As a ‘B leader’ I see the benefits of this holistic framework, particularly in getting validation for your impact.

But, ‘all-encompassing frameworks’ such as B Corp don’t easily let you see the bigger picture and what works well or less well.

For example, you may gain certification points for charitable donations, such as the TOMS Shoes ‘buy-one-give-one model’. In some cases a charitable approach is vital, but in others it can do more harm than good. When 2nd hand clothing donations ramped up in Africa, over 50 percent of the workers in local textile industries lost their job as a result. And is charity really fixing the issue? As SoleRebels Founder Alemu asks: ‘If you give a child a pair of shoes and it grows out of it, then what does it have?’ Instead Alemu applies a more structural approach with SoleRebels for better, longer lasting outcomes.

Or, a framework such as B Corp may give you points to up your recycling, but can you innovate products or business models to prevent waste and make savings on (increasingly scarce and costly) materials? (With recycling being the least effective circular design option).

Why would you invest in something that leads to temporary or ineffective outcomes, or in some cases does more harm than good?

It can be of real value to integrate B Corp certification as part of your sustainability roadmap. But if your aim is to effectively create the best outcomes in terms of impact and business benefits, it pays off to take a step back to look at the bigger picture.

Our Sustainability Business Strategy Masterclass can take you on an inspirational journey past successful examples from around the world. You will be guided to apply key insights that lead to better outcomes in your own context. I believe it is a very powerful way to get started or to move onto the next stage of your sustainability journey.

To find out more or to register: www.bigtreeglobal.net/masterclass

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

Top Picks

A big week for the Wellbeing Economy movement: parliamentary debates and environmental law (round up blog)

1 – The UK’s 1st ever parliamentary debate on a Wellbeing Economy approach led by Caroline Lucas (summary video)

2 – The EU’s Environment Action Plan recognises the need for a shift to a Wellbeing Economy (WWF EU blog)

Ecological Economics and the Threat of Constant Growth with Katherine Trebeck

Upcoming Events

*WEAll Events

WEAll Originals  



From the Archives

This has been a week of big milestones / ‘firsts’ for the Wellbeing Economy movement – from being seriously debated in the UK Parliament to being recognised in law in the EU. Let’s dive into some of the highlights:

The UK’s first ever Parliamentary Debate on a Wellbeing Economy

On Tuesday, MP Caroline Lucas of the Green Party led the UK’s first ever Parliamentary debate on the topic of a ‘Wellbeing economy approach to meeting climate goals’. As she put it,

“The GDP figures we’re using to measure economic success also measure the rate at which we’re barrelling towards climate catastrophe.”

The debate was made possible by over 65,000 signatures from across the UK on a petition, to urge the Government and Treasury prioritise the health and wellbeing of people and planet, by pursuing a Wellbeing Economy approach.

The debate displayed strong cross-party support for the need for economic system change – and for a Wellbeing Economy approach to tackling both the climate emergency and social inequalities in the UK.

This is a big milestone in the road to making real change, because, as MP Patrick Grady put it,

“If we agree that the aim is to reduce inequality, to improve wellbeing and to meet climate goals, we can have a debate about how best to do that.”

Watch the recording of the full session here and read the full transcript here, and the briefing paper that informed the debate.

Here are some of the key highlights from the debate:

Key highlights from the ‘Wellbeing economy approach to meeting climate goals’ debate

The UK’s Environmental Audit Committee launches new inquiry into moving ‘beyond GDP’

Also this week, the UK’s Environmental Audit Committee launched a new inquiry on the case for moving beyond GDP and to explore viable alternative measures. The Committee will undertake hearings in 2022 to examine how the UK Government could incorporate environmental sustainability into its leading measures of economic success.

This is a strong opportunity to build cross-party political support for a Wellbeing Economy and practical steps that the UK Government and Treasury can take in the right direction. The call for evidence covers the UK, but also international policy and action too. Experts are requested to send in written submissions by January 7th at https://committees.parliament.uk/call-for-evidence/646/.

