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The Seven Principles

for a Fair and Green Economy


Index Introduction


Planet Princible 1 Principle 2

The Mother Earth Principle The Planetary Boundaries Principle

4 8

Societies and human rights Principle 3 Principle 4

The Dignity Principle The Justice Principle

12 16

Ethics in governance Principle 5 Principle 6

The Precautionary Principle The Resilience Principle

20 22

Responsibility Principle Principle 7

The Responsibility Principle


Thanks to


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Introduction In January 2011, ANPED organised together with the Future Justice team of World Future Council and FPH (Foundation pour le Progrés de Homme – France) a workshop with several think tanks from around the world to design “Principles for a Fair and Green Economy”. We worked two very intense days in the basement of the St Mary RC Church in Long Island City (NY). The main goal was to define a base line for the Green and Fair Economy, to avoid green washing and the watering down of the ideas of Sustainable Development. We sincerely hope that these Principles will be a tool to guide the debates on a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication, started in Rio+20, to evaluate anything that comes out of Rio+20 and to become a reference for years to come. Because these are the values on which the ‘Future We Want’ should be based. Leida Rijnhout, executive director of ANPED – Northern Alliance for Sustainability

In full recognition of the Rio Principles, the following set of principles is proposed to specify guidelines for the ‘Green Economy in the Context of Sustainable Development and Poverty Eradication’. These principles and guidelines will serve to enrich and focus the debate on how to ensure that economic solutions become means to a vital end: the overall goal of strong sustainability and global well-being. The principles are mutually reinforcing and complementary and as such may overlap.


Principle 1


Planet The Mother Earth Principle The Earth, including her natural communities and ecosystems, possesses the inalienable right to exist, flourish and evolve; and to continue the vital cycles, structures, functions, and processes that sustain all beings. Every human has the duty to protect her and her inhabitants. Some of the consequences of this principle are: no patenting of life, and respect for animal welfare.

Rationale behind the principle: There is only one planet. This planet is comprised of networks of ecosystems, where plants, animals, and human beings live and flourish. Yet these strong ecosystems are often very vulnerable. The resilience of the community, which includes the well-being of humanity as well as the rest of the animal world, depends upon preserving a healthy biosphere. Protection of all of the biosphere’s ecological systems, and avoiding irreversible impacts to those systems, is a first duty of humankind. "Earth Integrity" refers to wholeness, completeness, and the ability and right to function fully as an ecosystem. All living creatures are interdependent and bound within one system. Intervening in the system can have irreversible effects. Every inhabitant of the planet has the incontrovertible, inalienable right to all the basic necessities for a secure and peaceful life with full expression of her/his potentials.

meeting (World People's Meeting on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth), resulting in the People’s Agreement of Cochabamba. The Agreement concludes that "humanity confronts a great dilemma: to continue on the path of capitalism, depredation and death, or to choose the path of harmony with nature and respect for life."

Barriers/Myths that go against the principle:

Nowadays, it has become accepted by many that to protect business interests, patents are registered on living beings or systems. Yet this gives research centres and corporations the possibility to appropriate life, and to manipulate it. The appropriation of nature, of life itself, is against all ethical standards. Economic reasons can never be an argument for permitting the commodification of life. Short-term, so-called “solutions” for poverty can also end up being an incentive to destroy natural resources and The planet Earth is the centre for existence and ecosystems. therefore the most important base for all beings. Immense financial resources have to be redirected Preservation of ecosystems in their intertwined toward the preservation of wilderness, as well as totality, and with the long-term view in mind, is a restoring ecosystems from the ecological damage precondition for safeguarding future generations. that has been done. Financial means will have to Short-term policy decisions and economic goals must come partially from the wealthy regions of the be of secondary priority. world, where recognition of the 'value' of nature and ecosystems is often scarce. Important progress has recently been achieved, Additionally, the traditional conservation mainly by innovative socio-ecological activists and approach has more often than not been an movements in the Global South. Instrumental in obstacle to holistic culture change, because it this progress has been the 2010 Cochabamba seldom takes humans and their communities into


account, thus having a one-sided and narrow focus. Furthermore, traditional conservationism promotes a dichotomy between preserved lands and overused lands (and consequently fails to protect the entirety of biodiversity effectively). Instead of trying to preserve just some isolated patches of land, what is needed is to interact with the complete interconnected landscape in a sustainable and responsible manner. Human beings often consider themselves to be placed above (and outside) nature and ecosystems. One tragic manifestation of this human-superiority complex is the ruthless exploitation of animals. This is most evident in industrial farming, where animals are massprocessed and treated as mere commodities. Instead, animals are sentient beings, capable of intense feelings, including pain, distress, suffering, and pleasure. If and when animals are used, they must be allowed to express their natural behaviour and their welfare should be respected and responsibly stewarded. Since ancient times, human beings have intervened and attempted to dominate nature for their own (individual or collective) advantage. This has then been called "civilisation" or "development" or “progress”. In many cases these supposedly “civilised” interventions destroy more than they deliver—bringing us to the urgent situation we find ourselves in globally today, in dire need of strong and well-thought-through sustainability principles and guidelines such as those described here.

