Demonstrating new economic thinking in practice - PEP - Promoting Economic Pluralism

Think outside the economic box

We work with groups to help solve real world problems.

Our NEKS mission

There is nothing like seeing for believing.  As part of our mission to open up economic thinking, we are using New Economic Knowledge Services, a subsidiary of PEP, to work with groups around the UK to apply new economic thinking to solve real world problems.  We want to demonstrate models that will then be open source so others can learn from them and apply to solve their problems. Meet our expert network.

Our immediate focus

We are currently focussing on working in the Agri-food area as we see potential for significant application of innovative economic thinking and have expertise in that policy area.  We see various pressures creating the potential for system change:

  • UK agricultural policy is going through significant change moving from providing subsidies based on land area to providing ‘public funds for public benefits’, mainly environmental benefits.  Developments in the UK could also effectively provide a ‘sandbox’ for experimentation that could influence wider EU policy.
  • Globally there is an increasing recognition of the importance of ecosystem services provided by land management and an interest in developing institutions that support their funding.
  • Interest is growing in agro-ecology and regenerative agriculture which can only succeed economically with new systems that can deliver the required revenue streams from multiple products and services generated.
  • Growing food insecurity, which current inflation can only exascerbate, is driving the search for system change to take over from sticking plasters such as food banks and provide healthy and sustainable food to meet everyone’s needs.

These are complex systems involving multiple stakeholders and significant uncertainty, and cry out for innovative economic thinking.  Our current work includes:

  • supporting the Ribble River Trust in collaboration with Co-operative and Mutual Solutions Ltd to design institutional models to allow land managers in the Ribble Valley in Lancashire to gain collaborative funders for long-term ecological regeneration based on an approach set out here.  We will also look for other such groups to support going forward.
  • getting funding to explore how local currencies can be used to ‘bridge the gap’ between the availability of locally and sustainably produced food and those suffering from food insecurity based on thinking set out here.

Our approach

We are building a network to work with including experts in:

  • Green finance, local currencies and environmental markets;
  • Agricultural, land and environmental economics, policy and regulation;
  • Designing and facilitating processes to develop governance structures;
  • Cooperative governance and law;
  • Community funding for ecosystem services.

Please contact us if you are interested in joining our network.

Our expert network so far

Henry Leveson-Gower

Founder and CEO

Henry is an ecological economist and policy analyst with 30 years experience. He has particular expertise in agricultural and environmental policy and regulation as well as green finance, local currencies and environmental markets. He is a director of NEKS, the founder & CEO of PEP, editor of The Mint.

He has also been a Research Fellow at the Centre for Evaluation of Complexity Across the Nexus, is a Fellow of the RSA and a qualified chartered accountant.

Diana Pound

Diana, Director of Dialogue Matters, is an internationally respected and award-winning expert and pioneer in Stakeholder Dialogue, participatory research, training, and advice with over 25 years of experience. She set up Dialogue Matters in 2000 to unblock situations and facilitate integrated thinking for better environmental management, climate change adaptation and restoration and sustainable use of land or sea. She has won multiple best practice awards, including CIEEM’s highly prestigious Tony Bradshaw Award for ‘outstanding best practice’ and inaugural 2030 Impact Award in 2021. Diana’s personal accolades include the IUCN’s CEC Award for Excellence in West Europe (2019), Highly Commended in SocEnv’s UK Environmental Professional of the Year (2019), and finalist 2020 and 2021.

Tom Hill

Tom has 15 years’ experience of working on combined environmental, social and economic impact assessment for public and private sector bodies in both the UK and abroad.  He is currently the Director of Impact Economics at Savills, where he leads the firm’s approach to natural capital, carbon footprinting, and social value. Prior to joining Savills Tom was a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR), shaping its research and policy analysis related to community engagement and climate change. Before that he worked as an environmental economist at PwC and an impact analyst for Bioregional Development Group.

Richard Self

Richard is an independent consultant and part-time Agricultural Manager for Co-operatives UK, representing, developing and supporting the agriculture co-operative sector, which turns over £7.8 bn, with over 442 co-operative businesses.  He is helping these farmer-controlled businesses grow and develop, particularly in the key areas of governance and business strategy.  Richard’s background is in farming (he manages a small family farm), agricultural engineering, training and education, and business advice, specialising in collaborative business structures.

Cliff Mills

Cliff is a specialist in the law of co-operatives, mutuals and member-based organisations, a consultant with Anthony Collins Solicitors and Principal Associate at Mutuo. He has advised on the governance of cooperatives for thirty years. He has advised many of the movement’s institutions and worked on the modernisation of UK co-operative law through private members’ bills.
He has extensively promoted the application of cooperative ideas and approaches in the public sector. He was the UK appointed expert for the International Cooperative Alliance’s global cooperative law project in 2019.
He champions cooperatives as enterprises for the common good rather than private gain and promotes cooperative governance as an alternative to contracts as a basis for commercial relationships.