Humans are capitalists by nature. We like to accumulate. We like to have plenty of money, stuff, family, friends, connections, health, and good memories. So, it is not necessarily just the accumulation of wealth that makes us happy. We like to live in a clean and safe place. Hence, sustainable capitalism is about responsibility and the protection of our own basis for survival. To make our part of the world more secure, equitable, prosperous and sustainable we must involve a long-term strategy that honors the complex relations between the markets, greed, habitat destruction and poverty. We are looking for formulas to increase our social, human and financial capitals by managing wisely the very basis for our livelihoods- our natural capital.
In traditional capitalism there is one bottom line –profit, which is often achieved at the expense of the well being of people and nature. These negative consequences of capitalism are referred to by economists as externalities. In simple terms, while everyone else continues cutting back on the cost of their environmental and social externalities it will be difficult to establish viable business that “internalize” the cost of being green and equitable.
We have embarked on a unique journey to create a truly sustainable institutions based on sound ecological and business principles. Maquipucuna’s three part structure itself is strategically significant – it is a hybrid organization that has the traditional foundation (non-profit – or as we prefer “for-purpose”) functions as one unit, a for-profit unit and a shared administrative unit. This three part structure is designed to maximize the synergistic potential of this multi-purpose organization.
The for-purpose – mission driven unit invests in building human and social capital and in generating scientific discovery and understanding of complex ecological systems, while the for-profit unit seeks to extract marketable innovations to establish sustainable microenterprise in strategically placed villages along the Choco-Andes corridor area.
As the for-profit unit prospers, a greater amount of the administrative costs will be absorbed by the for-profit unit minimizing the pressure on the for-purpose unit. This structure help will help Maquipucuna answer two critical questions that have hampered other attempts to address issues of ecological conservation and sustainability: 1) how to demonstrate the economic value of conservation activities in a precise and persuasive manner; and 2) how to achieve a degree of competitive advantage in the pursuit of our triple bottom line-nature, people, and profit.
We are set to build human, social, infrastructure and financial capitals to levels sufficient to sustain the conservation processes initiated.
Building Human Capital
- Environmental education
- Establishing health care facilities
- Increasing gender impartiality
Establishing Social Capital
- Networks of community-based conservation and development
- Creation of local micro-enterprises and production associates
- Establish fair trade contracts
- Develop an international environmental education program
Recognizing and Utilizing Natural Capital
- Bird-friendly, shade-grown, organic coffee and cacao
- Native Bamboo
- Trading carbon offsets derived from forest protection and restoration
Providing Financial Capital
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