Arguments supporting the principle: Protection of nature was one of the first undertakings of the environmental movement. But academics also started to find it obvious that the environment was too important to disregard. In the 1960s, economists started to integrate the environment with their analyses by putting a

price on it. Nature thus became more and more part of the economic system, and "managing" it could yield a financial profit. In this traditional economic thinking, nature was taken for granted as free and available (clean water, fresh air, wide open spaces, etc.). But this is clearly not the case, and we cannot continue thinking as such. Nowadays, fortunately, we are increasingly recognising that nature is finite, and not for sale. A market approach can never conserve nature— on the contrary, it will destroy it even more. The limits in effectiveness of narrowly focused (‘single-issue’) environmental advocacy campaigns are more broadly acknowledged now than even just a few years ago. The very position of seeing ourselves as separate from the environment we wish to “save” has also thankfully began to be critiqued, leading some activists and thinkers to feel more comfortable with the term deep ecology rather than environmentalism. Many ecologists and eco-activists today feel and know a powerful truth: rather than seeing the ecological movement as made up of advocates or charity-workers in defence of the separate “natural world”, we are in fact the very mountains (and rivers, forests, urban wilds, cities) defending themselves. This position of being what we are defending and protecting and saving is quite a powerful pivot of perspective. Local inhabitants have also evolved in organising themselves horizontally and non-hierarchically, joining forces with others who face comparable challenges no matter the distance or specific differences in cultures. Perhaps more than ever before in history, indigenous organisations are connecting worldwide and effectively voicing demands that, naturally and logically, often have the rights of Mother Earth as their starting point.

Principle 1


Planet Examples where this is happening: *) Yasuni initiative (Ecuador) — Keep the oil under the soil! Scientists from all over the world have designated the Yasuni region of the Ecuadorian Amazon as the zone with the highest biodiversity in the world. Within one hectare of Yasuni, 644 different species of trees have been identified. There are as many different species in one hectare of Yasuni as there are in the whole of North America. The Yasuni region has been declared a world biosphere reserve by UNESCO (the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation).

reserves, or $3.6 billion, over 13 years. The State will issue certificates for the crude oil of Yasuni, promising to keep the crude underground forever and to use the funds to better protect Yasuni National Park.

*) Organic agriculture (GMO-free) Worldwide campaigns against the introduction of genetically modified agricultural plants (and even animals) have been carried out the world over, by farmers, environmental organisations and organisations from a score of other societal sectors. The reasons for this opposition are manifold, but one key argument, shared by many of the opposing organisations, is the This biosphere reserve is the territory of the acknowledgment that the human race does not indigenous Huaorani people and other native have the right to scientifically change the genetic tribes who live in voluntary isolation. The area 'hardware' of the world. Another shared also harbours immense oil reserves, the Ishpingo- argument, connected to this, is that of the ‘Precautionary Principle’: if an action or policy has Tambococha-Tiputini (ITT) oil field, with a value a suspected risk of causing harm to the public or of billions of US dollars. Under pressure from to the environment, its introduction or environmental/indigenous organisations, the continuation has to be postponed until there is President of the Republic of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, has indicated that the first option for the sufficient proof of its safety. Organic agriculture country is to leave the crude oil of Yasuni acts with these arguments in mind, and provides a way of sustainable food production that untouched and underground. The international community has been asked to help to achieve this respects the soil, the welfare of animals, and the over-all health of the planet. More information on by coming up with 50% of the value of the


the Precautionary Principle and ethics in governance can be found in the fifth principle in this publication. *) The Cochabamba Declaration (Bolivia) The People's Agreement of Cochabamba is the boldest and clearest statement of endorsement of the rights of Mother Earth. In widespread reaction and mobilisation after the failure of the Copenhagen Climate Conference, more than 35,000 people from more than 140 countries, with official representation from 48 governments, attended the Cochabamba conference. The concluding declaration states, "We confront the terminal crisis of a civilising model that is patriarchal and based on the submission and destruction of human beings and nature that accelerated since the industrial revolution." The declaration describes seven key elements of its principles.

However, it did install a Mother Nature Ministry, accountable for enforcing the Cochabamba declaration.

For more information: Yasuni Initiative:

Of course, in practice, these principles are far from secured — even when it comes to the government of Bolivia, which was a strong endorser of the Cochabamba Meeting. The Bolivian government struggles to balance its economic policy with the demands and needs of its indigenous population and small farmers.

Against GMO's: People’s Agreement of Cochabamba: htp:// peoples-agreement

Principle 2


Planet The Planetary Boundaries Principle The Planetary Boundaries Principle clearly establishes that human development is dependent on intact ecosystems and that there are limits to natural resourcebased economic growth. Safe economic systems must respect such ecosystem boundaries and governments need to set clear long-term limits to maintain a reliable operating base.

Rationale behind the principle: The neo-classical (neoliberal) way of structuring the economy that became hegemonic first in Chile in the 1970s, later in the United Kingdom and the United States, and subsequently in large parts of the rest of the world, is based on the concept of the constant need for unlimited growth in terms of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). Limitless growth is a dangerous myth that can only be perpetuated through built-in defaulting indicator systems such as the use of the GDP, and by intense propagandistic pressure in the media, in the scientific community and in society at large. Using the GDP as the main indicator of the state of the economy creates a structurally and fundamentally distorted image, since many costs and effects are not included, and many costs and damages are even erroneously counted as positives. For instance, costs incurred to repair ecological damage stemming from oil spills would count as 'growth' in this traditional system of measuring. Negative effects in unpaid labour, such as time available to take care of parents or children, would not appear as 'costs' at all in GDP-based accounting. In spite of this, most policy makers and civil society organisations remain convinced that economic growth (measured in GDP) is the most efficient method to reduce poverty. But the exponential growth of most of the developed countries is causing a myriad of problems on environmental and social levels. Ecological

degradation and the widening gap between rich and poor stand in direct relation to GDP-growing economies. This ‘growth’ requires large and unsustainable amounts of natural resources, exploited mostly in the South, and it causes CO2 and other toxic emissions, again suffered most by people and ecosystems in the South. Many alternative economic indicators have been developed, applied, and tested that give a much more realistic image of the state of the global and local economies, not to mention the rate of happiness, satisfaction, and general well-being. Policy goals and monitoring need to be guided by integrated measures on multiple fronts (environmental, social, economic), and must take into consideration a diversity of interpretations of human welfare. Sane economic policy should recognise the limits of resources and the ecological and social capacities of the planet’s ecosystems and populations. Raw materials and fossil fuels exist on Earth only in limited quantities and thus cannot be endlessly utilised without planning limits to their use, as well as reusing and recycling materials as much as possible. Other finite resources that until now have been counted as freely accessible in unlimited quantities (such as clean water and air, open space, human labour) must also be taken fully into account.


