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The Next Economy: Deep Dive

Download our deep dive report on The Next Economy:


The Next Economy Deep Dive
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This report was last updated in 2024.


Summary

Giving Green classifies The Next Economy as one of the most effective nonprofit organisations in Australia to address climate change in 2024 and beyond. 


Australia’s green industrial exports represent a sector which Australia could leverage to reduce a significant portion of the world’s emissions where it would be difficult for most other countries to decarbonise. The Next Economy (TNE) can help accelerate the development of green industry in Australia through multiple methods. First, The Next Economy works with communities in regions with strong ties to fossil fuels and carbon-intensive industries to plan, coordinate, and manage changes leading to decarbonisation. This includes developing regional transition plans, connecting investors to green industry opportunities, and advising local government and industry to enable the rapid, fair, and sustainable transition to net zero. Second, The Next Economy provides advice and expertise to inform government policies and programs at both state and federal levels. The Next Economy’s extensive work at a regional level results in a unique advantage in providing policy recommendations that factor in the concerns and priorities of communities. TNE’s work from grassroots to grasstops can meaningfully accelerate Australia's green industry development and the transition to a zero-carbon economy. 


The Next Economy has ambitious plans to accelerate Australia’s transition to a zero-carbon economy. These include enabling development of green industries in ways that are environmentally responsible and deliver sustainable benefits for impacted communities. If successful, this approach would significantly reduce Australia’s dependence on fossil fuel exports and hard-to-decarbonise industrial emissions globally, while incentivising  economic benefits for Australia and Australian workers. The Next Economy reported a funding gap of $400,000 AUD, which would be invested in policy advisory work and support key organisational functions.


  • ​​What is The Next Economy? The Next Economy is an Australian nonprofit organisation dedicated to accelerating Australia’s transition to a zero-emissions economy in sustainable ways for both people and the planet. The Next Economy collaborates with governments, industries, workers, and communities to identify and implement approaches that are economically beneficial to regional communities, workers, and Australia as a whole. Most of The Next Economy’s work over the last six years has involved supporting carbon-intensive industrial regions to transition to green heavy industries. While recent announcements by the federal government (such as the Future Made in Australia Act) support the green industrial transformation, there remain a number of practical and social impediments to fruition.  The Next Economy mitigates these impediments by working with industry, government, unions, and community groups to identify how they can best address these challenges and maximise benefits on their own terms, increasing the social licence for transition. 

  • How could The Next Economy reduce greenhouse gases? The Next Economy works to integrate insights garnered from carbon-intensive and fossil fuel export regions in informing decision-making processes across industry and all levels of government. Demonstrating the positive economic outcomes, employment opportunities, and community benefits of the transition from fossil fuels to green industries assists in the design of policies and frameworks such that they can prevent unnecessary pushback to major green projects. The Next Economy’s research explores and reveals the economic and social feasibility of climate action in Australia, including commercial expansion and significantly improved regional employment opportunities in regional communities. Ultimately, through its  regional engagement, The Next Economy identifies practical approaches and timely policy insights that can result in emissions reduction while generating economic benefits and respecting people’s lives and livelihoods.  

  • Giving Green’s method of analysis: Our assessment of The Next Economy’s impact included a select literature review, engaging in an extensive series of expert interviews, speaking with representatives from The Next Economy, and interviewing climate, policy, and advocacy experts. We also reviewed publicly available information on The Next Economy, including its reports, website, and media coverage.  

  • Room for more funding:  Our assessment concludes that The Next Economy has the capacity to absorb and meaningfully deploy increased funding and deliver substantial returns from additional marginal investment. This includes The Next Economy furthering its policy advisory work via funding research staff to identify policy insights, communications staff to generate public support for new policy ideas, and advisory staff to engage with key decision-makers. We consider The Next Economy’s political advisory work to be among their portfolio’s most effective endeavours. 

  • Co-benefits and co-costs: We find The Next Economy’s work to have multiple co-benefits. These include economic benefits for Australia, employment benefits for Australian regional workers, community benefits for regional communities, and improved air quality for Australia and its industrial export partners. We also identify co-costs incurred by its work, including employment loss in some of Australia’s export partner countries, and potential economic costs to the Australian government stemming from investment in green industries.

  • Key uncertainties: Our key uncertainties are: a) whether community consultation is the decisive factor in mitigating impediments to green projects and b) whether community consultation would have been conducted otherwise in the absence of The Next Economy’s work.

  • Bottom line / next steps: We conclude that The Next Economy is likely to be one of the most effective organisations in Australia working to address climate change, and represents a highly promising philanthropic funding option. This is based on diverse factors, including a) The Next Economy’s track record of success, b) its effective working relationships at multiple levels of government, c) its uniquely strong ability to engage with and represent the concerns of key communities (in the current context of mistrust and growing opposition to renewable energy, this could be critical to passing green projects), and d) its focus on addressing neglected sources of emissions with significant unsolved issues.

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