REconomy Comes to the US

Transition US is part of a group of five national Transition hubs (along with Portugal, Germany, Brazil, and Mexico) who are receiving mentoring and support from Transition Network to bring the award-winning REconomy Project to the US. We’re the second cohort of national hubs to engage in this work – last year Transition Network partnered with Italy, Croatia, Belgium, Latvia, and the Netherlands.

Launched in Transition Town Totnes, UK, REconomy is intended to bring forth a new economic vision that aligns with Transition values, supported by tangible measures and strategic thinking around needs and resources for developing Transition-oriented enterprises.

Like Transition itself, REconomy looks different in each country and community. For example, in Portugal REconomy will combine with “One Year in Transition” to create leadership and employment opportunities for youth. Transition Mexico will host a market for sharing, swapping, and selling locally-produced goods. And each country’s economic context is dramatically different (click here to read short profiles of the five countries included in last year’s REconomy cohort).

The US is home to a growing new economy movement (sharing, cooperatives, alternative currencies, etc.), with a strong emphasis on social justice. You can get a taste of this movement by visiting the website for the New Economy Coalition CommonBound conference (held June 2014 in Boston) or by reading the recent report “Weaving the Community Resilience and New Economy Movement: Voices and Reflections from the Field.”

Given the depth and breadth of the US new economy movement, Transition US seeks to roll out our REconomy work in a way that complements and strengthens existing efforts.

Highlighting Transition Enterprises

The first phase of our Reconomy work is to compile a report highlighting case studies of “Transition Enterprises.”  Transition Network defines a Transition Enterprise (TE) as “a financially viable trading entity that fulfils a real community need, delivers social benefits and has beneficial, or at least neutral, environmental impacts.”

Transition Enterprises (TEs) do not need to be affiliated with a Transition Initiative, but should embody or aspire to align their operations with Transition values. Transition Network has compiled this list of voluntary, self-assessed principles for TEs:

1. Strengthens community resilience – TEs help ensure the main needs of the community are met despite wider economic instability, energy and resource shortages and global warming impacts. TEs are also resilient in themselves, seeking to be financially sustainable and as independent of external funding as possible.

2. Appropriate resource use - TEs make efficient and appropriate use of natural resources, respecting finite limits and minimizing and    integrating waste streams. The use of fossil fuels is minimized, and use of renewable energy sources maximized.

3. More than profit– TEs aim to provide affordable, sustainable products and services and decent livelihoods, rather than just generate excessive profits for others. TEs can be profitable, but excess profits are used for wider benefit rather than just enriching individuals.

4. Part of the community - TEs work towards building a common wealth, owned and controlled as much as is practical by their workers, customers, tenants and communities. They treat and pay all workers fairly. They have structures which are as open, equitable, democratic, inclusive and accountable as possible. They consciously operate as part of a collaborative, mutually supportive local system.

5. Appropriate localization – TEs operate at a scale appropriate to the environment, the needs they are meeting and their business sector, with regard to sourcing, distribution and interaction with the wider economy. They don’t all have to grow endlessly. They provide local goods for local people as locally as possible, where this makes sense.

Based on these criteria, the Transition Network REconomy team compiled this report of 20 Transition Enterprises:

Now, we need your help to identify and highlight the work of amazing TEs in the US!

If you know of an enterprise that seems like a good fit, please email by December 15th with more information and a link to their website.

To help you get started, here are a few examples of businesses that might qualify as Transition Enterprises:

Transition Enterprises to be highlighted in our report will be selected by a small committee in January. Please email with a 1-2 paragraph explanation of your interest/experience in REconomy related work if you’re interested in joining the selection committee.

Learn more about REconomy on the Transition US REconomy page or the Transition Network REconomy Project websites.

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