Over the course of the last century, unsustainable economics has been the prevailing paradigm, without any respect for boundaries or carrying capacity, and this has inflicted massive damage. The damage needs to be repaired and/or repaid as much as feasible in the specific circumstances, in order to restore as much as possible. Comparable with the financial damage and debt incurred by past imperialist and colonialist practices in the Global South, this damage can be named “ecological debt” or “sustainability debt”. Barriers/Myths that go against the principle: Most people understand that unlimited growth is not sustainable, and that the concept would not be “natural” in their daily lives, not to mention impossible when it comes to physics (try inflating a balloon forever!). Yet, the myth that unrestrained growth is a necessity for the economy continues to prevail today. Neoliberal economists and their discourse still dominate the social sciences and the media. Another obstacle to regulation is the persistent belief that “prohibitions don't work”. This has more to do with propaganda than with reality. Everybody knows, for example, that prohibiting the unregulated sale of firearms helps to curb violence, or in the case of urban planning, limiting parking space helps to regulate traffic problems because it encourages people to use other forms of transport. But the misconception that setting limits is counterproductive to a healthy functioning system unfortunately persists to this day, and this misconception is quite instrumental in the hood-winking lobbying campaigns that are carried out in the interest of corporate powers. The belief in technological solutions to the problem of scarce raw materials only hinders

instituting regulatory policies in a timely fashion. In short, on a finite Earth, there is no ‘techno-fix’. And the use of ‘natural capital’ as a metaphorical tool can be problematic, as only those values that can be translated into monetary terms will count in the equation. Another obstacle lies in people’s value systems, which in the developed or civilised world often means a value system ruled by the worship of material wealth, and discounting other less visible or calculable values, those riches ironically often more precious and hard to come by: freedom, happiness, love, health, leisure time, inspired engagement, dignity.

Arguments supporting the principle: Technically it has become much more manageable to measure the boundaries and availability of biomass, and thus the over-all carrying capacity of the planet to absorb waste of all types. Long-term strategies are being developed for national economies, based on availability of natural resources and limitations of waste emissions (including CO2). The issue of “food security” is receiving growing support. Projects to replace the GDP by more realistic economic indicators are developing rapidly as well. The International Resources Panel of the United Nations should have the scope of its mandate expanded to that of the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change), to manage and calculate the use of natural resources based on equity in access. The recent financial crisis has made it abundantly clear that the current model of production and consumption has surpassed limits of available resources, as well as illustrating just how dangerous it is to have an economy dependent on the unlimited access to these resources. Relatively new phenomena like ‘land-grabbing’

Principle 2


Planet indicate that nation-states and corporations are prepared to wield their power to appropriate other peoples’ lands and resources, ostensibly to secure “their” own share of the spoils, while encountering more and more unified and active opposition to this modern form of colonialism as well.

Examples where this is happening: Many government officials from relatively poor countries have pointed out at climate change meetings that the principle of shared but differentiated responsibility demands that rich nations go beyond donations or adaptation credits, and actually make reparations that recognise their ecological debt for excessive emissions or pollution over several decades. However, perhaps unsurprisingly, the top US ambassador to the 2009 COP (Conference of Parties) in Copenhagen, Todd Stern, flatly rejected these arguments. Nevertheless, diplomats from poor regions continue to speak out, demanding that the United States owes a debt to developing nations for the US-American emissions that have

largely contributed to global climatic disruptions. Food sovereignty and food security are concepts that are being adopted by an increasing number of civic organisations (farmers, ecological groups, etc.). Check out, for instance, the Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum), a community of practitioners currently reaching more than 3,400 members from across the world’s five continents. A movement against economic growth dependence is gaining momentum in many countries—for instance in France, Spain, Germany, and Austria, as well as many other countries. Even in the European Parliament, the issue of the faulty GDP indicator is being debated, for example in the Beyond GDP conference. Meanwhile, ‘Peak Oil’ has become a household term and a focus for many movements (such as Transition Towns), with awareness growing that many other scarce resources are showing signs of a coming ‘peak’, if not a passed peak.

For more information: International Resource Panel: Beyond GDP: DegrowthPedia: Food Crisis and the Global Land Grab: Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition: Southern People’s Ecological Debt Creditors Alliance: Décroissance (De-growth) movement in France - Institut d'études économiques et sociales pour la décroissance soutenable (Institute of social and economic studies for sustainable de-growth): Resource Cap Coalition – CEEweb for Biodiversity:


Illustration by Kate Raworth, Oxfam Great Britain

Principle 3


Societies and human rights The Dignity Principle The Dignity Principle upholds that every human being, now and in the future, has the right to livelihood. Peoples’ sovereignty for food, energy, and their surrounding natural environment must be respected and implemented. Poverty eradication and redistribution of wealth have to be the main priority of governance and measured in these terms.

Rationale behind the principle: All people in the world have the right to live in dignity. There is enough space, food, air, and water for everybody. It is also possible to provide everybody on Earth with the basic provisions of shelter, education and health care. But this can only be achieved if we make conscious, informed and just choices about the sharing and distribution of means and resources. It will also require choosing responsible patterns of consumption. The Earth will not be able to provide a “Western” consumption menu for all; that kind of extreme consumption level can only be maintained with direct and indirect violence continuously enforcing a high level of inequality.

