From Reliable Prosperity:
When the health of ecosystems and communities is not integrated into economic activities, all three suffer. In turn, economic dependence on destructive activities creates apparent conflicts between work, nature, and community. How can we create an economy that effectively meets human needs while regenerating natural systems? An economy which grows organically — and fills new niches — by working with nature and enriching human capacities?
In a world of reliable prosperity, economic arrangements of all kinds are gradually redesigned so that they restore — rather than deplete — nature and society. This will create extraordinary opportunities for those who foresee and drive these changes. The fundamental needs of people — and the ecosystem services that sustain them — are the starting point for a different kind of economic prosperity that can endure generation after generation.
Based on our 20 years of work in the coastal temperate rainforests of the West, we believe that individuals and businesses flourish best by aligning their interests with the communities and ecosystems around them. In the long-run, this involves getting price signals right by instituting true-cost pricing. In the short-run, this means creating new business models, adopting new strategies (e.g. resource efficiency), transforming legal or institutional frameworks (e.g. fair trade), or looking at multiple benefits in a synergistic manner (e.g. green building). Reliable prosperity is emerging in cities, rural areas, and wildlands; in for-profits, non-profits, and governments; in corner coffeehouses and vast corporations; among rich and poor. Individuals and organizations that see its potential and acquire the skills to build it will create ongoing and enduring economic opportunities. Individuals and organizations that continue to depend on the depletion of social and natural capital will face increasingly unpredictable global commodity markets, tightening laws and regulations, new taxes, public outrage, loss of motivation, and many other symptoms of economic transformation.
Over the long-term, decrease economic dependence on activities that deplete natural or social capital. In the shorter-term, make investments with triple bottom line — economic, social, and environmental — returns. Harness both market forces and changes in laws, taxes, and policies that favor reliable prosperity.