A new, sustainable economy for the future takes its first steps in Malaga
SUR in English, by Ignacio Lillo
The new social economy took its first steps on Wednesday af-ter the presentation of the Charter of Malaga at the New Economy & Social Innovation (NESI) Forum. The document, unveiled at the forum’s first session, was put together with the collaboration of people from more than 50 countries across five continents. Its content (four pages in English) is summed up by its fi-nal commitment: “We dream of a new, more sustainable, fair, collabo-rative economy, centred around peo-ple, and today we commit to its co-creation.”
The charter was read in front of an audience of more than 400 ex-perts and speakers from 43 coun-tries, who will come together in Malaga every day until Sunday to share their experience of social and ecologically sustainable business.
“Here in Malaga we have insti-gated a watershed moment for the history of the world economy,” said NESI’s main organiser, Diego Isabel La Moneda, a businessman resident in London who runs the Global Hub for the Common Good. “The char-ter shows that the economy is going to be for the good of the people, not for those whose main preoccupa-tion is making money,” he said, add-ing: “This will be spoken about in the same breath as the Declaration of Human Rights.”
In essence, the idea is to create an economic model in which the objective is to prioritise the greater good over creating wealth, through cooperation and having social and environmental responsibility at the centre of the decision-making process.
Among the concepts discussed on the forum’s first day were eating locally-sourced food, sustainable cri-teria to consider when buying a home or clothing, shared mobility and non-pollutant modes of trans-port, and fair trading.
Among speakers on the first day was Marcos Eguiguren, director gen-eral of the Global Alliance for Bank-ing on Values, an international net-work of around 40 banks created on the basis of ethical and socially re-sponsible investments. “We put people above profits,” he said.
Katerina Fortún, representative of the European Commission in Ma-drid, said that European funds can now be used for circular economy projects (a strategy which aims to re-duce the need for materials and the creation of waste).
The second day of the forum fo-cused on restructuring business for the common good, but also the role of money in society under the prem-ise that “money was created as a way of regulating economic relationships between people.” Now, however, “is a time that the financial system has stopped serving human needs.”
Alternatives such as cryptocur-rency, building societies, local cur-rencies, a gift economy and crowd-funding were discussed. Susan Treadwell, representative of the Open Society Initiative for Europe, summarised by saying: “It’s not about stopping the bad that’s going on, but constructing something good ourselves.”
The NESI forum continues in the city until Sunday. The majority of events take place at the Palacio de Ferias with talks scheduled until Saturday in morning and afternoon sessions.
On Sunday, however, the public is invited to take part in the NESI market at the CAC contemporary art centre in Malaga. From 11am un-til 7.30pm, the centre will host a number of talks, documentary screenings and workshops to show local projects and proposals based on social innovation.
What is the new economy?
An amalgamation of several movements come together under the ‘new economy’ um-brella, with a common desire to transform the model of globalisa-tion and find more collaborative strategies in business as well as government.
Several theorists differ in ap-proach, but the general principles remain the same.
The Economy for the Common Good, led by Christian Felber, pro-poses a model of measuring the success or the failure of a business based on indicators which assess human qualities and levels of cooperation, instead of profits.
Meanwhile, ‘green economist’ Gunter Pauli believes that it is pos-sible to emulate nature in busi-ness processes, with a focus above all on primary education.
The social venture movement led by Peter Kolbrook brings to-gether thousands of entrepreneurs and directs reinvestment towards social initiatives which help to eradicate poverty at all levels.
There are other branches too such as the ‘ethical bank’ which invests its profits in development projects.
As many as 15 different move-ments are getting their voice heard at the ongoing New Economy & Social Innovation (NESI) Forum in Malaga, which started on Wednesday, organised with the support of the city hall and pro-vincial government.