The current situation in the world today is far from equal. The global income differences are dramatic, with a huge concentration of income in the ‘Global North’ and a tiny top segment in the Global South. According to ‘The World Distribution of Household Wealth’, "The top 10 per cent of adults own 85 per cent of global household wealth, so that the average member of this group has 8.5 times the global average holding. The corresponding figures for the top 5 per cent, top 2 per cent, and top 1 per cent are 71 per cent (14.2 times the average), 51 per cent (25 times the average) and 40 per cent (40 times the average), respectively. This compares with the bottom half of the distribution, which collectively owns barely 1 per cent of global wealth. Thus the top 1 per cent owns almost 40 times as much as the bottom 50 per cent."1 The inequitable situation is maintained — and even aggravated, as the income gap has been growing in most countries in the past decade — so called free trade agreements benefiting corporate powers and deregulated financial systems are two of many factors that contributed to this to happen. Champagne Glass Distribution from Conley (2008) You May Ask Yourself

1 "The World Distribution of Household Wealth", by James B. Davies, Susanna Sandstrom, Anthony Shorrocks, and Edward N. Wolff, 2006.


To protect our own dignity of life it is necessary that people have the right to decide, in their local sovereignty, how to organise their society, within a framework of a global set of guidelines for “responsible behaviour”.

cooperative effort, and much energy will need to be directed toward defining collectively supported alternatives. It is with this collective defining process in mind that this publication of principles came to be.

Peoples' rights to all of the above have to be explicitly laid down in local, national, and international agreements, and these rights must grant the same degree of legal protection as agreements on trade or investments. Apart from these rights being written down in international and local laws, there has to be an effort to provide the legal instruments and frameworks to enforce these rights at the global level.

When trying to formulate laws and agreements aimed at securing peoples' basic rights to anything, powerful lobby-initiatives from corporate entities immediately move in to secure their interests.

If patterns of trade and commerce can deglobalise, this will most of the time mean that people will get more control over their local economy and basic needs. But there will always be circumstances, times and places in which basic rights cannot be met locally. The international community has the duty to set up structures to provide with support in these cases. Where globalising processes are unavoidable realities, emphasis should be placed on the possibility — in fact, the essentiality — of people to maintain influence over these global-sized forces that affect their lives, and new structures for direct-democratic global governance have to be developed.

Wealthy countries’ protectionist policies, combined with the prohibition of the same protections for the rest of global society, are preventing communities in the Global South from equalising.

Arguments supporting the principle: Many people see that the much-propagated free market is not ‘free’ at all, since there are huge monopolies and strong regulation (mostly in favour of the big corporations and monopolies). Recent crises like the financial crisis, food crisis, and climate/energy crisis have confirmed the fact that a drastic change in methods of production and consumption is necessary, as well as an assertion of people’s rights of access to their basic needs, food and resources.

The use of other economic indicators than the GDP will show the need for redistribution of wealth and a coming together on the appropriate Barriers/Myths that go against the and sustainable use of natural resources. The principle: importance of the concept of ‘environmental Privatisation and deregulation, following space’, for instance by the method of the neoliberal-utopian ideas about a free-market ecological footprint, has been dramatically shown economy, are still very much the trend these days. by ecological (and thus, social) disasters in the last At the same time, civil society seems fragmented several years. Nobody can deny, for instance, that and disorganised. Reversing the dominant trend, excess water in Northern Europe (partly produced beginning the process of de-privatising and reby the effects of climate change) needs space to regulating, will require a great coordinated and flow into; otherwise it will flood entire cities.


And humans have clearly recognised that there is added value in forests, now that we know that they absorb an important part of the CO2 we produce and release into the atmosphere.

Examples where this is happening: Indigenous organisations all over the world are expressing their right to preserve their livelihood, regardless of corporate or governmental claims on the space and resources in their territory. Since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, efforts to lay down the rights of Earth’s inhabitants have continued, from the local to the global level. See for instance the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights2, where, among many other rights, the right to access to drinking water is articulated. In fact, most countries in the world in some way limit the reach of the so-called free market or restrict the power of corporations in one way or another, in order to at least minimally protect the environment and give some kind of rights to the local population. For example, social-democratic welfare states were built up by requiring a larger tax from wealthy persons and corporations. Although this tendency has been largely dismantled and comes under heavy pressure these days, it is also safe to say that recent occupations and manifestations against austerity cuts in Europe and around the world demonstrate that people are willing to speak out and put their bodies on the line to defend these hard-won rights and social securities. Thanks to this social

2 International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights:

protest and pressure and a skeleton framework of helpful laws in place, human and environmental rights are at least partially upheld. Ideas for a worldwide social security system are being developed and pilot projects such as the Namibia Basic Income Grant have proved very successful. Solutions that are more embedded in hybrid economics are projects such as the Bolsa Familia in Brazil, showing how support can substantially lift people out of poverty. Bhutan included these kinds of rights and values in an alternative economic indicator system, called the Gross National Happiness (GNH) indicators. In July 2011, Bolivia enacted “La Ley de Revolución Productiva Comunitaria” (The Law of Productive, Communal and Agricultural Revolution), which seeks to ensure food security, while safeguarding national sovereignty and protecting the environment. Internationally, many groups are designing proposals for global agreements on a set of important universal rights, such as the right to clean drinking water, access to food, the natural world, etc. ("La Ley de Derechos de la Madre Tierra" or "The Law of the Rights of Mother Earth")


For more information: Our Common Future (also known as the Brundtland Report), by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED), Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1987. Kicking Away the Ladder: Development Strategy in Historical Perspective, by Ha-Joon Chang, Anthem Press, London, June 2002. General Basic Income: Namibia Basic Income Grant: Bolsa Familia (Brazil): Worldwide social security: Bhutan Gross National Happiness indicators: Bolivia Set to Give Nature a Set of Rights:

Principle 4


The Justice Principle The Justice Principle calls for the equitable sharing of all economic benefits as well as burdens. This applies to access to goods and services, the use of natural resources, and the responsibility to strive to avoid harmful practices, while being prepared to provide satisfactory compensation should any damage occur. All institutions, corporations, and decision-makers need to be held to the same standard of accountability and personal responsibility for their actions.

