Making the change – on a global scale – from an economic system that is exploitative and growth-fixated to one that is regenerative is the challenge of our time. We need to fight the bad and nurture the good. The fact that large corporations are able to accumulate power and frequently abuse it is a clear indication of what is wrong and unsustainable in our economic system. We therefore want multinational corporations to commit to the common good. We also want to leverage cooperative and co-creative economic systems – specifically those that promote ecological and social well-being – to bring about systemic change. We also need to improve economic policy – and politics in general. And this means we need to refine and enhance our democracy – both in Germany, and throughout Europe.
This is why we are pleased to support organisations that, through concrete projects, are working towards these very goals. We support groups that are working on the most difficult political issues of our time; and groups that are applying the most effective pressure in all the right places.
»Our current problems can no longer be solved using the very methods that caused them in the first place.« This is the guiding principle of the Institut für Partizipatives Gestalten (IPG). This is why IPG’s method and process designers and architects work to find the most innovative approaches and ideas in participation-based planning and problem-solving. They then refine the ideas and add them to the range of services they offer.
We believe it is high time that the participatory design and creative processes that have long since been used in areas like town planning and landscape architecture, sustainability projects, the development of schools and education and organisation-building should now be tried out on larger scale projects. Working with IPG we want to design a piece of collaborative democracy for the EU.
There is a wide gulf between the reality of how the EU actually does trade negotiations and the ideal version, which would be a process that is transparent, democratic and participatory. Via the »Co-Creating Trade Policy« project we want to explore how, in future, a process of devising solutions through cooperation could be developed and implemented. Through this project we are advocating good and innovative agreements which, above all, have the support of the majority.
Head Office, Berlin plus 14 regional associations
Mehr Demokratie is the world’s largest direct democracy NGO. Its motto can be broadly summed up in the phrase »if we give up on democracy, democracy will give up on us«. So Mehr Demokratie campaigns, among other things, for the introduction of referenda at every level (local, regional and national); reform of the voting and parliamentary systems; the democratisation of the EU; and greater citizen participation.
Mehr Demokratie has enjoyed some impressive successes, strikes the right note in the public conversation, and skilfully manoeuvres its way around the political arena. We are currently supporting the project called »Bürgergutachten zur Stärkung der Demokratie« (»Citizens Survey to Strengthen Democracy«). We have already had a positive experience of working with Mehr Demokratie, having been involved in two of their previous projects, namely: »Selbstorganisierte europäische Bürgerinitiative gegen TTIP« (a European citizens campaign against TTIP) in 2015; and the Dutch referendum on CETA in 2016-2017.
For the first time ever Germany, like many other countries, has a majority that is unhappy with democracy itself – not just with politics or politicians. The entire world is seeing a decline in democratisation. We will use the results of a nation-wide citizens survey – the first of its kind in Germany – to devise concrete proposals on how to enhance and improve the quality of democracy and ensure that these proposals are fed into the political system and put into practice.
Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer pour le Progrès de l'Homme
Funders for Fair Trade Foundation
Open Society Initiative for Europe
The Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO) is a research and campaign group working to expose and challenge the privileged access and influence enjoyed by corporations and their lobby groups in EU policy making. CEO is committed to reining in the power of corporations in order to put an end to social injustice and the destruction of the environment.
We have been supporting CEO since 2015 and we have done so because it carries out careful research that it then skilfully deploys for political campaigns. CEO has enjoyed some considerable successes. CEO plays a central role on the pan-European NGOs network scene. CEO’s work is frequently used by other organisations, journalists and politicians.
Through the »Stopping the Corporate Trade Deals« project we want to keep up the pressure on the controversial CETA deal – the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement – in order to ensure that, in the end, the deal is never fully ratified. Furthermore, we would also like to broaden the CETA debate (which previously covered the TTIP deal) to cover other agreements which are currently being drawn up and are similarly problematic.
Berlin, Paris, Amsterdam
Foodwatch reinforces consumers’ rights to sufficient, safe and healthy food. The organisation publicises problems in the food industry and mobilises consumers. It proposes effective national and European laws to bring about political change, with the aim of ensuring that the food industry really does serve the interests of the consumer.
Like foodwatch, we too reject the TTIP and CETA free-trade agreements – which is why, since 2015, we have been supporting foodwatch’s campaign against these agreements. This strategically clever campaign explains the situation to citizens while also increasing an appreciation, among the media and politicians, of the problems associated with these deals. In order to continue this approach in the political sphere and to provide alternatives, we are now supporting foodwatch as it seeks to increase its profile across Europe.
We want to curb those company practices and political activities that weaken or conflict with consumer rights and civil rights – and to do this, we want to make an example of companies that act in this way and make sure that there are repercussions for them if they continue to do so. This should also serve to strengthen democracy and encourage people to get involved in shaping what might be termed »A Citizens’ Europe«.
Fondation Charles Léopold Mayer pour le Progrès de l'Homme
Funders for Fair Trade
The Institut Veblen advocates social and ecological change. It brings together academics, political decision-makers and players from civil society to define the adjustments needed in our existing economic, monetary and financial systems to ensure a balance between market, state and the common good. The Institute strengthens interdisciplinary networking and political mobilisation.
In June 2015, the Institut Veblen became our French partner in our campaign to involve small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the debate on TTIP and CETA. As the focus is now on the EU’s trade policy as a whole, we are supporting the Institut Veblen to build a network to promote trade policy reform and the coordinated lobbying, by French civil society, of political decision-makers.
Our aim is to bring about the restructuring of EU trade policy. In future, the focus must be on democratic accountability, social justice and environmental sustainability. Negotiations currently underway on specific trade agreements must be suspended. We want to devise trade alternatives to these agreements and develop a political momentum while also reaching a broader audience.