Newsletter March 2019 Circle Economy Special

Our analysis of signals of change in the world tell us that there are major changes being called for.

Eliminate poverty – we already decided

The Sustainable Development goals set a new precedent for human development and it is still sinking in that the majority of countries in the world have signed up to eliminating poverty (SDG1) and hunger (SDG2) and eliminating threats to the environment.

Supporting links:

The Sustainable development goals website

Universal Basic Income and Universal Basic Services are being tried and debated as a route to achieving SDG 1.

Supporting links: Article in the Independent on University College of London Report.

A new Green Deal proposes massive investment in a new USA

From the Democratic party, the New Green Deal is the boldest proposal to come from the US for a long time – it will aim to eliminate poverty, create green jobs and transform the technical infrastructure of the US to a circular economy

Supporting links:

The Circular Economy is central to achieving the SDGs and the New Green Deal

The idea has been with us for a while, and it is slowly becoming more and more apparent that nature works in a circular way and society needs to fit in. The possibilities are huge, from green, dignified jobs for all to eradication of pollution to a better life for future generations.

Supporting links: Learn more about the Circular economy at this online school.

Heavy fees on things that pollute like fossil fuel can be a blessing

We are noticing how more and more economists are realizing that a heavy, increasing fee on fossil carbon could stimulate the economy rather than slow it if the fees are paid back to taxpayers. Some estimates point to 70% of citizens being better off under the scheme as those who use fossil fuels are ofter the wealthiest.

Supporting links:

From our sponsors


Newsletter November 2017 Peace Economics Special

This summer, the Caux Foundation hosted an Invest in Peace conference, the first of its kind, convening bankers investors, land restorers, development experts and peace activists.  The conference was organised by the Swedish Sustainable Economy Foundation and Initiatives of Change.

Initiatives of Change was originally called Moral Rearmament, and came to do some of its most important work at the end of WW2 in bringing Germans and French together for reconciliation.

The main take away: Peace is still a good thing to work towards.

Indeed, the conference confirmed that making Peace the main driver of investment could usher in a new era of prosperity globally. And the world badly needs a new idea.

Read the conference summary here.

Big change ahead for Signals of Change

Analysing signals of change, the team  (Stephen Hinton Consulting with selected partners) has come to the conclusion that the challenges facing humanity are so large that the only strategy to navigate the future is to aim for peace at every level: personal, community, environmental and systemic/structural. Because of this, the Signals of Change team is joining forces with Initiatives of Change and the Swedish Sustainable Economy Foundation. Signals of change will now become a regular feature of the Invest in Peace newsletter instead of a separate publication. Signals will still focus on the changes and trends happening that affect sustainable development in all its aspects, but with a stronger peace focus.

You as a Signals of Change subscriber will be invited to subscribe to the new publication in conjunction with the next edition in December. In the meantime you are welcome to sign up on the Invest in Peace website.

We hope you have benefited from Signals over the years and we invite you to join us in what might be the greatest project of all: Peace on Earth.


Newsletter May 2017 Peace Economics Special

Last month saw the publication of Doughnut Economics- a model for keeping within planetary boundaries AND meeting social needs. Keeping within boundaries requires practices to go from extractive to regenerative. We share links on doughnut economics, reflect that it is  150 years since the publication of Capital volume 1 by Karl Marx, and offer our observation that signals we are detecting show that peace is about to make a come-back, going hand in hand with regenerative economic approaches. Popping up in different places, the awareness seems to be growing of the good sense in designing economic policies that incentivize taking care of Earth and putting peace first. Indeed, Doughnut economics, by insisting economics must remove suffering, and other signals on the importance of restoring land to support livelihoods not industrial practices all point towards peace economics.

Newsletter February 2017. Investment special Vol. 5 Issue 1

Most planning rests on the assumption that tomorrow will be like yesterday. We are seeing signs that the very basis for our economy may change rapidly. Signals urges strategists to pay attention to the interface between land functioning – ongoing changes, the nature of the firm, and where money is being invested. Careful consideration of these factors will help your firm navigate the future.

SWEDEN SPECIAL Newsletter OCTOBER 2016 Vol. 4 Issue 2

Newsletter OCTOBER 2016 Vol. 4 Issue 2

Sweden special: dressed up for the 2030 celebrations but no carriage to take her there

Scrabbling to take the lead in defossilization, Sweden released ambitious plans to be fossil neutral 2030.Flagship Ericsson sheds employees and factories and announces  sharp profit shortfalls. As Ericsson’s shares tumble Signals advises corporate strategists to study Sweden. Can high-tech companies really be located in countries like Sweden that place the social contract high on the agenda? Or is it the other way round – can policy strategists craft alternatives that make the country a good place for Hi-tech corporations whilst maintaining the social contract? And defossilizing at the same time?

