Livestream: New Economy Coalition CommonBound Gathering: Watch it live June 6-8!

Posted on:

Hundreds of the people and organizations who are working to build a new economy will converge this June 6th - 8th at CommonBound: a gathering hosted by the New Economy Coalition in Boston, MA.

To provide global access to the talks, workshops, distinguished leaders, activists and practitioners at CommonBound, The Extraenvironmentalist, a Vancouver, BC based media not-for-profit The Extraenvironmentalist, will be live broadcasting conference sessions and interviews through a livestream on the CommonBound website at

Speakers from Canada include Beatrice Alice of Chantier de l'economie sociale, Mike Lewis of the Canadian Centre for Community Renewal and Mike Toye of the Canadian Community Economic Development Network (CCEDnet).

Tune in to hear the latest ideas and developments in new economies from across North America!

Find out about new economies by reading this blog post here.

Photo credit: Creative Commons license - Boston, MA /via Flickr user robdebsgreen

Slow Money Canada’s Inaugural Gathering – June 5-6, 2014

Posted on:

For the first time, Slow Money is meeting in Canada. At the gathering, learn to invest as if food, farms and Slow Money logofertility mattered.

The Slow Money Conference will connect investors to the places where they live, creating vital relationships and new sources of capital for small food enterprises. Woody Tasch, Founder of Slow Money, is delivering the opening keynote.

The conference is in Vancouver and you can register here.

CityScapes: The Natural & Built Environment

Posted on:

With more than 80 percent of Canadians living in cities, the need for resilient and livable cities has never been greater. Our economic, social and environmental success depends on the quality of life provided by cities.

And yet, our cities face unprecedented challenges- from aging infrastructure and increased traffic congestion to inefficient energy systems to urban sprawl. Our cities need to work better.

Innovation is a key driver of our prosperity, but our urban centres seem to struggle to find ways of encouraging and adopting innovation. Nowhere is this more evident than in our built and natural environments- our parks, public transit, energy and housing.

Smart planning, innovation, experimentation and investment will be a determining factor in the resiliency of our urban centres. We cannot build the next 100 years of infrastructure using the concepts and methods of the past 100 years.

CityScapes will be a platform for driving innovation that tackles our critical infrastructure issues and advances our economic, social and environmental prosperity. It will bring together the public, innovators and decision makers to accelerate the shift to more livable and resilient infrastructure in cities across Canada and beyond.

Transformative change can happen when Canadians are engaged with new ideas, in ways that are relevant to them.

Free Webinar on Materiality and Sustainability

Posted on:

Are you interested in learning (1) how to identify your most relevant sustainability issues, and (2) how to set up a materiality process that can create value for your organisation?

Join for the presentation and live Q&A by REGISTERING HERE.

Presenter: DWAYNE BARAKA, business strategy expert, author of Making Sustainability Matter
Date: Thursday 20 March 2014
Time: 4:30pm GMT (London) / 12:30 EDT (New York) / 9:30 PDT (British Columbia) / Convert your time

Photo credit: Daniel Rotman 2014

Introduction to New Economies

Posted on:

With growing concern about critical ecological and social challenges and the inability of existing policy arrangements to address the failings of the mainstream economic system, there is an upsurge in experiments in alternative approaches to economics.

Innovative ideas, initiatives and projects have been emerging for decades, such as co-operatives, however, there is a rapid increase since the financial crisis as government, business, civil society, academia and citizens alike search for solutions. There remains debate as to the scope, scale and nature of these solutions; however, there is a common interest in making economies more just, environmentally and socially responsible, and supportive of healthy and resilient wellbeing for all communities and ecosystems now and into the future. This requires a shift in approach toward economics as a means to wellbeing rather than an end in itself.

In Canada, new economies innovations include solutions from new measures of progress to market-based solutions to alternative ownership structures. The new economies field is being shaped by key Individuals, organizations, think tanks and includes networks such as the Canadian Businesses for Social Responsibility, Blue Green Canada and the Canadian Cooperatives Association.

These innovations are not only emerging to benefit from economic, social and ecological gains but also to diversify economies and minimize risk. Faced with the complexity of our current urban and global challenges, we can assess these solutions not only on how they address current problems but to build resilience and our adaptive capacity for the long-term.

