A post-growth blueprint for a wellbeing economy


As influential voices in the European institutions and OECD echo civil society’s call to move beyond economic growth, the European Union must redesign its economy in a way that enhances the wellbeing of humanity and nature. These are the conclusions of a major new Climate of Change report.

On 22 April 2021, the EEB will host the launch of Climate of Change’s new report and a related documentary, both of which expose the destructive social and environmental impact of the current economic system and propose an alternative blueprint for a fairer economy that operates within the natural boundaries of our planet.

Speaking at the launch event will be prominent economist Kate Raworth, the founder of the concept of ‘doughnut economics’, which provides a framework for maximising human wellbeing within planetary boundaries. The report’s authors, Oxfam’s Barbara Sennholz-Weinhardt and the EEB’s Katy Wiese and Nick Meynen, will also speak at the launch.

“It’s time to leave behind the very 20th century idea that the shape of progress is endless growth. It is not,” explains Raworth.

“Enough is enough. Years of exploitation of both nature and environment have to stop,” says Wiese. “Civil society from all over Europe demands political change that transforms our system towards greater social and ecological sustainability.”

The health of nations 

The report comes at a time of growing institutional recognition of the need to move beyond economic growth. For instance, the European Environment Agency (EEA) released, earlier this year, a landmark document which questioned the sustainability of even “green growth”, stating that Europe’s prosperity “does not have to depend on economic growth”. 

Likewise, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which brings together 37 industrialised countries committed to the market economy, released last year a report titled ‘Beyond growth’ that called for a “new conception of economic and social progress”.

A burgeoning grassroots movement has been embracing the principles of doughnut economics, including a number of trailblazing cities, such as Amsterdam and Brussels.

The new report, titled ‘Towards a wellbeing economy that serves people and nature’, highlights empirically how the European Union’s addiction to economic growth is failing, even on its own terms. Not only is this model only delivering prosperity to the very few at the top of the economic pyramid, it is also trashing the environment and fuelling global warming.

The report, which was produced by the EEB and Oxfam Germany, provides a blueprint for the transition to a wellbeing economy which is built on three main pillars which can be referred to as the three Ds: the dismantling of exploitative structures, democratising economic governance and degrowing the economy.

Changing the policy climate

This major report was produced in the context Climate of Change (#ClimateOfChange). This EU-funded project seeks to inform young people about the consequences of global warming, including on migration, and to empower them to campaign for and advocate change.

On 21 April, Climate of Change also released the results of a major survey of young Europeans in 23 countries which gauges their understanding of and attitudes towards climate change, migration and the current economic model.

#ClimateOfChange will also amplify the voices of local communities affected by global warming in Cambodia, Guatemala, Senegal and Ethiopia. On 22 April, the project will release case studies from these four countries.

The 25% revolution

On 22 April, the EEB will also host an online screening of the new documentary ‘The 25% revolution’, which was produced in collaboration with the Belgian NGO Broederlijk Delen. 

The documentary features alternatives to the ‘take-make-use-lose’ economy both in theory and practice. Narrated by well known system change advocates such as Kate Raworth, ‘The 25% revolution’ showcases inspirational examples of what is possible right here and right now.

“As this film makes clear, it’s time to transform our economies so that they are in service to human and planetary health, and enable us to thrive in dynamic balance. How we make this happen is the existential economic question of our times,” says Raworth.

 “The potential for change today is probably the best it has been in half a century,” points out the EEB’s Nick Meynen. “The global injustices of the past and present will keep on having consequences until we tackle them head on.”

Watch the trailer.


To register for the film screening and/or the report launch, please go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/towards-a-well-being-economy-that-serves-people-and-nature-tickets-148603453931

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