WHY IT MATTERS
An economy that works will not only be achieved through the efforts of business and policy makers – it also requires the active participation of UK citizens, both as individuals and through their communities.
Communities have a critical role to play if people are to be motivated to act while supporting the transition towards an economy that works.
Communities usually share a geographic location, interests or values. As a result, any initiative undertaken to strengthen these common characteristics is likely to get the support of the community, increasing the chance of success.
Many community initiatives across the globe, including the Transition Network, show that when people are given the opportunity to be part of the solution, they are far more engaged and active in addressing the issues that matter.
Lack of community can also have important implications. According to recent research, loneliness can be twice as unhealthy as obesity, particularly for older people. Research shows that people who reported being lonely have a 14% greater risk of dying than the average.
WHAT SUCCESS LOOKS LIKE
- Larger societal participation
- Greater community autonomy
- Connected communities that share ideas and best practice
- Active communities that take the initiative in addressing local challenges and meeting local needs
- Communities embracing sustainability, such as the One Planet Living concept
WHAT IS THE OPPORTUNITY?
- Greater autonomy and shared responsibility from communities to deliver an economy that works
- Greater civic participation as citizens take responsibility for creating the society they want
- Less pressure on the public purse as communities become more engaged and self-sufficient
- There appears to be a positive relationship between volunteering, altruistic behaviour, time spent socialising and subjective wellbeing
WHAT ABOUT BUSINESS?
Supporting the wellbeing of communities can offer revenue generating opportunities for business95 by:
- Developing local business clusters
- Developing brand loyalty by addressing consumers’ rising concerns with the environmental and social challenges
- Creating market opportunities through the development and commercialisation of low-impact products and services
- Revenue generation opportunities by embracing business models that strengthen communities
How can business help create strong communities?
- Adopt business models which reinvest wealth locally
- Use marketing skills and the ability to communicate with consumers and build ‘communities of action’, committed to developing solutions
- Identify ‘Bottom of the Pyramid’ opportunities that can create revenue opportunities while generating economic activity in poor communities
WHAT POLICY INTERVENTIONS CAN HELP ACHIEVE THIS?
Building community involvement
The Cabinet Office has outlined a number of initiatives that will support broader community and civil society engagement:
- Give communities more powers and require them to integrate sustainability into their policies and programmes
- Encourage people to take an active role in their communities
- Transfer power from central to local government
- Support co-operatives, mutuals, charities and social enterprises
- Publish government data
- Strengthen community organisations to enable them to achieve wider societal goals
Reinforce the role of education in shifting mindsets and developing creativity
- Ensure the school curriculum generates in-depth knowledge about some of the societal challenges we face. For instance, the development of an understanding of the basic principles of ecology and ecosystems can inspire people to protect and restore nature97
- Promote innovation and creativity from an early age to help develop solutions and opportunities
- Strengthen the link between schools and local communities
- Build sustainability considerations into the curriculum of business schools
- Use local and mass media to raise awareness and support the development of creative solutions
One Planet Living Framework
Source: Please download or view our Report online for a full list
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