Friday, July 3, 2020

Green Investments Success Indicators

The indicators for a doughnut economy, as it is being heralded, include social protection, environmental protection and public health. 

As I identify the 5 pillars and therefore a pentagon as the economy's foundation, I am reminded of the geodome at Harmony Hall: Similarly, a green economy can provide sheltered growing spaces for plants, biodiversity and productive and social enterprises....rather than leaving them exposed to the elements.

This is what I've been working on today. How to build in to the public procurement system a wider award criteria - with social, health and environmental protection compliance. At the moment there are only two capacities in which you have to comply; Technical Capacity, in that you have enough qualified people to manage the contract and financial capacity; do you have an annual turnover of €1 million a year. For most businesses, after the pandemic and quite probably before it, they wouldn't be a contender!

I have made it my mission to explore this situation and match competencies to funding. As there is a lot of despondency about the Department of Finance, Bord Bia, Teagasc or any party, apart from the Greens and all the opposition, asking for this shift in economic model, I believe we need to empower Local authorities to enter EU Green Deal funding applications themselves.

This is also crucial as one of the concerns about the Programme For Government was that it suggests they (representing Ireland) don't intend to draw down a significant amount of this major financial stimulus from the EU. Implicit in that is that they don't envision much greening let alone a whole green transition and fair circular economy ahead for Ireland.

Once we have evidence that the five pillar award system works - This evidence might include the measurement that meaningful and gainful employment has been created and city centres are thriving and that residential care and health facilities are being managed by organisations with some semblance of an ethos - then we can revisit the Public Banking plan and the Indecon Report (which is a very long winded study that asked irrelevant questions about lending in Ireland but succeeded in blocking the legislation needed for a public bank, last year).

The fact remains that Ireland pays 16.5 billion a year in interest to private banks. That correlates to €3,600 for every man, woman and child. And I'm sure that figure has gone up in the last 5 years again.

Credit is a public utility. Well, it should be! At the moment the State's entire Sovereign right to create money has been handed over to the private banks. They have our whole market in comparison to, say, Germany (who have offered to help us) where private banks only have 12% of the market.

(Public banking proposal and related works in the search bar. Based on work with Richard C Cook (Credit as a Public Utility (Six Part Youtube Series and author of 'We Hold These Truths')

Thankfully, we still do have public contracts which are grants rather than loans, so we can stimulate local economies that way. With good governance at local authority level and competence in devising this new award criteria, we can direct the public money there is to the right businesses and Cooperatives. Even better, we empower them to access more Green Deal funding as confidence in greening methods, well building institute methods and materials, re-purposing and retrofitting initiatives grows and they learn how to put a monetary value on conservation and health and other societal benefits that currently flounder around underfunded by increasingly depended upon.

Equally, we depend on our biodiversity and the Independent said today that we are neglecting that too. To the extent that the EU are taking us to court. We really have to do better and I'm here to help connect you to supports for what every environmental solutions you've got...or are prepared to try!

Today I connected a local conventional farmer to a regenerative farming group and the Irish Rural Link who offer tangible help and courses in accessing farm payments, otherwise very difficult and time-consuming to fill in. We can have good news for the environment and good news for farmers too we just have to understand what's important and advocate for each other.

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