For the September Our Planet Our Future event, local residents met at the Plough and Harrow to learn more about the impact of financial decisions on the environment. This first summary detailed ideas for action and engagement for individuals to take. This blogpost covers the second half of the evening detailing how we change the system!
Sarah MacLaren who leads Money Movers Workshops, was our Guest Speaker for Part One. Jack Easton, chair of Sustainable St Albans and a non-executive Director of Positive Money, discussed the actions being taken by think tanks to change the money system to positively impact climate change in Part Two.
Changing the Money System
Jack Easton provided an introduction to Positive Money and other organisations working in this area. Positive Money’s mission is ‘Reimagining money, banks and our economy for the wellbeing of people, communities and the planet’
Positive Money is a think tank (research), a pressure group (mobilisation) and an advocacy (influencing) organisation with 13 UK staff. Its work is in four main themes:
Democratising money and banking – Banking and financial services should serve society, not concentrate power. Quantitative Easing serves markets not the real economy, nor any green transition, and reinforces inequality and asset price inflation. Positive Money is seeking a more diverse banking system, and a public payments system, preservation of cash and a central bank digital currency
A green and fair Bank of England (BofE) – Positive Money and others pressed for the BofE’s very new climate mandate; now pressing for operational responses to that mandate. “Grade C” for the BofE on the Positive Money Green Central Banking scorecard (Nov 2022)
A well-being economy – Reimagine the collective understanding of success, away from GDP growth and towards well-being measures such as including health, education and equality.
New economy thinking – Mainstream economics does not provide effective answers; not fit for purpose. Positive Money aims to work in partnership with the growing movement of academics, students and policy thinkers globally who are driving greater pluralism in economics.
Some of Positive Money’s recent activities include providing options for how bank windfall gains can be taxed and petitioning for Jeremy Hunt to tax the banks since February. The call for a windfall tax on banks has been echoed by MPs, including Angela Eagle, John McDonnell, Clive Lewis, Diane Abbott, Caroline Lucas and Richard Burgon.
Share Action is a larger organisation with approximately 90 staff, working to encourage responsible investment:
- Share Action works directly with investors to drive up standards for responsible investment.
- It works with policymakers to set the legal frameworks for a finance system that works for people and the planet.
- It believes that individuals should have a say in where their money is invested and works to give them a voice.
Share Action works across global issues including:
- Tackling climate change
- Protecting our natural world
- Increasing good work. Good Work themes
- Insecure work – engage with investors to help them push companies to improve workforce practices.
- Workforce disclosure – The Workforce Disclosure Initiative (WDI) aims to provide investors with the data needed to drive up standards at the companies they invest in.
- Living Wage – Share Action brings together a coalition of investors to urge the FTSE350 to commit to paying a real Living Wage.
- Diversity & Inclusion
- Improving people’s health
Perhaps surprisingly, there are many organisations campaigning to change the priorities and the thinking in the worlds of finance and economics. Some are more overt than others in highlighting climate issues, but all are concerned about the limitations and shortcomings of how things are.
- Positive Money, https://positivemoney.org/
- Share Action, https://shareaction.org/
- New Economics Foundation
- Rethinking Economics
- Finance Watch
- Finance Innovation Lab
- Equality Trust (Tax the Banks is a joint campaign)
- Debt Justice
- Economic Change Unit
- New Economy Organisers Network
- People’s Economy’s (Ecnmy)
- UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose
What Actions Can You Take in relation to the financial system?
- Find out more about the organisations above – join mailing list (s) of organisation to find out more about Petitions, events, news, reports
- Become a supporter and or consider / respond to funding appeals
- Become an employee – most of these organisations are very small, grant funded and actual or quasi- charities, and are inspiring places to work
- Become a trustee – at least two (of the organisations listed before) are looking right now
The next Our Planet Our Future event
We are delighted to be launching our environmental book club on 14th November. Our first book is ‘Letters to the earth, writing to a Planet in Crisis’. The book is a collection of short letters grouped into themes (e.g. loss, hope, action), introduced by Emma Thompson.
You can book your free place at our website. We will discuss the book in groups and will also select the book for the next book club meeting in February and discuss the practicalities for our book club. We look forward to seeing you on 14th November.