Social entrepreneurs are the “Formula 1” to advance in sustainability

Yesterday I was looking at the latest survey from the UK Company Sustainability about challenges and opportunities in the sustainability field today.

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David de San Benito / @davidsanben

Four conclusions that are mentioned in the research:

  • The majority of the experts think that social entrepreneurs are the “Formula 1” to advance the sustainability agenda, above NGOs. Trust on the Government is free falling rapidly.
  • The Company Unilever is perceived as a leader on sustainability, thanks to the good impact of its sustainability campaign “Sustainable Living Plan
  • At regional level, experts perceive sustainability leadership differently, and they are keen on naming leaders of their regions.
  • Integration of sustainability into the core of the business is seen as the most important driver for sustainability leadership.

Particularly, I am fond of the first bullet point about the leadership of social entrepreneurs. Indeed, they continue to grab “market share” from NGOs quarter by quarter, while NGOs continue in free fall according to the statistics. But this fact is also confirmed by other research. Recently, I had the opportunity to read a very compelling research about the relevance of non for profits groups on Twitter. From the twenty twitter accounts with more followers, 12 of them correspond to social entrepreneurs or at least accounts supportive of this movement.

But what are the reasons for this change of opinion? Are new ways of philanthropy emerging? I certainly think so. In my opinion, there are two facts that explain this change of tendency: Firstly, it is that social entrepreneurs add fresh air into the social ecosystem, with radically innovative approaches applied for social good; secondly, it is that in most of the cases, their voluntarily of being economic sustainable force them to be more efficient, innovative and customer oriented. In the social aspect, there is also room for for-profits companies.

Antoni Ballabriga from BBVA explains it in one of his post clearly: Why Acumen Fund has reached to the conclusion that is smarter to lend 100 $ to an entrepreneur in order to set up a mosquito netting business instead of donating 100 $?

Because Acumen Fund knows that more lives can be saved through entrepreneurship than with philanthropy. Everything is about tacking social problems with sustainable business models.


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