A Wellbeing Economy is recognised in EU law for the first time

The EU’s 8th Environment Action Programme (EAP) sets the objectives for EU environmental policy up to 2030, and lays down the conditions to achieve them.

Yesterday, after months of negotiation, a deal on the EU’s 8th EAP was made. While the agreement fell short in setting an end date for harmful subsidies, the overall result was very promising.

“For the first time, the EU recognises the need to shift towards a Wellbeing Economy. EU institutions have committed to ensuring policy-making is guided by indicators which give a better picture of social and environmental progress than only GDP growth.”

Rebecca Humphries

Key takeaways from the deal are summarized by WWF EU here and the ZOE Institute below:

Here’s hoping these significant strides in promoting the creation of a Wellbeing Economy build stronger momentum for the movement worldwide.

Today, we’re publishing our latest report, Tapping into a Wellbeing Economy: Lessons from Scotland’s craftbreweries about the importance of local production.

The research report uses Scotland’s craftbreweries as a case study for exploring the importance of local production in building a Wellbeing Economy. 

Locally produced goods and services create bonds between local businesses, communities, and the land.  Local production rescales the economy to a human level, and it enables locally rooted economies to thrive. It encourages us to rediscover the purpose and value of the community while bringing economic and environmental benefits, especially in terms of employment and reduced emissions due to shorter transportation distances.

Scotland’s craftbrewing sector is often celebrated as an example of effective local production due to the constant emergence of new craft breweries and their innovative approach to business.

The report found that craft brewers commonly showcase key elements of a Wellbeing Economy in their design and operations, which could provide lessons to other industries such as niche agriculture. 

Promising practices identified include:

  • Promoting a collaborative business model 
  • Redefining success beyond growth
  • Fostering a business’s local identity.

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

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The WEAll global Amp Team is recruiting for a new full-time Advocacy and Movements Co-Lead.

The Advocacy and Movements Co-Lead position offers the opportunity for a passionate individual to co-create and execute a local to global Wellbeing Economy advocacy strategy. They will focus on connecting with global movements working on issues such as climate change, sustainable development, biodiversity loss and social justice. They will work closely with colleagues to effectively advocate for the global governance, policy and cultural reforms needed to build a Wellbeing Economy.  

The position is a fantastic opportunity for someone with skills and experience in advocacy, influencing and knowledge sharing, and who has the energy and ideas to help WEAll build a better system for people and the planet. The successful candidate will be part of a diverse, and energised movement from across the world that is collaborating to transform the economy.

What WEAll is looking for

The focus for the role is to take the lead on WEAll’s global advocacy strategy by galvanizing and aligning with social and environmental movements. We are looking for an organised, flexible, and highly motivated individual with the vision and skills to implement a significant component of WEAll’s strategy: nurturing greater alignment of multiple social and environmental movements with the Wellbeing Economy agenda. Our new colleague will have demonstrable strategic and influencing skills, and a passion for economic system change and working collaboratively to deliver it.      

The post holder must be adaptable, creative, good at self-management, and – due to the nature of our small, flat-structured charity – willing and able to turn their hand to a range of tasks and projects as required to support the movement. We are seeking someone with particular experience and skill in driving successful partnerships between societal movements and impacting multilateral decision-making spaces, with understanding of how different audiences respond to different approaches. 

WEAll recognizes the need for greater diversity in our team and the economic systems change movement more broadly and is committed to addressing it. If you believe you would bring greater diversity to our team, we’re particularly keen to hear from you.

What WEAll is offering

An an opportunity to work with a highly motivated team (WEAll’s core ‘amplification’ or ‘Amp’ team) committed to accelerating economic system change and who hold fast to a set of dedicated values: Togetherness, Care, Honesty, Equality, and Passion, through a flat organizational structure. 

