Climate Emergency

Scientists and politicians around the world are now in no doubt that we are facing a climate emergency which could have a major impact on people and communities globally. While the international response is still often conditioned by politics and big business many communities and small organisations at local and regional levels are already taking action.

As we progress towards COP26 being held in Scotland in November 2021 we’ll showcase some of those who have already taken action and share how others can contribute or get involved.

Message from the board of ESE to all members

As Cop26 approaches our sector has to get ready to make sure our voice is heard throughout the climate policy conversation.

Social Enterprises should be leading the change! As other businesses wrestle to change their business models to avert the climate emergency and increase their social impact, Social Enterprise lives by the principles of the well-being economy every day!

We need to have a strong presence at COP26 to show them how it’s done. As members of the Edinburgh Social Enterprise Network (ESE) we offer business models that care for People, Planet, Place and Pounds.

Social Enterprise World forum 2021 – Message to COP26

The global changes needed to combat the Climate Emergency are huge. While most social enterprises are small, the philosophical foundation from which we operate is profound enough to help immediately. Social enterprise is a climate-friendly new way of doing business, and as the visionary Paul Hawken said in his book The Ecology of Commerce, “we don’t need to save the Earth, we need to save business because it is killing the Earth.”

We want you to start thinking about the challenges: how can we get access to the procurement supply chain, how can partnership and collaboration flourish between all the sectors and most importantly how can we showcase our social enterprises during COP26.

The policy interventions that the Social Enterprise World Forum recommends to COP26 will create a more inclusive impact economy that addresses not only the environmental crisis, but also many other social problems such as inequality and social exclusion. The following areas for policy change include:

Social Procurement: vast sums of government, corporate and philanthropic money are spent each year for goods and services which could be “spent better”.  In this case, better means buying from mission-driven companies that exist to improve the world first, and make a profit second.  SEWF recommends immediately establishing timelines and procurement goals for purchasing goods and services from social enterprises that are working to cool the planet.

Social Enterprise Contracting: there are three big social infrastructure systems that are at the roots of the Climate Emergency:  Energy, Waste and Mobility. Many of these systems are owned or controlled by the public sector and operate under contract. SEWF recommends that the traditional guiding principles and requirements of those contracts, which are that the public services must be “safe, reliable and affordable”, be expanded to include a fourth requirement – that the service is also provided in a “climate cooling” way.

Local Climate Resiliency: social enterprise is a decentralised approach to production and consumption of goods and services which utilizes local resources and knowledge. Each community and nation have unique opportunities for fighting the Climate Emergency which should be supported. SEWF recommends that a climate fund be established to support local organisations to convene civil society leaders to formulate collaborative climate action plans to enhance local resiliency for adaptation and contribute to mitigation.

This draft strategy lays out how the City of Edinburgh Council will enable, support and deliver action to meet our net zero ambition by working with leading strategic partners in Edinburgh and highlights actions citizens, communities and the wider business community could take to help drive down emissions.

Third Sector Net Zero Strategy

September 2021 saw the formal launch of the Third Sector Net Zero Strategy as part of the CEIS’ SE Policy and Practice Conference. At the end of 2020, SENScot convened a Steering Group that included SCVO, CEIS, SCA, CRNS, Scottish Communities Finance, SES, DTA Scotland and Firstport. The Group consulted with their respective membership to help shape a draft Strategy that sets out 4 key ‘actions’ that would enable social enterprises in Scotland to play a leading role in delivering Scotland’s Net Zero transition by 2045. In shaping the Strategy, it became apparent that there was a lock of baseline data to demonstrate the sector’s existing impact – nor an awareness of the support measures required by the sector to meet the proposed targets. In response, SENScot and SCVO carried out a survey of members – with over 500 organisations participating – and have produced this Report with results and analysis.

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