Prosperity in the Fossil-Free Economy

Cooperatives and the Design of Sustainable Businesses

Melissa K. Scanlan

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A blueprint for creating sustainable businesses, emphasizing the power and potential of cooperative models

Drawing on both her extensive experience founding and directing social enterprises and her interviews with sustainability leaders, Melissa Scanlan provides a legal blueprint for creating alternate corporate business models that mitigate climate change, pay living wages, and act as responsible community members, including Certified B Corps and benefit corporations. With an emphasis on cooperatives, this book reveals the power and potential of cooperating as a unifying concept around which to design social enterprise achieving triple bottom-line results: for society, the environment, and finance.

Melissa K. Scanlan is the Lynde B. Uihlein Endowed Chair and Professor in Water Policy and Director of the Center for Water Policy at the School of Freshwater Sciences, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

“Chico Mendes, Amazonian leader—and our father and grandfather—started the cooperative revolution in Brazil over 30 years ago. In this book, Melissa Scanlan reveals the power of cooperatives, mirroring Chico’s dreams of transitioning to a low-carbon, socially inclusive economy.”—Angela Mendes, Head of Chico Mendes Committee, and Angelica Mendes, PhD in Ecology

“If we are going to transform our energy systems at the pace physics requires, nothing could be more important than replacing turbo-charged hyper-individualistic capitalism with some of the cooperative schemes explored in this revealing book."—Bill McKibben, author Deep Economy

“Melissa Scanlan's pioneering book begins with a powerful vision and then shows us how to achieve it, highlighting the cooperative and other alternative business forms as we navigate big transitions ahead.”—Gus Speth, co-editor of The New Systems Reader and author of Red Sky at Morning

“Combining a critique of current business law with her deep understanding of environmental law, Melissa Scanlan successfully argues that cooperative business structures can and should be looked to as a route for social entrepreneurs.”—Dana Brakman Reiser, Brooklyn Law School

“Epochal shifts can fail without a roadmap for how to achieve change. Melissa Scanlan’s important and excellently written book provides clear and valuable ideas and examples for business and government for this most urgent of global transitions.”—Seth M. Siegel, author of the New York Times bestseller Let There Be Water  

“Scanlan explores the core challenge of climate policy – achieving prosperity while rapidly decarbonizing – and demonstrates remarkable creativity and insight into viable responses.”—Michael P. Vandenbergh, author of Beyond Politics: The Private Governance Response to Climate Change

“Melissa Scanlan powerfully demonstrates that new principles are needed—and are eminently practical and possible—to move beyond the ecologically destructive and inequality generating economic structures of our challenged era.”—Gar Alperovitz, author What Then Must We Do? and CoFounder, The Democracy Collaborative 

“At a time when calls for a democratic, sustainable, and equitable economy grow ever louder, this book challenges corporations to shift away from maximizing profits for shareholders, and provides best practices and proposals to promote this change.”—Alexandre Peñalver i Cabré, University of Barcelona

ISBN: 9780300253993
Publication Date: September 28, 2021
400 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
6 b/w illus.