Start date: As soon as possible after 1 February 2022 

Remuneration: £45,000-52,000 per annum (dependent on experience) for a full-time role 

Hours of work: The nature of this role is that flexibility in hours is required (for example, there will be some evening and weekend work, plus travel). Equally, WEAll offers flexibility. The contracted hours will be 35 hours per week, which can be worked on a flexible basis. Please note that WEAll does not officially operate on Fridays. 

Location: Our team is global and we very much encourage and welcome applications from anywhere in the world (working from home). We support      and remunerate team members to work in co-working spaces. 

Applications close at 23:59 UK time on Sunday 2 January 2022. Interviews will be held during the week beginning 24 January 2022. To find out more about the role and how to apply, download the recruitment pack here.

A compass is a device that indicates direction. It helps us take decisions and is probably the most important instrument for navigating chaos and uncertainty. But what if the needle leads us astray? Can we fix it once we veered off the route we want to take?

The GDP is such a compass, used by our societies and decision-makers to see if we are on the right path. Given today’s challenges such as climate change and inequality, it is evident that this major political instrument is no longer fit for purpose. Designed about 90 years ago to lead the way out of the Great Depression, it is incapable of guiding us onto a sustainable path for humanity to thrive. GDP growth is little more than an aggregation of market transactions measured in monetary terms, such as the production and sale of t-shirts or weapons, regardless of whether they contribute to – or harm – human and planetary wellbeing. 

A new compass is needed, that helps us track progress in areas such as climate security, ecological regeneration, health, poverty alleviation or equality. The “Common Good Product“ (CGP) is such an innovative measure that can be used by policymakers and societies to measure success and incentivize economic activity that contributes to the common good. 

An alliance of leading voices of sustainable business and future-fit economics promotes the idea of the Common Good Product and recently formulated an open letter to the G20 Heads of State and Government, asking them to rebalance our economies by enabling the development and roll-out of a Common Good Product, at national, regional and local levels. Christian Felber, co-founder of the global grassroots movement “Economy for the Common Good” put it this way: “The Common Good Product shifts the focus of success measurement from the means (money and capital) to the goals (wellbeing or common good).” Among the supporters are renown environmental economists, entrepreneurs and sociologists, musicians and artists, and even a famous German football club. 

Kate Raworth, author of “Doughnut Economics”, comments: “In order to create economies that thrive, nations need to be guided by metrics that reflect the Common Good. I look forward to seeing the results of this innovative initiative – crowdsourcing a new approach to assessing the health of the future economy.”

Mike Bronner, president of organic movement pioneer Dr. Bronners: “As a company dedicated to using business to do good, we are committed to measuring our social and environmental performance according to an independent third party standard. Why should governments not do so as well?”

The idea of moving beyond GDP is not new and there is an impressive body of research. According to the initiators of the Common Good Product, the parameters for defining it are not a universal blueprint but should be individually co-developed either by the national parliament or the sovereign citizens in representative assemblies or other innovative participatory processes that strengthen our democracies. 

Christian Felber: “The CGP at this stage of development is neither a fully defined scientific model nor bound to its name. There are currently many concepts of this idea growing all over the world such as Gross National Happiness in Bhutan, OECD’s Better Life Index or today’s relaunched Happy Planet Index. It does not matter what you call it. What matters is the fundamental shift in mindset and involving the people. We cannot leave it up to consumers to save the world. We must urge leaders of the most powerful countries to change the parameters of our economies on a larger scale.” 

The compass of the Common Good Product could be a powerful lever for transformation, showing ways to increase the wellbeing and thriving of people and nature, rather than endless growth on a limited planet.

The Economy for the Common Good, who is leading the initiative, will continue advocating the model and aims to bring it up to the highest levels of global governance. Supporters of the idea of the Common Good Product can sign a petition on www.commongoodproduct.org which will be handed over at next year’s G20 summit. 

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!

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WEAll is recruiting for an Advocacy and Movements Co-Lead

A Good Life For All Within Planetary Boundaries

Common Good Product Now – Global initiative proposes future-fit alternative to GDP

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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

The New Economics Zine: “Is a Greener World Possible?”

