While the term social enterprise is attracting regional and national attention in the media, many people are unsure of what the term means and are unaware of the great work that is being done by local social enterprises.
Thursday 18th November marks National Social Enterprise Day and three Cornish social enterprises with environmental aims are hoping the day will raise the profile of the range of local projects that are successfully delivering social, environmental and financial returns.
For more than 10 years the Camborne based sustainable energy charity Community Energy Plus, have worked on projects throughout Cornwall to provide advice and support for renewable energy projects to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. Working with Cornwall Council and a major energy supplier, Community Energy Plus helps householders in Cornwall to access discounted or free loft and cavity wall insulation and has so far helped over 22,000 households in Cornwall to make their homes warmer and save a total of over £2.4m per year on their energy bills.
Community Energy Plus’s Managing Director Ian Smith said: “The government’s plans for a Big Society emphasise the role that social enterprises can play in making our society stronger but here in Cornwall there are a number of well-established social enterprises that already have a strong track record in turning ethical principles into practical action. I hope that National Social Enterprise Day will help to promote greater understanding of social enterprises in Cornwall and the benefits our businesses offer to people and the planet”.
Based in Bodmin, but operating across the county, ReZolve run a number of social and environmental projects which benefit local community, business and the environment. This year they have been particularly pleased to announce that the organisation has achieved a carbon negative status following a Business Link Carbon Footprint Report. The report demonstrated that the 1,516 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions averted by the organisation during the period 2006-2009 may also wholly offset the personal footprint of most, if not all of ReZolve’s employees on an annual basis.
Jon Rolls Chief Executive of ReZolve said: “It is fantastic to see social enterprises in Cornwall and across the UK setting the standards for business. Our inclusivity, strong links with communities, environmental values and innovation demonstrate that social enterprise represents a viable business model for the future.”
CoaST – The Cornwall Sustainable Tourism Project – is another local Social Enterprise Mark holder that is making an important contribution towards Cornwall’s move towards a low carbon economy. CoaST is the biggest sustainable tourism network run by a Social Enterprise in the UK. The organisation runs a wide range of programmes covering visitor engagement, behaviour change, marine leisure, ambassador businesses and the One Planet Tourism Network which has 1150 members across 17 countries.
Director, Manda Brookman runs a tiny but tenacious team who believe firmly that everyone can bring about change towards a more resilient and ethical future. Its multiple award winning Ambassador businesses and One Planet Tourism Network attract international attention, and with the work of social enterprise partners, epitomise social enterprise in action.
Manda Brookman commented: “Social entrepreneurship is about making change happen and we three social enterprises are evidence of the power of collaboration and collective clout. With so much more to do, join in – it’s up to all of us!”