REGENERATIVE ECONOMY CORE VALUES AND KEY QUESTIONS
Our core values represent our vision for a healthy economy. They were developed in partnership with Movement Generation and the Climate Justice Alliance. These values guide our decisions on where we invest and are used to evaluate the success of our work. Check out some key questions to ask yourself when considering potential investments.
- Builds Community Wealth: Investments have traditionally created a system by which the wealthy accumulate even more wealth. ReGenerative Finance sees investors as a temporary part of the transition, moving investments with the long term vision of communities generating their own wealth through productive capital. Resources, particularly financial, should shift from a few large institutions (banks and markets) to many smaller, diverse institutions in which the benefits of investment are distributed among more people and communities.Key Questions→ How does this investment move capital from large institutions and/or the federal government to many smaller institutions and localities? Does it support the creation of pathways where impacted communities can be beneficiaries?
- Shifts Economic Control: Investment should be de-coupled from ownership. Currently, the “investor first” principle places financial return over the needs and interests of workers and communities, placing the motivation of economic activity on concentration of wealth and power rather than collective success and well-being. New models of “non-extractive” or “regenerative” finance prioritize the interests of workers, communities, and the success of the enterprise rather than focusing on the interests of investors. Returns only come from revenue generated by the project, never from assets or income of the community. Capital is subordinate to people. These models offer a greater social, ecological, and economic return.
Key Questions→ How will this investment contribute to the success of the overall project? How will the workers benefit from the investment? Are you willing to hand over your decision-making power as an investor to the workers of the project?
- Democratizes the Workplace: Investments in the new economy should support and increase worker ownership, democracy, and rights at the places of work and in the economy as a whole.
Key Questions→ How does this investment increase worker rights, ownership, control, and democracy?
- Drives Social Equity: Investment should actively work against current and historic social inequities based on race, class, gender, immigrant status and other forms of oppression. Choosing to invest in communities, geographies and sectors of the economy where these inequities are most pervasive is a priority.
Key Questions→ How would this investment address current and historic oppression and exploitation based on racism, sexism, and other forms oppression?
- Advances Regenerative Ecological Economics: Investment should be in economic activity that advances ecological resilience, reduces resource consumption, restores traditional ways of life, and undermines the extractive economy that is eroding the ecological basis of our collective well-being.
Key Questions→ How does this investment support ecological resilience, reduce resource consumption, and restore traditional ways of life that keep communities intact?
- Re-localizes Primary Production and Consumption: Investment should support the re-localization of primary production and consumption by building up “short chain” and “known chain” economic initiatives, such as local food systems, local clean energy, and small-scale production. The boundaries of “local” are dynamic and determined by the conditions in place.
Key Questions→ How does this investment support the development of local economies?
- Strengthens the Public Sector: Investment should shift resources from the corporate sector to the public sector, where most appropriate, in addition to building the peoples’ economy. For example, investments that support public sector infrastructure in zero-waste, clean energy, transportation, etc. are key to a just transition and regenerative economy.
Key Questions→ Does this investment move resources and power from the private sector to the public sphere? Where and how?
- Builds Movements and Power: Building a new economy needs to be deeply rooted in struggles for justice, centering those people who have been historically marginalized. Investment should bridge the gap between economic infrastructure and justice movements to create a new center of gravity in the economy. Many new models for a regenerative economy directly come from or collaborate with grassroots community-based organizing efforts, thereby building both economic and movement power. We are committed to investing in projects that connect economic and political muscle to change the rules of the economy. It is our belief that these investments have a greater impact than those that are not part of a larger, multi-sector movement-building effort.
Key Questions→ How does this investment connect directly to social movement initiatives and grassroots organizing? Does it create opportunities to build across multiple sectors with a transformative vision?
- Retains Culture and Tradition: Capitalism has forced many communities to sacrifice culture and tradition for economic survival. It has also defaced and destroyed land held as sacred. Investments should center culture and tradition, recognizing it as integral to a healthy and vibrant economy. It should also begin to make reparations for land that has been stolen and/or destroyed by capitalism, colonialism, genocide, and slavery.
Key Questions→ How does this investment support the culture and tradition of the community served by the project? How does this investment contribute to reparations for the community in which it is rooted?
- Restores Indigenous Sovereignty and Promotes Decolonization: Capitalism within the United States (and many other places in the world) is based on genocide and imperialism – historically and currently. A regenerative economy will move beyond acknowledgement of these factors and seek to reverse them by: relocating sovereignty to indigenous communities, promoting projects that protect sacred sites, and honoring long-held ways of life and relationship with land.
Key Questions → Is it clear that this project is conscious of the history of and ongoing genocide and colonization on the land with regard to indigenous people? Does this project support the returning of land to people indigenous to that land? Does this project support sovereignty of indigenous people on their land? Is the project lead by people native to the land it occupies? Or if not, how are indigenous people involved in or affected by the project?
- Restores Right Relationship within Ourselves and with Our Communities: The extractive and exploitative values of capitalism have traumatized us all. Investors have long been forced to give up part of their humanity by putting profits over people, community and the environment. Investments should provide pathways to heal from this harm by creating opportunities for real, cross-class relationships, decentralizing structures of power, and rebuilding our communities together.
Key Questions→ What kind of relationship do you want to have to this project and those people/communities involved in it? What about the project inspires you? What other kinds of contributions could you make beyond this investment?
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