We believe in the need of deep participatory governance in the society at large and therefore practice it in Suderbyn. We currently apply methods of Sociocracy 3.0. All voices must be heard in case of clashing opinions, and win-win resolutions should be found whenever possible. We encourage community members willing to stay in Suderbyn for long periods to be involved in the governance of Suderbyn. The governance is based on a long-term perspective but pays attention to and cares about the current needs and capacities of the community. All decisions are taken on the basis of consensus, meaning that all participants consent to the proposal and do not have strong reasonable objections. There are various open community meetings that address issues that affect the daily lives of inhabitants. Issues with major legal and financial implications are taken up in the decision-making meetings of the relevant Suderbyn legal entity. Suderbyn consists of the cooperative Suderbyn People-Care, the foundation Suderbyn Earth-Care and the NGO RELEARN Suderbyn.
We actively distance ourselves from mass-consumption and seek out alternative, more ecologically benign ways to meet our real needs. We strive for a minimal ecological footprint, and therefore value simple life with conscious choices of goods which have less negative impact on nature and humans. We seek lifestyles which avoid pollution and littering of any kind.
We encourage sharing with each other and using second-hand goods to avoid purchasing too many or new things. Common household appliances, workshops, our transportation pool, our free-shop, our mini libraries,and our social areas also serve as infrastructure for sharing.
Food: We buy our food products in bulk from farmers or wholesalers. Our food is selected based on the following criteria: 1) organic 2) local 3) seasonal and 4) fair-trade – in that order.
The common meals in Suderbyn are vegan. We do not buy any non-vegan products communally, but moderate consumption of ecological non-vegan products can occur individually outside of the common meals. These products are stored separately from the common food. However, we do appreciate if personal consumption also follows our 4 criteria, as well as not adding too much non-recyclable waste in terms of packaging, etc..
Cosmetics and hygienic products: We use only biodegradable hygienic products to avoid chemical residues in our water system, as well as for supporting organic production and discouraging not-ecological industrial production.
Waste: We attempt to minimise waste and recycle everything that cannot be reused. All waste is separated into recyclable fractions. The "Burnable” (a.k.a. "rest") fraction of the waste should be used as little as possible. The consumption of single-use non-recyclable products such as throw-away nappies/diapers are discouraged.
Violence and Personal Development
Living in a community is more socially demanding than living alone or in a family and requires continuous personal development and emotional balance. Suderbyn does not allow any physical or verbal violence between residents and aims for a harmonious psycho-social environment. Conflicts are to be discussed openly using non-violent communication. Sharing circles allow inhabitants to express personal challenges and accomplishments in a supportive and safe environment and to release emotional tensions. All inhabitants are encouraged to find their own ways to pursue their personal development in order to be able to live closely and harmoniously with others.
Gender and Sexuality
Suderbyn strives for equality among the sexes so that no task, position or social role is reserved for one gender or assigned because of the gender. We continuously review discriminatory structures common in the broader society and try to break such cycles and create a better way to live equally.
Gender identity and sexual orientation are personal choices. We respect and welcome people of all genders and sexual orientations, and strive to create an accepting, inclusive and diverse society.
Sexual life and personal relationships are private and are not affected by living in the community.
Religion and Ideology
Suderbyn does not have one specific spiritual path. We accept people of different religious, political, ethical and cultural ideologies as long as persons do not impose their ideas on anyone else in an insistent way. It is up to the individual to decide which spiritual, political or ideological path to follow. However, Suderbyn does not accept violence-oriented ideology, whether religious or political. While Suderbyn has no affiliation to a political party, we actively encourage involvement in local democratic processes, political issues and civic movements.
Entrepreneurship is acceptable and encouraged, but only in forms of social entrepreneurship and green businesses which contribute to broader positive changes in society and in Suderbyn itself. This implies that businesses taking place in or connected to Suderbyn must promote the idea of more sustainable, ecological and inclusive society. Any entrepreneurial activities in Suderbyn should thus be in line with the general concept of Suderbyn Ecovillage. While Suderbyn does not focus on money-oriented values, it encourages people to adopt transformational green entrepreneurial thinking instead of “business as usual”.
Alcohol & Drugs
Simple, healthy and sufficient lifestyle that we strive to create at Suderbyn conflicts with excessive drinking, smoking or the consumption of drugs. Moderate consumption of alcohol and smoking are allowed within the frame described below. While Suderbyn is open to people with different challenges in life, we discourage substance abuse.
Alcohol: Misuse of alcohol and drunkenness are not acceptable behaviour at Suderbyn. Moderate use of softer alcohol, e.g. beer and wine, is a personal choice as long as it does not negatively impact the rights of others or the common social atmosphere. Hard alcohol should be avoided and should only be consumed in small amounts on special occasions.
Preservation of fruits and berries as wine or the brewing of beer is allowed as long as persons invest their own funds and time in the process and as long as the production does not provoke people to excessive drinking.
Recreational drugs: Suderbyn does not condone the use of any artificial chemical stimulants for recreation.
Tobacco: Suderbyn encourages healthy lifestyle and does not support smoking. Thus smoking is only allowed in a specially designated area outside, to diminish harm from second-hand smoking (passive smoking) to other inhabitants. Self-rolled tobacco cigarettes, preferably out of ecological tobacco, are favored rather than industrially produced cigarettes.
Pharmaceuticals: Suderbyn aspires to have no active medical residues (e.g. contraception pills, hormones, antibiotics) entering our garden soil and water supply. Inhabitants using such substances on long-term bases are asked to use a different toilet than the common compost toilet.
Suderbyn is skeptical of heavy use of over-the-counter or prescribed medicines, in part due to a belief that health can be maintained and restored through good food, sufficient physical activity and healthy recreation.
While Suderbyn appreciates time-tested traditional remedies, Suderbyn does not hinder people from using medical help from qualified conventional sources (hospitals, clinics, pharmacies) when needed. It is a personal choice of each person what methods to use.