To the moon and back – Why WEAll Youth needed a North Star and how we found it

Neoclassical Economics is Dead. What Comes Next?

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By Alexandra Berendes

I´m from the very north of Germany. People say that we northerners tend to not speak much – as for me, that definitely isn´t true, which is also a reason why I really enjoyed writing this blogpost and I hope you’ll enjoy it too! 

Let’s start with a bit about my personal context: After having worked in the economy and big corporations for a few years, I decided to change the path of my career drastically last year. I quit my job and moved to Spain to study a Master in Sustainable Business & Innovation. 

In this Master where we talked a lot about the role of companies in regards of shaping the future, the new business paradigm and the triple bottom line. I began to see the economy in very different way. During this time I heard of the Wellbeing Economy for the first time.

One of my classmates, Helene, was deeply involved with WEAll Youth and we began to talk about it, when – be it coincidence or not – they were looking for a community manager in the organizational team. I decided to apply for the role and just shortly after, started to get to know the team and the members.

WEAll Youth started in 2018 – now, three years later, we felt like something went off track.

The initial objective, the strategy and really the overall path had gone missing and we wanted to find it again.

We knew that hosting community calls, talking to members, being connected with WEAll Global – was helping the cause of building a Wellbeing Economy, but we couldn’t help but feel a bit lost once in a while.  

We started to ask ourselves the BIG questions: 

  • Why are we doing this?
  • Who are we doing it for?
  • Where do we want to go?

It became clear that we needed something to guide us. 

Something to help us make decisions, something to help not to lose sight of what we really want to achieve.

In our organisational team of six we began a series of workshops in which we discussed what we’ve done so far, why things worked out and why they didn´t. 

At first we wondered where to start – we decided to start with the mission of The Wellbeing Economy Alliance and broke it into smaller pieces to make it easier to digest: 

  • 10 year project and global movement
  • bring together organisations and individuals (reach a critical mass)
  • Focus on system change
  • by linking and coordinating activities that contribute to a Wellbeing Economy

The question remained – what is WEAll Youth doing then?

For this, let’s look at the “WHY” and “WHO” are we doing this for. (Spoiler – it´s young people ;).)

  1. We found that some consequences of the current situation that we all feel, were:
  • A notion of “Without extensive economic knowledge I have nothing to contribute to the discussion” or “I don´t know enough about it to make a point”
  • Young people feeling excluded or not being taken seriously when trying to give input in economic decision making processes
  • Lack of confidence to stand up for your own ideas of a future because you feel like you’re alone and lost (I don´t even know where to start)
  • Feeling uninspired and unable to see an alternative to current reality
  1. The root causes of these consequences seemed to be on the other hand:
  • The education system doesn’t focus on the “what can be?” but on the “what is”
  • Hard to find engaging content and a community where we can exchange ideas
  • We feel like they don´t speak our language
  • The economy feels like a pretty boring topic
  • Getting involved isn’t fun but really difficult and you´re a bit of a weirdo

From there we talked about how we can change this and looked at our main questions.

