Community Wealth Building

Community Wealth Building aims to ensure the economic system builds wealth and prosperity for everyone.



Community wealth building (CWB) is a place-based approach to local economic development, which redirects wealth back into the local economy, and places control and benefits into the hands of local people.

The Scottish Government has adopted the internationally recognised Community Wealth Building (CWB) approach to economic development as a key practical means by which we can achieve our wellbeing economy objectives outline in the National Strategy for Economic Transformation (NSET).



Developed initially by the Democracy Collaboration in the United States and championed in the UK by Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES), CWB aims to ensure the economic system builds wealth and prosperity for everyone.

CWB acts as a strategic framework for activity across five interlinked pillars:

  • Spending: maximising community benefits through procurement and commissioning, developing good enterprises, fair work and shorter supply chains.

  • Workforce: increasing fair work and developing local labour markets that support the wellbeing of communities.

  • Land and Property: growing social, ecological, financial and economic value that local communities gain from land and property assets.

  • Inclusive Ownership: developing more local and social enterprises which generate community wealth, including social enterprises, employee-owned firms and cooperatives.

  • Finance: ensuring that flows of investment and financial institutions work for local people, communities and businesses.

CWB is designed to harness the economic leverage of local ‘anchor’ organisations (such as local councils, health, universities, colleges, housing associations, and the private sector to tackle longstanding systematic challenges and structural inequalities within our communities.

It seeks to transform our local and regional economic systems to enable more local communities and people to own, have a stake in, access, and benefit from the wealth our economy generates.

Community Wealth Building can deliver more and better jobs, business growth, community owned assets and shorter supply chains creating greater resilience and supporting net zero ambitions.

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