If Sweden cannot de fossilise, have a liberal economy and keep the social contract, who can?

Having removed fossil fuel dependency from electricity generation, Sweden was convinced that all that was left was transport and that many alternative ways of transporting their goods could be found within the timeframe. That was until researchers reminded them of  the almost 100% dependency of food provision on diesel. Having created one of the most urbanised countries in Europe (85%) Swedes are struggling to envision a way forward to, in the cold climate with mostly poor soils, provide food security without industrial agriculture and a highly centralised and transport-dependent food logistics network.

Sweden’s social direction has stranded

The Nobel Prize in Economics was , some say, created as a counter-weight to the pragmatic social democratic approach of honouring  the social contract whatever the situation. Economists must be gloating that the social democratic model is failing and not finding a replacement.

(Apart from the beggars filling the streets, the population of non-registered citizens soaring and handicapped people dying after their care and assistance is withdrawn Signals heard that a university lecturer, who left her work due to illness, is now begging regularly to make ends meet.)

House speculation as economic engine has left many behind

Countries like Sweden, that have enjoyed home ownership as a money-creator for their banks and as a source of retirement income for themselves, are dangerously close to the bubble bursting. For policy makers we advise listening to debt forgiveness as serious economists like Steve Keen propose serious fiscal reform.

Current policy, of keeping interest rates low and allowing deductions for interest payment, is fuelling still further housing price rises. As the thousands of Ericsson employees hit unemployment we can expect it will produce an oversupply of mortgaged houses, causing a price dip if not a burst bubble.

Be aware of the alternatives

Alternatives to houses as piggy-banks are sprouting up. From the tiny house movement to the Permanent Real Estate Cooperative. Signals encourages social entrepreneurs and social enterprises to consider this route.


Most corporate strategists who read Signals will readily admit that there is no B plan if fossil fuel is taken out of the equation. There is no strategy that can cope. The onus is on government policy to provide a transition path for businesses that risk having to ditch much of their equipment, supply chains and processes. Lobbying is what is needed along with serious dialogue.

Fossil vulnerability plan and a circular opportunity plan – soonest

For your organisation to get  on top of this volatile situation, analysis of fossil vulnerability should be carried out. When you have done that, a full analysis of the potential of finding resources from the circular economy to run your operations is a priority.

Localisation will be one route that will almost certainly happen. This was the message of the recent Economics of Happiness seminar recently held in London and the subject of the Localfutures blog.

TSSEF simulated the ecological alternative

The Swedish Sustainable Economy held a simulation to address just that question earlier last year. The results speak for themselves: only by applying a framework of large enough fees and dividends can the market be nudged to change.

Read more about the simulation here.

Finally, when war seem on the cards for all, why not Invest in Peace?

The biggest business opportunity


MARCH 2016 Vol. 4 Issue 1

Signals of war

Signals show tensions rising and divisions growing. Time to Invest in Peace. Is it possible?


Ad_WebinarWelcome to the Webinar hosted by TIGE.


  • Date: 5 th April 16:00 – 17:00 CET
  • Host: Initiatives of Change
  • Theme: how to invest in Peace
  • Objectives: An overview of possibilities to invest in other ways, at personal ´, community and policy level.
  • Sign up: Free
  • Access: you will need a web link (coming soon on this page)

JUNE 2015 Vol. 3 Issue 3

Environmental Fiscal Reform: looking back in 2015

A look back at what has been happening during the first half of the year in EFR: the economic system’s downsides are revealing themselves as environmental pressures rise. The case for environmental fiscal reform has never been stronger.

MARCH 2015 Vol. 3 Issue 2

Newsletter MARCH 2015 Vol. 1 Issue 2

The environment is sending a bill. We are still paying for the wrong things.

The recent update to Planetary Boundaries (link) underlines that four of nine environmental boundaries have been crossed by human activity. Environmental degradation is affecting economies badly. At the same time, they are performing poorly on equitable distribution and food and housing security. Inclusion, too is becoming a challenge. The term Environmental Fiscal Reform, which first appeared in the early 2000s, appears more frequently amid signs that the economic system itself is coming under pressure. In the run-up to the climate talks in Paris later this year, business leaders and environmentalists alike are asking for serious reforms.


We extend sincere apologies to our subscribers for the recent malfunction of our newsletter system where several subscribers received up to ten copies of the same e-mail. We have issued support tickets and are working with our provider to resolve the issue.

We have found the problem and are now testing whether the changes we have made have resolved the issue.

Apologies once again for the inconvenience.

Stephen Hinton