Rationale behind the principle: The natural resources required for humanity’s basic living conditions are becoming ever more scarce. Even those lands essential to food crop production have become the object of massive speculation and monopolisation. Current pollution emissions by far exceed the limits of the

Earth’s carrying capacity. And social pressures frequently boil over due to large-scale exhaustion of the human labour of millions of people who have to work their fingers to the bone just to survive. The extreme power inequality is the main reason why a privileged few reap an unequal share of the world’s scarce provisions.


More equal societies produce less crime and have more happier inhabitants, as vast scientific evidence shows. More equal societies are also more stable and resilient, as people have more trust in and affinity to each other.

made by institutions like the WTO seek to actively weaken the position of those that suffer the effects of corporate power, by placing corporate enterprises in a special, protected position. The strategy can be seen in the way the OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Therefore there is a dire need for legal frameworks Development) is attempting to formulate the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) in (on all levels, from local to global) to protect favour of the rights of corporate investors. This peoples’ rights to the basic elements of a attempt was scaled back after growing protest dignified life (as outlined in the previous made it too unpopular, but the key elements principle). continue to appear in proposals, co-opting and undermining the effectiveness of international Laying down these important basic rights in solid agreements and laws, holding accountable those in agreements. power (whether they be governmental authorities or Corporations and governing authorities hide their corporations), will make it much more possible for people in less powerful positions to get their rightful culpability behind an often-feigned lack of understanding in the chain of production of share of the planet’s wealth. products (or services) they sell. This is also done by corporations who refuse to give information Of course the problem also lies in the practical that is needed to pay a fair amount of taxes. They enforcement of these laws. There are already create an opaque web of internal relations that many declarations and international agreements with idyllic-sounding promises that never get fully makes it possible to shift capital and goods without proper control. elaborated, much less implemented. Partly this problem arises because the agreements do not As for assessing damages, there are many have the same scope or authority as other laws, arbitrary factors that make it difficult to reach for instance laws laid down by the WTO (World Trade Organisation). Yet at the same time consensus about what constitutes fair movements are learning how to use international compensation, especially as transnational causes and effects may be involved, like cross-border agreements as effective leverage tools in their pollution or extraction. How far back in time can campaigns. we legitimately take into account? Movements in Africa have started to claim that to accurately Barriers/Myths that go against the principle: assess the damage, one must go as far back as the slave trade of the 1600s. The cost of many In spite of the fact of economic globalisation negative effects can also be quite difficult to rapidly engulfing the world, international laws estimate. remain weak. Many of the free trade agreements

Principle 4


One clear example that has been hampering strong legal regulations of water is in the case of transnational rivers, where one country can extract too much water for agricultural irrigation, or dam the river for energy production, thus depleting the amount of water that flows to the next country.

Despite being controversial, the recent experiences of 'capping and trading', especially of carbon dioxide emissions, set an example of measuring and pricing pollution. A whole different discussion is whether we think it realistic that the pollution can be phased out merely using market forces.

Examples where this is happening Arguments supporting the principle: The Stand Up For Your Rights initiative for the Some international court processes are drawing much attention and achieving the castigation of individual war criminals, though they are still disputed in international political relations. The installation of the International Criminal Court in The Hague for specific UN cases has set a precedent, albeit only for specific persons or cases. Other comparable courts are being set up for other thematic areas, such as the International Court of Environmental Arbitration and Conciliation1. Often these courts are multilateral constructions, combined with the signing of agreements that allow the court to serve as a dispute-settlement agency. Campaigns to hold transnational corporations accountable have been elaborating strong and transparent methods for corporations’ social and environmental behaviour, with recognition of ecological debt calculations and compensation for damage caused. A specific method of accounting for corporate activities is that of LCA, life-cycle assessment or analysis. It allows us to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life.2

1 For more information go to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) website: DisputeSettlementProvisions/Resource/tabid/660/Default.aspx 2 See

acknowledging and upholding of human rights. The initiative delivers explicit watch-dogging on the implementation and violation of human rights. Beginning in 1989, the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) has worked to help ensure that the fundamental rights of workers are respected. The CCC "educates and mobilises consumers, lobby companies and governments, and offer direct solidarity support to workers as they fight for their rights and demand better working conditions." The Campaign is an alliance of organisations in 15 European countries. Members include trade unions and NGOs representing a broad spectrum of perspectives and interests, such as women’s rights, consumer advocacy, and poverty reduction. There are also many cases of multinationals being prosecuted for the damage done abroad, such as the Texaco case in Ecuador, where local inhabitants sued the oil company for the pollution of their environment. Another example is that of Shell in Nigeria and Mercedes Benz in Argentina. To help encourage people and corporations to recognise the Rights of Mother Earth, it is essential that the crime of ecocide should be recognised.


Ecocide has been defined as the extensive damage to, destruction of or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that: • peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants has been severely diminished; and or • peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of another territory has been severely diminished. The Nagoya Protocol on Access to Genetic Resources and the Fair and Equitable Sharing of Benefits Arising from their Utilisation (ABS) to the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is a supplementary agreement to the Convention on Biological Diversity. It provides a transparent legal framework for the effective implementation of one of the three objectives of the CBD: the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising out of the utilisation of genetic resources.

By helping to ensure benefit-sharing, the Nagoya Protocol creates incentives to conserve and sustainably use genetic resources and therefore enhances the contribution of biodiversity to development and human well-being.3 Then there are examples of “public tribunals” that may not yet have official jurisdiction, but do have the support of a broad array of the local population, who can use the outcome to pressure corporations and authorities to act. Examples include the Russell Tribunal and the tribunal from Enlazando Alternativas, which focuses on European transnational corporations in Latin America.

