Perhaps the best resource on this is the Business Association for Local Living Economies (www.livingeconomies.org). Here’s how they put – see if this doesn’t resonate deeply with you:
A Local Living Economy ensures economic power resides locally, sustaining healthy community life and natural life, as well as long-term economic viability.
A Living Economy is guided by the following principles:
1. Living economy communities produce and exchange locally as many products needed by their citizens as they reasonably can, while reaching out to other communities to trade in those products they cannot reasonably produce at home. These communities value their unique character and encourage cultural exchange and cooperation.
2. Living economy public policies support decentralized ownership of businesses and farms, fair wages, taxes, and budget allocations, trade policies benefiting local economies, and stewardship of the natural environment.
3. Living economy consumers appreciate the benefits of buying from living economy businesses and, if necessary, are willing to pay a price premium to secure those personal and community benefits.
4. Living economy investors value businesses that are community stewards and as such accept a ‘living return‘ on their financial investments rather than a maximum return, recognizing the value derived from enjoying a healthy and vibrant community and sustainable global economy.
5. Living economy businesses are primarily independent and locally owned, and value the needs and interests of all stakeholders, while building long-term profitability.
6. They strive to:
- Source products from businesses with similar values, with a preference for local procurement
- Provide employees a healthy workplace with meaningful living wage jobs
- Offer customers personal service and useful safe, quality products
- Work with suppliers to establish a fair exchange
- Cooperate with other businesses in ways that balance their self-interest with their obligation to the community and future generations
- Use their business practices to support an inclusive and healthy community, and to protect our natural environment
- Yield a ‘living return’ to owners and investors
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