Fresh approach needed towards regulation and support of ‘green’ social enterprises in the emerging new economy

By Professor Bronwen Morgan, UNSW

For small and medium-sized organisations and initiatives that respond to climate change with socially oriented business models, formal government policies and laws do not necessarily provide the most effective support for their way of working. ‘Green’ social enterprises often develop bottom-up perspectives that do not fit well with the frameworks of existing regulation, or the expectations of existing professional advice and support. In the comparative study Between Social Movement and Social Enterprise, researchers from the Universities of Bristol, UK and New South Wales (UNSW), Australia have examined local, community-based initiatives around Bristol, Sydney and Melbourne in order to understand better how formal laws can block or facilitate the operations of social initiatives. Organisations studied ranged from social enterprises to social movements working in food, energy, transport, waste and recycling, and shared workspaces. Learnings are of relevance to both policymakers and citizens, providing as they do a clearer picture of the effects of legal support structures and regulatory frameworks on social initiatives working to achieve goals of sustainability and future resilience.

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