  • Why are we doing this?
    • Economics is always shown as this abstract and super difficult subject to understand. It seemed a bit like a strategy from “above” to make the economic system seem so difficult that people don´t want to get involved in the first place.
    • But when it comes to other complex topics, we still have opinions on them and know what we are for or against: e.g. when it comes to migration, renewable energy, equality, etc.
    • The key to a more equal future is system change – You might ask: “What is this again?” – It´s less complicated than it might sound and does what it says on the box →  “Changing the current system” – meaning we need to rethink the ways we were thinking before and find new ways and solutions for current problems. For example we do have enough food globally to feed everyone, but it’s unequally distributed. We live in a system that is not just and we need to change this!
    • We want to make it easier for young people to participate and understand what system change means.We feel like there was a need for the information we personally would love to have and we want to fill that gap and create a safe space for people our age to ask all the questions they have about the economy, chat about things that interest them and make up crazy ideas for a future full of wellbeing. 
    • We want to empower them, connect them, and help them overcome the fear of not being able to participate in this discussion. 
  • Who are we doing it for?
    • Especially young people: firstly, because we all are part of this group of 16 to 30 year olds (age limits are not strict though, don´t worry 😉 ) and we are able to relate the questions this group has – because these are our questions, too. We empathise with them, speak their language, ask their questions and feel their fears, because we are part of this group. 
  • Where do we want to go?
    • The future will always be abstract – no one knows exactly what it will look like: not us, not the politicians, not even Elon Musk. There is always an element of uncertainty, which can be seen as a negative thing, but even more so, it can also be an amazing opportunity! If you don’t know what something is going to be like, you have the possibility to dream about how it could be. You can use your imagination to come up with an idea of a possible future and with this dream of yours, you can take action. You can make decisions, when it comes to the career path you choose, the actions you support, things and people that you spend your time on and time with.

Imagination is such a powerful tool that can literally move mountains. But it’s also not always easy. How can you dream of something that you don’t know, when you have nothing that stimulates you to think in new ways? We often felt like that we can’t possibly dream of something new, because we often focus too much on the present and the given structures we know

“A job needs to be from Monday to Friday, companies are there to make money and produce things you can buy, there has always been a divide between the rich and the poor, the glass ceiling for women is just there” – the list goes on and on.

But whenever we got a little nudge from someone, a little piece of information, that made us question the status quo, it helped us think differently.

“So you´re saying that this company uses all of their waste products internally again and uses them for other products and has hardly anything they need to actually throw away? I see…maybe then…I can dream of a world, where all of the companies reduce their waste output to an absolute minimum and we could live in a totally circular world…that would be incredible! In my first job, I want to question what currently happens with the waste in my company and ask if there isn’t something else we could do with it.” 

This is what we call a “spark” – we want to ignite this train of thoughts and help young people to think big, think differently, think bold, think crazy, think like they can make a difference – because they can.

 So we phrased our North Star like this:

“Every young person can see an alternative to the current economic system and envision a future of social and environmental wellbeing.”

Finding this North Star and most importantly having intensively discussed the topic and finally have come to a conclusion was super helpful for us. It might not seem like rocket science, but this process helped us reveal many questions we still had, enriched our discussion, brought us closer together as a team and most importantly gave us the direction that we were looking for.

From our North Star, we came up with a list of activities that will help us reach it and boiled it down to a simple equation to make it easy to communicate what we do:

With all of this in mind, we stopped doing certain activities, we changed the frequencies of meetings and community calls, we started trying new things like a different way of reaching people via social media through more diverse content and engaging with other networks to put us on the agenda of other organisations.

All of this goes to show how beneficial it is to go into the introspective from time to time and challenge the status quo. 

It’s just too easy to lose sight of the overall goal, when you’re busy dealing with operational issues and short-term needs.

We´re curious to hear what you think of our journey to our North Star and happy to exchange thoughts!

A quick shout-out to our fellow enthusiasts:

To our WEAll Youth members – with a renewed direction as a team, we would love to work closely with our community to bring content that matters and create value together.

To individuals interested in understanding the Wellbeing Economy – do connect with us via LinkedIn/ Facebook or Instagram for a introduction to our alliance, local hubs near you and what the wellbeing economy is all about

To members of WEAll: Looking forward to integrating our youth community closely with you to bring the expertise of policy makers/ business/ community leaders closer to the voices and actions of the youth!

We are hopeful that our North Star will guide us in the future.

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

Business as Unusual – 8 Concepts & Frameworks to solve the worlds biggest problems

How Do We Make The Economy Cool – Event Recap

South Feminist Futures “There’s No Money??? Debunking Neoliberal Myths on Public Spending in Africa

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By: Isabel Nuesse

How do you bring people into the conversation about economic systems change? How do you make it relevant? Interesting? Or, as we called it at our event yesterday, “cool”? 

