Otherwise Living’s Ethical Investment Policy governs all Otherwise Living’s work and interactions with third parties (donors, investors, partners, banks etc.)
Otherwise Living is dedicated to tackling not just the symptoms but the roots of unsustainable practices, by maximising benefits to people and communities, while minimising the impact on the environment.
Otherwise Living aims to ensure that its earned income, investment support and partnerships are compatible with co-operative and democratic values as well as with social, environmental and financial sustainability. The policy recognises that Otherwise Living’s fundraising and investment decisions will have an impact on the world around us and that we can use investment to effect social and economic change.
Otherwise Living's work with investors and donors is built upon three pillars of sustainability:
Social sustainability – is based upon collective inter-dependence, self-determination, co-operative and democratic values and human and workers’ rights through developing community led initiatives for urban living. This includes a commitment to helping others and living as a part of a whole as an individual.
Environmental sustainability - is about minimising the environmental impact of all organisational and business operations. It goes beyond doing no harm, taking an approach that strives to model urban best practices for low impact living. This includes less consumption and waste.
Economic sustainability - is about creating alternative economic relationships and structures for emphasising co-operation over competition. Benefit to the community is the measurement of success rather than profit and growth for individual gain. This includes less consumerism, a social business model where surplus is returned to the members, and fair rents are based on incomes rather than open market rents.
In all our involvements/interactions with external institutions, companies, banks etc., including investments, trading, financial activities, acceptance of loans, grants and donations, employing contractors and hiring services:
We will endeavour to work with companies and trading partners whose principles are compatible with co-operative and democratic values as well as with social, environmental and financial sustainability.
We will not support, actively promote, practise or benefit from:
• involvement in the nuclear power industry
• the manufacture or use of GMOs in the food chain
• the manufacture or trade of military equipment.
We will try to avoid and minimise our trading with companies that benefit from:
• the extraction and production of fossil fuels
• the manufacture of polluting chemicals
• involvement in unsustainable forestry, timber trade and agriculture
• the manufacture of tobacco products
• involvement in animal testing for cosmetic or medical purposes
• involvement in exploitative and oppressive sexual representations of men, women, children, and animals
• involvement in any form of environmental degradation
• exploitative working conditions.
In assessing our business activities we will uphold the human rights of all. We will work and trade with organisations and individuals who respect all, regardless of religion and beliefs, gender, sexual orientation, ethnic heritage, abilities, immigration status, class and age.
We support and encourage organisations that work with formal organisations of labour within the work place, including those seeking better pay and conditions and who proactively challenge all forms of discrimination.
1. FUNDRAISING & MARKETING
Otherwise Living's values and approaches are outlined in our ethical investment policy. An analysis of opportunities and risks is required prior to any third party engagement where possible including potential individual supporters, or organisations, private companies, donors and consideration given to Otherwise Living ethical standards. The ethical criteria set out in these guidelines cover gifts of products, payments for advertising and revenue from mutual partnership schemes, as well as loans and straightforward gifts of money. We recognise that not everything claiming to be 'green' is environmentally or ethically sound, and that not all companies, businesses, philanthropists falling into these broad criteria will be acceptable to Otherwise Living.
Company donations - Otherwise Living’s approach to business is primarily concerned with encouraging local economies, sustainability and a high regard for workers' rights and conditions. We will also seek donations from businesses with ethical ownership structures, such as workers' co-ops. Companies must, if wholly owned subsidiaries, consider the activities of parent companies. Companies that do not recognise trade unions or collective agreements are precluded from donating to Otherwise Living.
Anonymous Donations: Otherwise Living receives funds anonymously, but only from individuals, not companies or corporations. Reasonable steps need to be taken to ensure that all individual donors agree with Otherwise Living's mission statement and values.
Patrons promote and support the work and values of Otherwise Living. They are credited on our website and in our Annual Report; they champion Otherwise Living and co-operative values. They play a pivotal role in securing the continued growing impact of Otherwise Living. They will be vetted according to Otherwise Living's ethical policy framework clarifying their commitment in Otherwise Living’s key ethical priorities areas (see above).
Receiving commission payments from businesses through ‘partnership agreements'. Any such arrangements must be relevant and sensitive, and must not imply that LCNC is a mere vehicle for the company involved.
Donations will be refused if acceptance would result in damage to the reputation and a net loss to Otherwise Living i.e. if the donor’s work or activities contravene the priority criteria or if other supporters or potential supporters are likely to withdraw their support from Otherwise Living if the donation is accepted. Otherwise Living does not accept donations from supporters who wish to dictate working practices that are inconsistent with our values and policies.
Public Association: Where supporters seek a public association with Otherwise Living to enhance their own reputation, Otherwise Living will enter into a partnership if its value brings significant net gain to achieving our mission.
2. INFLUENCING & ADVOCACY
•Otherwise Living works with other organisations to influence policy and practice in relation to our mission.
Otherwise Living may determine that it is appropriate to work with organisations or individuals that do not comply with our ethical standards because we wish to influence them to change their practice. In such circumstances, a risk assessment would be carried out.
3. PROCUREMENT & INVESTMENT
These ethical standards apply to investment of Otherwise Living's money and to procurement of goods and services for its work.
4. BANKING / MORTGAGE
Otherwise Living seeks to find a lender (mortgage provider) with green and ethical credentials. The key areas considered are responsibility toward customers, financial exclusion, equal opportunities, environment and also whether they have an ethical lending policy or guidelines in place.
Otherwise Living will look for lending companies with responsible lending policies. LCNC is looking for a lender that seeks to redress financial exclusion.
Otherwise Living Screening:
Otherwise Living Management Team is responsible for setting and reviewing the criteria to establish an approved list of companies for possible investments.