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Survival strategies of eco-social enterprises

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Year of publication 2014
Type Appeared in Conference without Proceedings
Description Abstract submitted for consideration for the Conference of the International Society for Ecological Economics in Iceland, August 2014. Session: Economic localisation and alternative economic practices Title of abstract: Survival strategies of eco-social enterprises The aim of this paper will be a discussion of the survival stategies of eco-social enterprises in conditions of economic globalisation. While mainstream enterprises such as share companies focus on profit and growth, eco-social enterprises have a different operation strategy: they opt for a tripple-bottom line and often remain small by choice (1,2). This gives them an obvious disadvantage in a competetitive market. How then do they survive and -in -many cases - thrive? This paper will suggest some answers to this question based on field research in the United Kingdom and the Czech Republic. Respondents from seventy-one social enterprises (including many with a green remit) in both countries were interviewed in 2002 - 2003 and questioned on their operation, structure, goals and financial and other survival strategies. The strategies were then grouped into fifteen categories including: direct selling and adding value, marketing and buying groups, share-issue, internal cross-subsidies, voluntary work/sweat equity, subsidised rent and ethical landlords, etc (2). These categories will b e conceptualised in terms of non-market capitals as presented in Johanisova et al. (3) and their implications for policies in support of economic localisation will be discussed. (1) Vickers, I., Lyon, F. (2013): Beyond Green Niches? Growth Strategies of Environmentally-motivated Social Enterprises, in: Third Sector Research Centre: Seminar Two :Social Enterprise and Environmental Sustainability, 16 April 2013, ESC TSCR Seminar Research Series, TSCR, Birmingham, U.K., pp.10-13. (2) Johanisova, N. (2005): Living in the Cracks: A Look at Rural Social Enerprises in Britain and the Czech Republic. Feasta, NEF, Dublin, also available at: 1 July 2014). (3) Johanisova, N., Crabtree T., Fraňková E. (2013): Social Enterprises and Non-Market Capitals: a Path to Degrowth? Journal of Cleaner Production, Vol. 38, No. 1, pp. 7-16
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