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If profit is not everything

Advocates of the common good-ö economy put on sustainability, justice and solidarity ä T. They want to ß the scissors between rich and poor. In practice, this is not so easy.

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If profit is not everything

Sepp Braun doesn't really fit in with that. At least most probably wouldn't come to someone like him if you ask m in this particular context. Braun owns 22 dairy cows, dozens of hens and a cheese. For 29 years, 58-year-old has been leading a Biolandhof in Freising.

The basic idea of this type of agriculture is that of a regional network, all closely attuned to nature. What's he going to do better? "You might think we're sustainable anyway and don't have to change anything," says Braun. "But that's exactly why we've done a GWÖ accounting and it's interesting to see what else is possible."

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With abbreviation GWÖ, common good economy is meant. Economists have been dealing with different economic models for a long time- GWÖ is one of m. The goal is not to maximise financial gain, but to increase common good through economic, political and societal changes. Important aspects are sustainability, justice, human dignity, solidarity and democratic participation.

Braun has questioned everything for this balance two years ago, every little part of his farming mindset and work. "Our financial and economic system is not sustainable, we live through our relations," says Braun. "We must all think more specifically about sustainability." The GWÖ could build an alternative network.

This would be like an avalanche that overrolled existing system in long run. At least that is hope that Braun puts in common good economy. "Fortunately, social rethinking has already begun," says Braun. "Orwise you would have to despair if you can see what is going wrong all over world."

Not only result is important, but process

A company also has a responsibility for its environment, which is basic idea. Wher it satisfies m according to criteria of common good economy is determined on basis of an accounting. The questionnaire of GWÖ must be answered in detail, with documents and justifications.

According to self-assessment, verification and certification by external consultants or auditors is followed by regional groups and teams with points awarded. Financial aspects play less of a role than social-ecological. It is not only result that is important, but process on way to it, that it is more questioned about its own actions.

With best known, this ory has made Austrian Attac founder Christian Fair. He was 2010 co-founder of Association for Promotion of public Welfare economy in Vienna, with approach of forming an alternative to existing system. In meantime more than 2200 companies and more than 160 organizations of GWÖ have joined company, including outdoor company Vaude and daily newspaper Taz.

The Austrian Attac-co-founder Christian Fair.

(Photo: Imago)

In Bavaria, re has been a group since 2011, dedicated to common good-oriented economy. 46 companies from Free State have joined initiative, about as many are still in process of accounting. In Germany, Bavaria is making a considerable contribution: approximately 100 participants have been accounted for nationwide and more than 100 are still doing it.

The Spectrum ranges from rapeutic practices, construction companies, service providers and business consultancies to nurseries and social institutions such as Herzogsägmühle of Deaconry in Upper Bavarian Peiting. Here, 2015 was decided to create a GWÖ balance sheet. "Even Pope has said: this economy is killing.


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