Among the maelstrom of political events unfolding at the moment one thing has been prominent in my thoughts of late…. The ever-concerning warming of the planet and the implications this will have, not just for our natural environment but for those who can least afford to deal with the consequences and the volatility in years to come. Scotland’s response so far has been commendable, not least on renewables, but with a net zero carbon emission target announced for 2045. Be in no doubt the tough stuff lies ahead – there needs to be a step change in how we live, work and do our business if future generations are to thrive.
Glasgow and Scotland will be thrust into the spotlight a year from now in the hosting of the United Nations Climate Summit or its shorthand, COP26. It is not an exaggeration to say this could be a pivotal moment for the planet. The eyes of the world, especially young eyes will be on us.
Addressing the climate emergency we face is not doom and gloom. The cartoon has long been a favourite of mine and says it all.
Social enterprise and indeed small business have a fantastic opportunity to be led from the front in the step-change required. There are already 179 [source: Social Enterprise in Scotland Census 2019] social enterprises in the environment and recycling sphere, but the response to the climate emergency, goes way beyond being an environmental concern. Social enterprise as a driver of social impact is at the heart of it – a model of doing business that is concerned about what a community is like to live in. A model that rejects greed and needless consumption. A model that puts people first, that connects people.
There is also a clear connection with the powerful role that social enterprise can play on well-being. This is gathering impressive pace to sit alongside – perhaps one day to eclipse – other measures of our progress as a society such as Gross Domestic Product (or GDP) which is ostensibly about more consumption. On 12 November, Professor Michael Roy, Glasgow Caledonian University, will give an inaugural lecture on “Building a Well-being economy for Scotland? – some lessons and inspiration from social enterprise’. This will gather pace.”
At CEIS we are generating a number of creative new ideas as to how we rise to the climate challenge as a company. We want to lead. It is not only the right thing to do; adapting and adjusting to future regulation, to funding criteria and to the needs of a much more discerning customer base is good for business.