For more information: The Nagoya Protocol on ABS was adopted on 29 October 2010 in Nagoya, Japan and entered into force 90 days after the fiftieth instrument of ratification. Its objective is the fair and equitable sharing of benefits arising from the utilisation of genetic resources, thereby contributing to the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity. The Nagoya Protocol will create greater legal certainty and transparency for both providers and users of genetic resources by: • Establishing more predictable conditions for access to genetic resources • Helping to ensure benefit-sharing when genetic resources leave the contracting party providing the genetic resources

Standup for your Rights: Clean Clothes Campaign: Eradicating Ecocide: Russell Tribunal: Enlanzando Alternativas: ?rubrique=3

3 See

Principle 5


Ethics in governance The Precautionary Principle The Precautionary Principle should be applied to ensure that new products and technologies do not have destructive or unexpected effects on environmental, social, or human wellbeing. The ‘burden of proof’ lies with the developer or initiator and problem shifting needs to be avoided.

Rationale behind the principle:

Barriers/Myths that go against the The precautionary principle or precautionary approach principle: states that if there is a suspected risk that an action or policy causes harm to the public or to the environment, in the absence of scientific consensus that the action or policy is harmful, the burden of proof that it is not harmful falls on those taking the action. Or to put it simply: any actor carrying out an activity that influences the social or ecological environment has to prove first that that activity is not harmful, or at least not irreversibly harmful, before being allowed to execute that activity. The principle sounds logical and is in fact the common rule in many countries and international entities, but is seldom upheld categorically. Powerful actors can circumvent the precautionary principle, as industry has proven time and time again. The principle implies that there is a social responsibility to protect the public from exposure to harm, when scientific investigation has found a plausible risk. This protection can be relaxed only if further scientific findings emerge that provide sound evidence that no harm will result. The principle is enacted nowadays mainly in the environmental field, where it is commonly accepted that it is far more effective to prevent damage being inflicted, than to have to repair it afterwards, which, in many cases, is not even possible. The principle is in fact the basis for the commonly accepted principle that 'the polluter should pay' (and not the victim, or the tax payer via the state).

It is a legal battlefield in which producers of potentially harmful actions or products claim there is no known risk attached to the same. This often concerns chemical additives or new technologies (such as GMO or nanotechnologies). Innovative forces in certain industries claim strict regulation will unnecessarily hamper development. It is also debated which restrictions cover enough safety. There is also a lack of knowledge about potential risks. It is difficult to assess the risks and damages caused by specific products. Many products have already been allowed or were introduced without legal procedures or permission. By now they have become common and complex technical and political procedures would be required to reverse the situation. The process accompanying the REACH-legislation on chemical additives in the European Union is a clear illustration of the difficulties faced in reversing an existing situation. Lobby campaigns by powerful chemical and medical industries are very effective in influencing political decisions and the media. Proving that certain products are not harmful can be very costly for the industry wanting to produce them. They accuse opponents of using the principle against them to stop them developing new products.


Arguments supporting the principle: agreement on procedures and practices for In many cases where the precautionary principle was not followed, the harmful consequences have proven to be irreparable or much more costly to repair. Asbestos is a good example, as is the nuclear industry. If costs for damage control arising from accidents at nuclear power plants or nuclear waste had not been externalised, the price for the energy they produce would be unacceptably high. Article 15 of the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development states: "Where there are threats of serious or irreversible damage, lack of full scientific certainty shall not be used as a reason for postponing cost-effective measures to prevent environmental degradation.� In other words, if damage is likely but not certain, the lack of absolute certainty is no excuse for failing to mitigate the damage. The precautionary principle is accepted as the basis of the Cartagena Biosafety Protocol agreed in Montreal in January 2000, already signed by 68 nations who attended the Convention on Biological Diversity Conference in Nairobi in May 2000. The principle is to be applied to all GMOs whether used as food or as seeds for environmental release.

Examples where this is happening The REACH legislation within the EU: REACH is the European Community regulation on chemicals and their safe use. It deals with the Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical substances. The law entered into force on 1 June 2007. But the initial legislation was severely weakened after lobbying by the chemical industry. ETC Group has proposed to launch a Convention on New Technologies to reach common

coming new technologies and the products resulting from those. Campaigns to regulate the introduction of genetically modified agricultural produce and nanotechnology base their campaigns on the same principle. The precautionary principle states that when there is reasonable suspicion of harm, lack of scientific certainty or consensus must not be used to postpone preventive action. There is indeed sufficient direct and indirect scientific evidence to suggest that GMOs are unsafe for use as food or for release into the environment. And that is why more than 300 scientists from 38 countries are demanding a moratorium on all releases of GMOs.

For more information: Use and Abuse of the Precautionary Principle: Bulldozing Reach: BulldozingREACH.html Applying the Precautionary Principle to Nanotechnology Open Letter from World Scientists to All Governments Concerning Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs): Open Letter from World Scientists to All Governments: ETC Group:

Principle 6


Ethics in governance The Resilience Principle The Resilience Principle emphasises that diversity and diversification are preconditions for sustainability and quality of life. A diversity of organisational models and governance levels needs to be cultivated, along with diversified economic activity that minimises commodity dependence.

Rationale behind the principle: Systems and structures are the strongest and the most inclusive (and interesting to live in) when they have a broad spectrum of diversity. The ecosystem has this relation with biodiversity. It is known that the abundance in relations between organisms, many of which are not even fully understood, make an ecosystem resilient and that taking out one or some organisms can harm the whole system fatally. Therefore it is always needed to have 'a plenty' of diversity because some organisms/populations can temporarily weaken or disappear, but others, or a set of others can take over their 'function' in the ecosystem.

Democratic structures should function to endorse, facilitate and affirm the greatest possible diversity in economic and political systems. In reality, the current trend is the opposite: powerful (economic) groups use their power to centralise power and property and monopolise the decisionmaking process. This has led to gigantic ' vertical' structures – for instance in energy production or finance. They are at the same time unstable and vulnerable to crises, and have acquired strategic positions within society that make them 'too big to fail'. The phenomenon is not restricted to conservative power groups. Trade unions and other political organisations often have difficulty with a self-conscious grassroots constituency, and try to limit their power and influence.

This 'law of diversity' also counts for the social environment that we – and all other creatures – live in as well as the economic systems they develop.

