The rise of the Economy of Love
Economic actors have the responsibility to create fair and healthy working environments and contribute to preserving resources for long-term societal benefits. Giving a structure to these principles was the vision of SEKEM in designing the Economy of Love system.
The Economy of Love originated from the work of the Egyptian Biodynamic Association and SEKEM, an organisation founded in 1977 by Dr. Ibrahim Abouleish to promote sustainable development in Egypt. In a nutshell, the idea for the economy of love comes from an understanding that doing business is not only about gaining the highest possible profit from commercial transactions, but also about creating social and environmental impacts through the products/services provided and the relationships fostered with workers and partners. A vision that is also reflected in the 4 pillars of sustainability: social, human, economic and environment. This idea developed in the Economy of Love standard, which allows the certification of products that are sustainable, ethical and transparent throughout the supply chain. The goal of this standard is to facilitate the recognition of beneficial actions that go beyond typical economic metrics. In a sense, embracing the Economy of Love ecosystem is a way for companies, farmers and consumers to foster an economy based on respect and compassion towards people and nature.
Connected to the ambition of the Farms4Climate project, the Economy of Love Standard is focused on the farming sector, and is committed to actively increasing carbon sequestration through afforestation projects, compost production, soil carbon sequestration, and the implementation of renewable energy on licensed farms. To strengthen these objectives, SEKEM recently teamed up with the Carbon Footprint Centre of Heliopolis University and developed a Carbon Credit System, based on internationally recognized UNFCCC model and methodologies, that supports the Standard with extra metrics to report the carbon removed by certified farms. In the Carbon Credit system, the carbon removed by trees planted for this purpose as well as the carbon stocked in the soil is accounted for, and certified by COAE, an independent organisation that already carries out Demeter audits of farmers and companies in Egypt (accredited ISO 17065, ISO 14065).
The inclusion of this crediting system into the Economy of Love standard has the ambition to: 1) motivate farmers to plant more trees, produce more compost, promote sustainable soil building, and advance the development of renewable energy on their own farms and; 2) allow farmers to receive compensation for the ecosystem services they provide. Similarly to the Farms4Climate project, the overall goal of this strategy is to leverage on the current carbon farming trend to attract farmers and stakeholders into practising a more holistic approach to business, one that can be resilient and sustainable for people and the planet.