Natural Capitalism

Natural Capitalism

Encouraging Benign Development

Natural Capitalism evolved out of the work by Amory Lovins and Paul Hawkens, two pioneers of future economic trends. Natural Capitalism is a system that, in addition to the mainstream measures of:

  • financial capital: cash and investments
  • manufacturing capital: infrastructure, factories, machines and tools

also incorporates:

  • human capital: labour, intelligence, culture and organisation, and
  • natural capital: resources, living systems and ecosystem services.

Natural Capitalism has four strategies:

  • Resource Productivity: to slow resource depletion, lower pollution, increase meaningful employment, lower costs and halt degradation of the atmosphere;
  • Biomimicry: redesign along biological principles, completely eliminate waste and toxicity;
  • Service and Flow Economy: using close loop circles of material use to meet customers changing needs with no deterioration in quality;
  • Natural Capital: reinvesting in sustaining, restoring and expanding natural capital to produce abundant natural resources and ecosystem services.

Implementing Natural Capitalism requires a reorientation, and revaluing our work by:

  • Redefining prosperity in a way that weighs community values, quality of life, and the environment alongside economic considerations;
  • Seeking true development, where development is defined as getting better, rather than simply expanding;
  • Advocating the long-term stewardship of community resources (natural, economic, social and cultural), to ensure that present actions don’t erode the foundations of future prosperity;
  • Pursuing self-reliance and a largely democratic approach to decision making which represents broad community interests rather than those of a few; and
  • Emphasising the importance of diversity, resilience and the recognition that one-size solutions do not fit all.

By its own accord, this system encourages development towards complete, optimal sustainable solutions.

Bioregional Economics

Maleny Strategic Alliance co-founder Jill Jordan describes Maleny as a bottom up process stimulated and carried forward by community members, and cites the four important elements of this model for the Maleny experience as being:

  • Plugging the leaks – that is, developing strategies that produce import substitution to stimulate the local economy;
  • Supporting existing local businesses – by both promoting them and encouraging them to respond to local needs and advantages;
  • Facilitating the start-up of appropriate new businesses – which involves community agreement on what is ‘appropriate’ and the existence of a mature business support network;
  • Encouraging the entry or expansion of external businesses that are appropriate to the region and community.
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