Welcome to Fair Economy Alliance –initiatives in Europe involving SMEs that work towards the new economy.
Fair Economy Alliance is an exchange of information by SMEs and economic experts from civil society, about the transition towards a new economy’. SMEs wish to show their sustainable and social business models to the public and inform business, politics and media with their best practices and policy needs in fostering the transition.
What these SME initiatives have in common is the interest to further the already relatively high social and ecological standards in Europe in order to work towards a viable economic climate that regenerates ecology and social rights in the long run. In doing so, participating SMEs also defend their own interests. This is because current economic and trade policies mainly benefit large and global companies, while harming small and medium-sized enterprises by its weakening of the regulatory powers of governments to uphold the public interest.
Here are a few examples of what should be done differently:
Stop protecting and benefiting foreign investors
Investor arbitration tribunals such as the Investment Court System (ICS) currently in CETA (EU-Canada trade agreement) and considered for TTIP (EU-US trade agreement), the Multilateral Investment Court (MIC) and numerous Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs), are supposed to protect foreign investors from legislative changes in the respective countries. Foreign investors have more protection than domestic investors this way, which is discriminatory. Furthermore: aren’t legislative changes exactly what the public interest needs to reach the environmental regeneration goals as set in the Paris Climate Agreement?
SMEs often depend on local markets and the distinctiveness and social connectivity of these make a vital contribution to our quality of life. In the course of market liberalisation, TTIP/CETA negotiators want to restrict ‘buy local’ movements and regulations. Especially businesses with sustainable production methods see themselves facing unfair competition.
Change the tax system
On top of various options multinationals already have to evade taxation, European governments are actively providing tax cuts to global companies, under the pretext of thousands of jobs flooding into the EU. Whereas SMEs are the backbone of the economy and provide up to 70% of all jobs in a country, and are facing unfair competition because they do have to pay the full amount of taxation. Tax benefits could only be justified for companies that contribute to the common interest in other ways, like the regeneration of ecosystems or the strengthening of social rights.