Monthly Archives: July 2011

Designed with Impact in Mind: Business Practices that Create Economic Opportunity

By Brenna Atnikov

John Young on Aboriginal Affairs from Chris Hsiung on Vimeo. John is an Aboriginal & Stakehold Engagement Consultant.

Community Economic Development requires a ‘team’ approach. For CED to truly gain traction in Calgary, everyone and every sector needs to be playing together. Each sector has a role to play in poverty reduction in our city, because each has unique assets that can be leveraged that contribute to creating a city where people have what they need to live, and to live well.

At Thrive‘s most recent event, we got explore what role business can play.

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The Slow Money Movement

By Brenna Atnikov

Profit literally means “to make progress”. But in a world of fast money where people and planet are often removed from transactions, are we really progressing?

Above: Slow Money with Woody Tasch from Chris Hsiung on Vimeo. Woody is founder and chairman of the Slow Money Alliance and “the prophet of modest profit”.

By slowing money down we can reshape our local economy and establish communities and businesses that address our most pressing social and environmental problems. On February 3, 2011 200 Calgarians came together to learn what’s possible.

In case you missed it, listen here!

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Going local, one business at a time

By Jennifer Allford for REAP Business Association

For years, Connie O’Connor wanted to do her own laundry.   Mountains of it.

The co-founder of the Canadian Rocky Mountain Resorts (CRMR) says every day, their hotels and restaurants in Calgary and Banff would go through piles of linens, send them back to the supplier and receive a fresh batch of linens. But CRMR is opening its own laundry in Bowness on the west side of Calgary to service their hotels and restaurants.  It uses eco-friendly products and is expected to cost about the same, maybe a little less, than renting linens.

“The business case for doing our own laundry is we can own our linens which immediately took the quality of our linens in our hotels up tenfold,” says O’Connor. “Rental linens have to have 50/50 content or they shred them in laundry. Now we can have beautiful cotton linens and we’re laundering them ourselves and they’re fantastic.”

This isn’t the first time CRMR started a business to service their hotels and restaurants.  Back in 1996 they started a ranch to grow their own game because they wanted to ensure quality meat for their restaurants.  Next came a bakery, which is moving to Bowness to keep transportation costs to the mountains down.

CRMR’s “cluster businesses” are part of a growing trend of local vertical integration according to Michael Shuman, author of The Small-Mart Revolution: How Local Businesses Are Beating the Global Competition and Going Local: Creating Self-Reliant Communities in a Global Age.

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Unmasking the Myth of Scarcity

By Stephanie Jackman for REAP Business Association

Money is a lot like water. For some folks it rushes through their life like a raging river. Money comes through my life like a little trickle. But I want to pass it on in a way that does the most good for the most folks. I see that as my right and my responsibility. It’s also my joy.

These words – spoken by Gertrude in a church basement in Harlem in 1978, recounted by Lynne Twist in her book The Soul of Money – summarize the book’s theme: Money transmits our intentions. We can use it to create the world of our dreams, or we can use it to perpetuate the status quo.

The status quo is based on a mindset of scarcity. A mindset that creates an underlying fear that we, and the people we care about, won’t have enough. The prevalent belief that there isn’t enough to go around, that someone will always be left out, drives a culture of accumulation. A belief that more is better creates a race with no end.

The infinite race for more continues because of a third belief: “That’s just the way it is.” We assume the world is hopelessly unfair. We resign ourselves to scarcity. We worry first about getting what is ours. More than ours, in fact, to avoid being left out.

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Green Pathways to Economic Recovery

By Brenna Atnikov

On September 23, 2009 CBC’s The Current: Work in Progress series highlighted a great example of a town in Ontario taking control of its economic – and therefore social and environmental – future.

The concept of community economic development is never mentioned. Listen carefully though, and you will hear that the values, principles, and boundary spanning approaches inherent in CED comes through loud and clear!

Citizen-led action in Welland, Ontario resulted in innovative approaches to achieve economic growth during the heart of the 2008/2009 global recession. Entrepreneurs saw potential in the re-adaptive use of old factories and warehouses that had been abandoned years before.

Right-click here to download the mp3, and discover two great examples of businesses that offer green collar jobs and hope for the future.

What are your NEXT STEPS?

  • Look for local suppliers that produce goods for local consumption
  • Choose manufacturers who are not only environmentally neutral, but actually contribute to improving environmentally quality through their work
  • Contact Thrive to get involved with Green Collar Jobs workforce development initiatives in Calgary
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Cooperatives: Locally Owned Businesses Build Strong Communities

By Heather MacIntosh

In the social economy, a range of models for social enterprise, cooperatives, and green jobs abound.

El Ceibo is an organization of cocoa farmers in Bolivia that combines all three. El Ceibo not only introduced a fair trade, organic, democratic production model to Bolivia, it is a leading voice in the social economy movement nationally and in South America. The organization consists of over 40 smaller farmer co-ops throughout the Alto Beni region.

El Ceibo buys raw products (cocoa beans) from its participating farmers, produces chocolate in its factory in the migrant city of El Alto, and offers factory jobs to its members and their immediate family members on a rotating basis. Workers in the production section of the factory are on 3-year contract and those in finance, administration, marketing and management have 3-5 year positions. New workers arrive and have cross training between 1 and 6 months, depending on the person and the role.

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The Newest Movement in Sustainable Living: In Transition 1.0 (Film Review)

In Transition 1.0 from Transition Towns on Vimeo.
By Jennifer Dooley for REAP Business Association

In Transition 1.0 – From Oil Dependence to Local Resilience, is the first film ever released about the newest movement in sustainable living: the Transition movement. It’s a film worth watching –  hopeful and powerful, showing us a practical vision for creating a post-consumer society where ordinary people make a difference.

The movement is about transitioning into a more sustainable way of life. It’s about taking small steps towards environmentally friendly choices: switching to energy efficient light bulbs, recycling, turning down the thermostat, composting, using re-usable grocery bags, or taking the bus more often. The movement has a place for everyone and now entire communities are joining the effort.

Born out of a response to peak oil and climate change, you may wonder how can one person or community minimize our collective dependence on oil and battle climate change? Filmmaker Emma Goude provides the answer. This British production illustrates Transition efforts worldwide while begging the viewer to think of creative and practical ways to bring these efforts to our local communities.

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Building Better Communities

By Angus Macdonell for REAP Business Association

The word ‘community’ brings to mind different images to different people. Whatever the images in your mind, a successful community is created when the people in it relate well to one another. And a transforming community is one that focuses on abundance and celebrates generosity.

In his book Community: The Structure of Belonging (2008 Berret-Koehler), Peter Block draws together a wealth of research that unanimously suggests that a new methodology is needed to change the way people come together to discuss the issues. Changing the nature of the conversation is the key to building a better community. The stuck or “retributive community”, as Block terms it, is characterized as “a set of problems to be solved. Those who can best articulate the problems and who can best articulate the solutions dominate the conversation.”

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A Song for Thrive

Another big thanks goes out to Matt Mayer, who wrote this Song for Thrive in the midst of our Strategic Map launch dialogue.

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