Environmental Social Enterprises Need a Voice
7 October 2009 at 4:51 pm
Environmental social enterprises must have a voice and become experts in food waste, re-use, composting and energy efficiency as part of the future climate challenge the SEWF World Forum in Melbourne has been told.
Pauline Hinchion from Scotland’s CRNS recycling social enterprise told the “Enterprise for the Planet” session that social enterprises need to take a stake in shaping the future of the planet and address it in a way that disadvantaged people can understand.
Hinchion argues that the language of climate change is largely for the middle class rather than for those people on low incomes and with social disadvantage who struggle to understand the topic or even know that the issues exist.
As well she says social enterprises must allow disadvantaged people into environmental action with green jobs, purchasing green products and addressing energy efficiency.
The session was chaired by former Victorian Deputy Premier, turned academic, Professor John Thwaites. He said we need to question if social enterprises can make a difference and whether they need to be scaled up to have a more significant impact.
He said environmental social enterprises have a different flavour to social enterprises that focus on employment.
However he said that through his work with the Brotherhood of St Lawrence he has seen some social enterprises that are committed to the environment as well as providing job incentives to those in need.
He pointed to a social enterprise that removes old fridges with the dangerous chemical gases (CFCs) and returns restored units to low income families. Another is a community owned wind farm in Hepburn in the central western Victoria.
Prof Thwaites said social enterprises must consider what is holding them back. Is it a lack of skills or a lack of incentive?
The Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF) is co-hosted by Social Ventures Australia (SVA) and Social Traders and aims to support the emerging Australian social enterprise movement, showcase successful enterprises and raise the profile of the sector in the region and around the world.
Pro Bono Australia is proud to be a partner of the Social Enterprise World Forum.