Barriers/Myths that go against the principle:

The more diverse and the more horizontal the relations within the social structures are, the more resilient they are, and the more capable to absorb shocks and sudden ruptures, and the better they are capable to recover 'from below'.

A narrow definition of democracy limits the same to merely casting a vote (instead of real participation) and merely a political process. Genuine democracy – ensuring a plethora of smaller scale governance units that can create grassroots solutions that have the active support of participating citizens – is often considered


'radical'. Economic democracy is often excluded from the sphere that decisions can be taken about. For instance large multinationals, often with an economic volume larger than many nations states, do not have any substantial regulation on internal democracy.

diversity. See for instance the reaction against 'McDonaldisation' of culture and commerce.

(Semi)-official institutions against monopolistic trends in the neoliberal economy have also been created, such as the Autoriteit Financiële Markten (AFM) in the Netherlands, or the European Union Under modern capitalism, many areas have Competition Law (1*). Although critics state that undergone massive transformations towards they have far too little power to effectively correct mono-cultures. Agriculture is a case in point. the centralising trends in economy, they are the Small producers and manufacturers are driven out living proof that corrections are necessary. of business. This can also be seen in modern cities, where gentrification creates entire Examples where this is happening neighbourhoods with only corporate chain stores, leaving small enterprise bankrupt. The same • In reaction to gentrification, several large cities happens with social structures, as poorer people have developed a 'right to the city' movement, are driven out of the neighbourhood. where all kind of 'users' of the city work together to keep their city as diverse as The modern democratic political system favours possible. Right to the City Hamburg is a good monoculture and hinders diversification. It favours example. Their manifestos have been signed 'old' powers (like existing political parties) and by hundreds of small entrepreneurs, artists impairs newly emerging bottom up organisations, and other users of the city. “The Right to the especially if they refuse the logic of the status quo. City is defined as the equitable enjoyment of the city by all its inhabitants while respecting Arguments supporting the principle: the need of sustainability and social justice so Our understanding of the value of diversity has that the primary object of achieving an substantially increased with the crisis of adequate standard of living for all is attained. biodiversity. Biodiversity has become a focal point Particular attention is dedicated in the for many campaigns and political forces that want document to the more vulnerable sectors of to prevent a further ecological deterioration. the population, for whom the rights of liberty of action and organisation in accordance with In reaction to the monopolising effects of local custom and habits are of considerable neoliberalism, many people see the value of importance”.


• An example of the demand to influence decision-making processes (in this case of the local government budget) is that of the Participatory budget, where the population has a direct say in part of the expenditure. One of the cities where this was developed was Porto Alegre. See a more detailed explanation in, amongst others, Hillary Wainwright: Reclaim the State (Adventures in Popular Democracy). • It is no coincidence that the World Social Forum (WSF) had its initial base in Porto Alegre. The Forums (after the first World Social Forum in 2001 many others emerged; local, regional and thematic) enshrined diversity firmly in their core principles. They have always been framed as an open, decentralised process, with space for many voices and positions (as long as they rejected the neoliberal status quo). The influence of traditional political parties is explicitly restricted. • Complementary or alternative currencies have been developed on local and regional scales, such as the Brixton Pound (UK) or the WIR in Switzerland.

For more information: Right to the City Hamburg: Global Governance: rces/world-charter-on-the-right-to-the-city. Workshop and document: "World Charter of the Rights to the City": January 28: 43.html Reclaim the State: World Social Forum Slow Food: Complementary currencies: (1*) European Union competition law arose out of the desire to ensure

• Finally, the Slow movement has emerged in reaction to the monopolisation and growth of mono-cultures, first in agriculture and food and then in many other basic elements of life. The Slow movement stresses the need for diversity and for 'other values than money and cheap production'. Slow Food in Italy has developed into a very broad network of producers and consumers, and soon became international.

that the efforts of government could not be distorted by corporations abusing their market power. Hence under the treaties are provisions to ensure that free competition prevails, rather than cartels and monopolies sharing out markets and fixing prices. Competition law in the European Union is largely similar and inspired by United States antitrust. competition_law


Principle 7


Responsibility Principle The Responsibility Principle The Responsibility Principle upholds that all social institutions, including corporations, banks and markets, need to match power with institutional and personal liability. Being accountable to others at every level of governance is a core element of citizenship and of the social contract. The level of accountability should be proportionate to power and knowledge. Accountability is the condition for legitimacy of any form of governance. Government and civil society organisations have to take leadership in establishing a participative democracy. Appropriate public investments should make structural transformation possible that guarantee benefit sharing.

Rationale behind the principle: Responsibility is a universal value, as it lies at the core of the social fabric, reflecting the necessary reciprocity in inter-human relationships. It also forms the basis for law-making, which defines who is accountable, to whom and under which circumstances. Global interdependence implies universal responsibility. However, a major gap exists today between the scale of the interdependences and the reality of the law. Major political and economic institutions are still only accountable towards their national constituencies: their voters or citizens; their shareholders and national jurisdictions. Universally applicable principles are therefore difficult to enforce.

so-called sovereign states, except for the most severe crimes, such as crimes against humanity and more recently – with the extension of the UN Human Rights Covenants – also crimes against basic human rights. Therefore, the impact of our actions on the world outside our national jurisdictions is not taken into account and neither laws nor jurisdictions are dealing with them adequately. In that sense, our political and economic leaders are truly irresponsible: when climate change is threatening Bangladesh’s mere survival, where can the country and its citizens seek redress? How can those executive officers of the financial system who are co-responsible in creating a global economic and social crisis be brought to justice?

