In it’s short history, ECG has made remarkable progress at the local and regional level of government. Even at the European Union, ECG is on the map.
The Common Good Balance Sheet is an instrument which promotes a value-driven, ethical economy. Its impact and significance go beyond legal requirements in order to ensure the highest possible standards in the future.
More and more consumers are looking for fairer and more sustainable products and services. The European Union, along with governments and political parties across Europe have recognized ECG as an effective tool to provide more transparency to consumers, regulatory organizations and other stakeholders.
To some extent, the Common Good Balance Sheet has already taken Corporate Social Responisbily (CSR) to a new level. This is partly because it has been so comprehensively designed, but also because it is the only assessment tool that allows consumers and other stakeholders to evaluate a businesses contribution to society and the environment. Given that the Common Good Balance Sheet is already meeting tomorrow’s requirements today, it sets an example for the future. By identifying the advantages this creates for society as a whole, ECG pioneers have become the driving force for socio-political developments and future economic policy.
ECG is not itself a political party. It attempts, however, to win supporters in as many parties as possible, similar to the strategy of human rights, peace, gender justice or environmental NGOs. Numerous politicians have registered as supporters of ECG – you can find some of them below.
Christian Felber and Diego de Isabel la Moneda at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels.
European Union: ECG as a vehicle for creating a European Ethical Market
The European Economic and Social Committee’s (EESC) recognition of the merits of the Economy for the Common Good is pointing the way. In its plenary session on 17 September 2015, the EESC approved an opinion on the Economy for the Common Good with a majority of 86%. The outcome of this vote was also a clear instruction to the European Commission: in the framework of the renewed non-financial reporting strategy, those enterprises that can demonstrate a higher ethical performance should be rewarded. On request of the European Commission, the EESC answered in 2017 with an explanatory opinion on New Sustainable Economic Models, in which the ECG was mentioned twice again, and the 2015 opinion was referred to.
EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive
In accordance with the EU Non-Financial Reporting Directive (2014/95/EU), large scale companies are required to disclose non-financial information as of 2017. The objective of this directive is to increase the transparency of an organisation’s business activities, and the impact they have, especially with regard to environmental, social and employee-related matters. It is hoped that the benefits of non-financial reporting, mandatory for large scale organisations, will have a positive impact on small and medium-sized enterprises as well.
The directive requires European Union Member States to transpose the rules into their national legislation. In preparation for this, the Common Good Economy presented its Common Good Balance Sheet to the federal legislature of Austria and Germany as an example of effective reporting.
In 2017, the United Nations Development Programme invited the Economy for the Common Good for the first time to present its concept. In 2019, the ECG model is referred to in an UNRISD Working Paper “Sustainable Development Impact Indicators for Social and Solidarity Economy”.
Political decisions and legislation in support of ECG can already be found in several countries.
Christian Felber was invited in 2016 to the German Bundestag as an expert on the European Union’s Non-Financial Reporting Directive. In 2019, the first motion in a national parliament was submitted by the German Green Party to the Bundestag in Berlin.
- As stated in an official decree from February 1, 2017, the government of Valencia, Spain promotes companies, associations and foundations that apply the ECG principles (blog on the ECG website in German). The Valencia Generalitat Regional Ministry for Sustainable Economy developed a law whose aim was to create a public register for companies with an ECG Balance Sheet; to refund ECG balance and audit costs to a maximum of 15,000 Euro; to create legal incentives for companies with a common good balance sheet and to establish a 100,000 Euro fund for research and training on sustainable economy.
- The regional German governments of Salzburg, Austria (2013), Baden-Württemberg (2016), Hesse (2018) and Bremen (2019) integrate ECG into their government programs.
- The district Marburg-Biedenkopf in Hesse, Germany has adopted the Economy for the Common Good in its sustainability strategy and will implement the Common Good Balance Sheet in public companies.
- Höxter, also in Germany (North-Rhine Westphalia), has dedicated a comprehensive LEADER project to the implementation of the ECG in the district.
- The Economic Promotion Department of the Region of Stuttgart (Baden-Württemberg) started its engagement with its own website on the EGC.
Learn more about where Common Good Municipalities already exist.