Our hypothesis was that by creating metaphors about our economic system, we could hopefully open up the conversation to a wide range of audiences- inviting more people to think critically about our current economic system and empowering them to take action to change it. 

During the 90-minute session, we crafted a few compelling metaphors for our economic system.

  1. Humanity is an organism. Right now we belong to this organism, but it’s sick. There is no solidarity, communication or support within the organism. And in order for it to move so we can flourish together, we need a new organism where every cell is cooperating with and sustaining each other. 
  2. The economy is like a game with many players involved. However some players are running in sandals, or barefeet, while others are running in Nike’s. It’s not a level playing field for all – and therefore the odds are stacked against those that don’t have Nike running sneakers. 
  3. It is typical for aliens to arrive on planets, ravage the resources of the planet and move onto the next one. We haven’t learned their technique. Instead, we ravage our planet, take all it’s resources, and still believe we can survive on it. We’re locked where we are. Unless you’re a mega-millionaire who can afford to leave the planet – and the damage behind. 
  4. The economy is like glass that is made from sand. Each sand particle represents all lives (animal, human and ecological). You can use the glass that we have now, but it’s fragile and broken. The edges are sharp and people are getting hurt drinking from it. We need to re-shape the glass from the sand, and ensure that the glass will work properly for all lives.  We need to make sure the glass is clear, and has smooth edges so everyone can sip from it. We need a glass that can be passed on for generations to come; one that is resilient. 

It was beautiful to see the many different metaphors that came from each group- and the vast differences in each of them. One participant made a comment, however, that broad metaphors lack a stickiness that’s needed. 

This shifted the conversation toward identifying what exactly is needed. Many agreed that a major obstacle to ensuring the Wellbeing Economy flourishes, is shifting the stuck thinking of “well that’s just how the world works.” Many people are attached to the ‘normal’ so much so, that they cannot possibly imagine an alternative way of being. 

So how can we ensure that our metaphors inspire audiences to think bigger, whilst also disentangling them from the current narrative that is so pervasive?

One key element here is to make sure that our metaphors are contextualized locally. We don’t need to universalize our metaphors – but rather create targeted metaphors for specific locations – that speak directly to the audiences they’re intended to resonate with.  This emphasizes the importance of the audience, most importantly those that don’t have the conscious space to think of these things as more pressing issues take priority, such as putting food on the table. 

Next time we run this session, we hope to invite artists and other visual thinkers that can illustrate our verbal metaphors into pieces of art that can visually convey the messages. We hope you’ll stay tuned for the next session – as this last session was such a fantastic way for our network to co-create something together. 

Lastly, at the end of the session, we asked the participants to share one of their key takeaways, you can read the list below. 

  • Metaphors can open up possibilities for individual engagement & action
  • We haven’t asked what metaphors ‘ordinary people  might use 
  • We need to break out of old toxic paradigms 
  • We need more events like this with many many artists to be in them!!!  🙂
  • Community is important to create a healthy earth system
  • It is hard to keep a metaphor inclusive 
  • The big interest in thinking about the economy
  • The economy can be many things, depending on whom you ask 
  • The power of a metaphor is one thing, but to discuss metaphors in a group is even more inspiring than I thought…
  • The economy surrounds us
  • Some people are playing to play and some are playing to survive
  • We had a very wide-ranging conversion which was quite free-wheeling and creative. That was a good reminder of the value of multiple viewpoints from all around the world. 
  • There’s so many different ways you can spin a metaphor- a great group helps with that!
  • I’m thinking lots on how to get ourselves out of the spaceships and land and connect with the planet and the rest of humanity 
  • We have become aliens living in spaceships and need to land on earth and become human again
  • The economy is a metaphor itself for the way all beings relate
  • TO keep taking the metaphor economy to the next generation
  • Cultural context matters! We’re often too biased. 
  • We are the economy