The Economy of Communion (EOC) project is an initiative of the international ecclesial and ecumenical Focolare Movement, and is a concrete attempt to address acute social problems by creating businesses that are integral parts of their communities.
The project requires member businesses to commit, after an appropriate investment in the sustainability of the business, a part of their profits to direct aid for those in need and another part toward nurturing a “culture of giving”(http://www.edc-online.org). The EOC presents examples of companies that are both successful global competitors as well as clear and intentional manifestations of “lived” faith in the business world. It was started by Chiara Lubich in May 1991, in São Paulo, Brazil, with the aim of building a human society where, following the example of the first Christian community in Jerusalem, “no one among them was in need”.1
The Economy of Communion is able to help those in need through their profits, as well as by how they treat their employees, clients, and the general public. Although the initiative started as a religious movement, in the core of the Focolare Movement, it is evolving into a humanitarian movement irrespective of religious allegiance.
It was established in 1991.2 The Economy of Communion businesses began with the active participation of those in need — hundreds put their resources together, often selling chickens or other livestock to purchase “shares” for the initial capital.2 Over 750 companies all over the world continue to work together to keep the Economy of Communion going to fulfill the needs of those around them.3
Examples of Economy of Communion businesses in the United States:
- Finish Line Tutoring
- Mundell & Associates
Since 1994, business centers called “productive” or “industrial” poles were established as a showcase of EoC business in a country, with six already inaugurated, and three in development. In Italy one called Polo Lionello Bonfanti, on the Tuscany region, hosts some EoC businesses of the many others in that country:
– The 21 businesses in Polo Lionello Bonfanti
In Brazil, where the Economy of Communion was born:
- Polo Spartaco, located in Cotia, São Paulo.
- Polo Ginetta, located in Igarassú, Pernambuco.
Definition of Economy of Communion (EoC) – Official EoC website
What is the Economy of Communion in Freedom? – Living City Magazine
Resources on Economic Justice – Fordham University
Economy of Communion Official homepage