Since 1972 it has become clear that the UN Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are not sufficient to ensure the protection of the planet and that a third pillar is needed. This pillar should be grounded on universally recognised values and address the issue of interdependence between societies and the biosphere: a Charter of Universal Responsibility is best suited to address this interdependence. At present, existing ethics and laws are largely restricted to state boundaries. Responsibility and accountability still remain within the scope of

Economic globalisation is rapidly transforming the world, without developing necessary related structures of democratic control, and without granting all societal sectors equal rights. Global laws and institutions have been set up for trade, for instance, securing rights for multinationals and large agro-industrial actors, but not, or to a much lesser degree, for people affected by their actions. International regulation for the protection of the environment or the rights of small-scale farmers and fishers, workers, or women is either severely underdeveloped or lacking altogether.


To counter this structural and growing imbalance, non-corporate entities and individuals have to be able to organise counterweight and demand transparency. But they need to back themselves on universal principles of responsibility and on international law. The structures of governing and decision making should be adjusted so as to put the general public and their interests at the centre, and not those that are in powerful positions already. Conversely, corporations, banks and markets (and their shareholders) must be made accountable to the effects of their operations.

Barriers/Myths that go against the principle: The neoliberal trend of the last 20 years has shifted ever more areas out of the sphere of democratic control towards corporate control, which is by definition undemocratic. Only shareholders and the managers of a corporation have a real say in corporate activities. At the same time, they are often not legally accountable for their actions. But the other barrier to the principle of universal responsibility is the so-called sovereignty of states, which implies that governments are only accountable towards their own citizens, even when many of their actions have a global impact.

Arguments supporting the principle: It is a concept that exists in all cultures, unlike, for instance, the human rights concept in international law whose expression can be culturally specific; • It is a necessary condition for all the other principles to be enforced; • It is the outcome of inter-dependence; • It is the consequence of freedom of choice; • It lies at the core of citizenship; • It forms the basis of the social contract; • It is the condition for legitimacy of governance.

Examples where this is happening: Since the beginning of the 21st century, many social movements have developed with constitutions ranging from city dwellers, scientists and journalists, to professionals or service men; each of them developing a balance of rights and responsibilities and redefining their social contract with the rest of society. There have also been many campaigns by citizens and organisations to use existing laws to address the global responsibility of large corporations. One example of this is AGTER, an association set up in France with the aim to “clarify the links between poverty, underdevelopment and access to resources, in order to set up lasting alternatives to the ongoing policies”. AGTER further “aims at contributing to improve the governance of land, water and natural resources and at conceiving new ways of managing those resources, better adapted to face the challenges of the twenty-andfirst century”. This includes the responsibility that arises from ownership of natural resources, such as land, for their sustainable management. • In France the Confédération Paysanne is the second largest (in membership) organisation of farmers and farm workers. It actively opposed the regulation of the WTO in 1999 that forced the EU to open its markets to imports that were produced with growth hormones or GMOs. The organisation and its members also actively oppose the introduction of genetically modified agricultural plants and presents alternatives for viable rural development and food security. Via Campesina, of which they are member, does this on a worldwide scale. • On 15 May 2011, a movement of 'common Spanish people' mostly young and unemployed, started the occupation of parks and squares in many towns in Spain. This soon spread to other countries, and on 17 September the same year -


with the occupation of a park in Wall Street, New York - to the USA. One of their main demands is 'Real Democracy'. • The Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) is a coalition of over 160 civil society groups, trade unions, academics and public affairs firms concerned

with the increasing influence exerted by corporate lobbyists on the political agenda in Europe, the resulting loss of democracy in EU decision-making and the postponement, weakening, or even blockage, of urgently needed progress on social, environmental and consumer-protection reforms.

For more information: Forum Ethique et responsibility International initiative for managing social responsibility International alliance of journalists Fondation sciences citoyennes International military alliance for peace and security International alliance of inhabitants Alliance internationale terre citoyenne Alliance international of youth Global ethics network for applied ethics Charter of human responsibilities Forum for a new world governance AGTER: Via Campesina: Real Democracy: Alter EU: World Governance:

Thanks to With many thanks to the participants in the workshop: Leida Rijnhout (ANPED Maja Göpel and Randy Hayes (World Future Council) Juan Hoffmeister Third World Network (Costa Rica) Daniel Barstow (CIEL) Washington Joachim Spangenberg, Sustainable Europe Research Institute, (Germany) Axel Naersted Norwegian Development Fund (Oslo) George Varughese, Club of Rome and Alternative Development, (India) Candido Grzybowski., Brazilian Institute for Social and Economic Analysis Ibase, (Brazil) Neth Dano, ETC group, (Philippines) Niclas Hälstrom, What Next Forum (Sweden) Patrick Bond, Durban Centre, (South Africa) Maria Schultz, SwedBio – (Stockholm) Peter Adriance, Bahai, USA Brian Czeck, CASSE, Canada/USA Monica Moore, CS Fund (San Francisco) Maria Jose Guazelli, Centro Ecologica (Brazil) Benjamin Graub, IAASTD (Washington) Raimund Bleischwitz, Wuppertal Institute, Germany Pierre Calame, FPH (France) Nnimmo Bassey, Friends of the Earth International (Nigeria) Representatives of Via Campesina Takashi Otsuka, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies IGES, (Japan) Felix Dodds and Hannah Stoddaert, Stakeholder Forum, (UK) Jan Gustav Strandenaes (ANPED)



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FPH, Fondation Charles Leopold Mayer for the progress of humanity is an independent international foundation under Swiss law. From the beginning of the nineties it has devoted itself to the main challenges humanity was facing in front of the needed systemic changes. It supported the creation and development of the global Alliance for a Responsible and united world in 1993, which organized in 2001 the first ever World citizens assembly, with a fair representation of all the regions of the world and all stakeholders. The two outcomes of the Assembly have been the Charter of human responsibilities and the Agenda for the 21st century which highlights the four dimensions of the "great transition": the emergence of a global community; the agreement on common values, with a focus on the universal concept of responsibility; the revolution of governance; the passage from economy (the present model) to oeconomy (producing well being for all while respecting the planet boundaries). 38 rue Saint Sabin F - 75011 Paris FRANCE

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Principles for a green and fair economy