Urban resilience and livability is advanced when markets are allocated within the framework of appropriate rules, policies and values. There is a critical role for policy makers to establish market conditions which support competition while ensuring living wage, a functioning democracy, equitable distribution of resources, and the internalization of ecological and social impacts.

The opportunity within Cities for People is to connect, create, and support these new economies innovations, to scale nationally promising solutions and to foster the systems and policy context for people, prosperity and the planet.


Photo credit: Daniel Rotman 2014

Collaborative Economy Event in Vancouver

Posted on:

April Rinne, Chief Strategy of Collaborative Lab, was in Vancouver as part of a cross-Canada tour on Thursday 13 February 2014.

April Rinne Speaking 300 Photo Daniel-RotmanAt the public event that evening, she illustrated how the collaborative economy (or "the sharing economy") has the potential to transform the way we design products and services, create sustainable and "shareable" cities, re-imagine public services, reduce waste and connect communities.

Collaborative Consumption and The Sharing Economy: Opportunities for Cities, Organizations, and Well-Being

Featuring April Rinne, Chief Strategy Officer, The Collaborative Lab

Sadhu Johnston, Deputy City Manager, City of Vancouver
Chris Diplock, Co-Founder, Vancouver Tool Library, Lead Researcher, The Sharing Project (learn more about The Sharing Project here)
Hilary Henegar, Marketing Director, Modo - The Car Co-op

In Vancouver, April’s visit was hosted by One Earth as part of Cities for People, with partners including Vancity, The Sharing Project, Modo The Car Co-op, City of Vancouver, The HiVE, CityStudio, Board of Change, Village Vancouver, Share Shed, Pogoride, Ashoka, The Extraenvironmentalist, BC Partners for Social Impact and other local partners. Her national speaking tour is co-sponsored by Social Innovation April Rinne 300 Photo Daniel-RotmanGeneration (SiG). Vanessa Timmer (One Earth) and Tim Draimin (SiG) - pictured at the right - joined April across the country.

Read about the Toronto public event here.

Read the blog post "The Sharing Economy: it's more than we think" here.

Watch the video recording of April Rinne's Vancouver public event in Vancouver, recorded at The Hive on 13 February 2013 by The Extraenvironmentalist:

Photo credits: Daniel Rotman 2014

The Sharing Economy: It’s more than we think

Posted on:

There is a good chance that you’ve heard about “The Sharing Economy”.  It’s drawing attention because of innovations such as peer-to-peer sharing among neighbours including tool libraries and business-to-consumer enterprises including AirBnB.  Instead of keeping our focus here, we can widen our view and find an entire universe of social innovations.  These innovations have the potential to connect us to each other, lessen our impact on the Earth, and experiment with new business

Sharing has always been a part of city life including through libraries, community spaces, guilds, and civic structures. In the past decade, there has been a revival and acceleration in sharing innovations across sectors from mobility (Bixie Bikes, Coop Cars) to accommodation (AirBnB, coachsurfing) to skills (TaskRabbit). Businesses are sharing idle supply chain capacity and joining forces in collective institutional purchasing, and community-based grassroots innovators are creating neighbourhood community time banks and clothing swaps.

“Sharing cars, books, tools can also be expanded to shared, community-owned energy; shared 3D printing facilities; and communal office spaces. Shared ideas, green space, seeds, air, and water have been with us since we set foot on the earth but need protecting.”
– Mike Childs1

“The sharing economy can be manifest in almost every sector of society and corner of the globe. Sectors which have experienced robust traction and interest include accommodation, transportation, tourism, office space, financial services and retail products. Areas where significant growth is expected include [peer to peer] P2P car sharing, ridesharing, errand marketplaces, P2P and social lending, and product rental.”
– Young Global Leaders Sharing Economy Working Group2

Also known as collaborative consumption and the collaborative economy, the Sharing Economy is the bartering, exchanging, sharing, renting, trading, borrowing, lending, leasing and swapping of goods, services, time, capital, experiences and space by individuals, institutions, businesses and communities.  This is all being supported by new mobile and digital technologies and online platforms that redistribute and enable transactions based on trust and reciprocity. It is motivated by the realities of the economic crisis and financial hardship, growing urbanization, resource and energy constraints, and inequitable access to resources.3


