How Community Wealth Building can help the Green New Deal
Last month we announced the launch of Common Wealth’s Green New Deal project, a series of reports that will aim to serve as a ‘comprehensive road map for a Green New Deal for the UK’. Common Wealth have recently published Community Wealth Building for Economic and Environmental Justice, alongside other reports looking at the role devolution can play in achieving a Green New Deal.
Authors Grace Brown, Jonty Leibowitz and Neil McInroy of the Centre for Local Economic Strategies argue that with an effective Community Wealth Building (CWB) policy, a Green New Deal has the potential to ‘empower the towns and villages of the UK, offering economic autonomy and stability for local communities’. They set out a plan for local Green New Deals, arguing that
‘too much faith has been placed in the capacity of the central state to achieve systemic transformation, thus ignoring the crucial role the local can play in ushering in a transformation which is democratic and decentralised in its character.’
The report states that harnessing the CWB ‘anchor institution approach’ is key to delivering a Green New Deal; anchors have been ‘instrumental in harnessing community wealth, so too must they play a leading role in ensuring a green transition.’ The focus is on five areas:
- Plural ownership of the economy
- Making financial power work for local places
- Fair employment and just labour markets
- Progressive procurement of goods and services
- Socially productive use of land and property
Plural ownership of the economy ‘will be vital in ensuring the development and success of green alternatives’, while regional banking ‘should be charged with enabling local economic development and financing the energy transition’. The report argues that local industrial strategies focusing on creating ‘a new green workforce’ could create millions of new jobs as well as revitalising ‘rural and ex-industrial local economies currently being failed by growth models based on extractive fossil capitalism’. It also calls for anchor institutions to ‘move as rapidly as possible towards zero-carbon procurement’ alongside creating dense local supply chains. Finally, the report states that ‘local land and property represent an asset base from which community wealth can be accrued … the environmental stewardship of the commons for future generations must be a key feature of a green Community Wealth Building movement.’
Read the full report here.
Read an introduction to the project, Road Map to a Green New Deal: From Extraction to Stewardship, written by Common Wealth director and founder Mathew Lawrence.