A Just Transition
Cooperation Buffalo's vision and strategy comes from Movement Generation's Just Transition Framework, illustrated below:
To keep ourselves accountable to the communities we serve, our work must pass through the following Values Filter:
Shift economic control to communities
Democratize wealth and the workplace
Advance ecological restoration
Drive racial justice and social equity
Relocalize most production and consumption
Retain and restore cultures and traditions
As members of Seed Commons, we follow Shared Principles:
Building cooperative, democratic ownership within communities. Seed Commons aims to combat increasing inequality by moving resources to cooperatively-owned and democratically-controlled enterprises embedded in their communities. This ensures that the benefits of investment are widely distributed to more people, who in turn own and control these assets in ways that are accountable to their communities.
Productive sustainability. Investing the resources of Seed Commons into financially sound and sustainable business projects is the foundation of our work. Long term sustainability is key to achieving community self determination and economic independence. Productive sustainability requires careful assessment of potential projects, high-touch training and technical assistance in democratic structure and business fundamentals, and ongoing support after investments are made.
Maximizing community benefit. Seed Commons produces community benefit by increasing worker and community ownership, and supporting projects that address social, economic, and environmental justice. We accomplish this providing financing and technical assistance to local enterprises that distribute economic power as they distribute ownership.
Radical inclusion. Seed Commons seeks to be radically inclusive. This means that our cooperative lends and facilitates lending to people from communities that have historically been excluded from access to economic stability: black and brown families, women and non-binary people, immigrants and indigenous communities, low-income workers, and others who have faced the brunt of the extractive economy, deindustrialization, and systemic discrimination. This requires that technical assistance, key in assuring the success of investment projects, is provided to all projects to overcome historic lack of access to the resources that are prerequisites for successful enterprise.
Non-Extraction. Seed Commons strictly uses non-extractive financing. This means the repayment of loans comes only from an increase in revenues or profits stemming from our investment. Repayment will not be extracted from prior existing business assets nor the personal assets of those who make up the enterprise. Collateral will be restricted to items purchased with financing from Seed Commons.