Clothing swap hosted by sharing community,

There are opportunities to unlock idling capacity – the untapped social, economic, and environmental value of underutilized assets.  For some this is heralded as indicative of a changing relationship with material possessions and a rejection of mass consumption through a shift from ownership to access; however, others question whether the mainstream is willing to make this shift. What we do know is that when a community shares more, it consumes less material and energy.  The purchase of one 10 pound circular saw at the Vancouver Tool Library is estimated to have prevented up to 320 pounds of waste.  Although as Rachel Botsman notes, the Sharing Economy Lacks A Shared Definition, its promise lies in the possibility of reductions and more efficient use of resources and untapped and idle capacities, opportunities for local and inclusive economies, and greater social connectivity and trust.

Though the Sharing Economy holds much promise for creating social innovations, it’s important to consider who is benefitting from these new models of sharing. The successful growth of sharing businesses like Airbnb and Lyft clearly indicate the economic value of the movement. What is less understood is the social benefits that are created by the Sharing Economy for vulnerable populations. One of the greatest aspirations of the Collaborative Economy is to form a more inclusive society. Monitoring the impacts of sharing on low-income groups can help realize this vision.

An Expanding Universe of Sharing

 ”‘Sharing and shareability’ are typically too narrowly conceived and perceived. The opportunity is so much greater than middle-class ‘swishing’ and even though urban bike-sharing schemes have dominated news in this space, whether in London, Copenhagen, Paris or Montreal, or Rio, Guadalajara (México), Buenos Aires, or Providencia (Chile), sharing is definitely about much more than ‘bums on bikes.’”
– Julian Agyeman, Duncan McLaren and Adrianne Schaefer-Borrego4

We are missing some key aspects of the Collaborative and the Sharing Economy such as business to business sharing, informal sharing among immigrant, isolated or marginalized communities, and activities in unexpected sectors such as within the arts.

So how can we widen our view?  We can explore the what, who and how of the sharing economy:

  • WHAT

    The universe of sharing crosses many areas of our lives including transportation, food, space, funding, and goods.  It’s quite different if we are sharing things (books, cars, art), services (rides, child care, time) or experiences (skill sharing). There are also varying types of ownership – some sharing innovations are public, some private and others are cooperative.

  • WHO

    Most attention has been on individual peer-to-peer sharing (e.g., bartering networks like and business to consumer enterprises (e.g., Zipcar).  Sharing is also taking place among businesses (e.g., Liquidspace and horizontal collaboration across supply chains) and within communities (e.g., Tool Libraries, Cooperatives). We can also explore the diversity of networks emerging to support sharing innovators (, Collaborative Lab, Peers).

  • HOW

    The way we share also varies from money exchanges to non-monetized transactions, formal and informal innovations, and socially connected and more impersonal interactions.

By broadening our definition, it is possible to spark entrepreneurship and social innovation, to anticipate negative reactions and impacts, and to create a more nuanced and vibrant understanding of the Sharing Economy.  This, in turn, can guide the development of pilots, activities and supportive structures and policies.

From 10 – 14 February traveled with April Rinne, Chief Strategy Officer, Collaborative Lab and Tim Draimin, Executive Director, SiG National across Canada on a collaborative economy tour, co-sponsored by SiG and Cities for People.

Photo credit: Daniel Rotman 2014


1 Mike Childs (2013) The Power of Sharing: A Call to Action for Environmentalists. 5 November.

2 Young Global Leaders Working Group (2013) Circular Economy Innovation and New Business Models Initiative. Position Paper: World Economic Forum Young Global Leaders Taskforce.

3 Resources: Rachel Botsman and Roo Rogers (2012) What’s Mine is Yours; Lisa Gansky (2010) The Mesh: Why the Future of Business is Sharing; The Sharing Project Bryan Walsh 10 Ideas That Will Change the World: Today’s Smart Choice: Don’t Own. Share. Time Magazine, 17 March 2011.,28804,2059521_2059717_2059710,00.html

4 Julian Agyeman, Duncan McLaren and Adrianne Schaefer-Borrego (2013) Briefing: Sharing Cities. Written for Friends of the Earth’s “Big Ideas” project, September.

Credit: Originally posted at SiG Generation on 3 February 2014 by Vanessa Timmer.