As we re-build the economy, we need to make sure that what we build reflects our values and that “public values help shape private value”.
Once we agree on what the economy, environment, and society should look like, governments need to set direction, catalyze investments, and maintain course. The best way to do this is to use Triple Bottom Line Costs Benefit Analysis (TBL-CBA) to measure value and set priorities.
Getting back to normal is our current hope. The new normal is also an ideal, a hope or aspiration for a better tomorrow. As such a post-pandemic stimulus plan should:
- Not be afraid to act for the long-term, beyond political term horizons, for future generations.
- Not shy away from acting out of precaution, as insurance against low-risk high-impact events.
- Make sure that incentives are aligned with the new economy so that private investment can follow the public sector’s lead.
TBL-CBA considers the value of a project over its life, includes long-term low risk events such as climate change, and values the intangible aspects of the project.
Governments can use TBL-CBA to prioritize infrastructure and building projects. They can also demand it be done for private contributions to public projects or private projects under their jurisdiction. TBL-CBA is how governments can set direction for a new course. By demanding TBL-CBA for private projects they can also make transparent where public value and private value differ.
Our post-pandemic call to arms:
- Value the environment: clean air, water, land, trees, green infrastructure, species, habitat and ecosystems.
- Be holistic – incorporate hidden costs and spillover effects into decision making.
- Value people and professions based on their societal contributions.
- Use the full carbon story: embedded carbon, carbon from construction, operations, and end of life.
- Prioritize using triple bottom line thinking: people, planet, and profit.
The next posts will cover: TBL-CBA and the Post-Pandemic Stimulus.