Beyond green niches, ian vickers, brass and tsrc april 2013Presentation Transcript
Beyond Green Niches? Growth modes ofEnvironmentally Motivated Social EnterprisesIan Vickers & Fergus LyonBrass & TSRC EventCardiff 16th April 2013Funded by:
Key questions1. What are the different approaches to growthadopted by environmentally motivated socialenterprises (ESEs) and the missions and valuesthat underpin them?2. What are the resources and entrepreneurialcapabilities needed to effectively implementsuch strategies?
Explaining enterprise/business growth• Growth - indicators such as turnover, profits, sales,employment, market share and physical output.• Business/entrepreneurial skills and human capital -sector specific knowledge, and managerial skills.• ‘Higher order’ (dynamic) capabilities – innovation andlearning (Teece et al, 1997; Foss, 1997)• Motivations – not always monetary (Gimeno et al, 1997).How converted into strategies for economic, social andenvironmental value?• Trust and legitimacy building amongst communities,networks/key actors (Bloom & Smith, 2010)
Sustainability – different visionsand meanings (1)• Ecological modernisation - progressive reform of existingeconomic, political and social institutions (Hajer, 1995;Murphy, 2000). Market mechanisms/technology toachieve a low carbon economy (e.g. BERR, 2009).• Government - ‘green stimulus’ for economic recovery,and ‘green-collar’ jobs (e.g. GNDG, 2008; Ottmar andStern, 2009).
Sustainability – different visions and meanings (2)• ‘Alternative’ / ‘Green social economy’ – communitarian, ‘bottom up’responses, origins in environmental politics/social movements (Pepper,1996; Smith, 2005).• Transitions Network – critical of limited government actions, emphasis oncommunity-led innovation and eco-localisation(http://www.transitionnetwork.org; Scott-Cato & Hillier, 2010).
Models and strategies for scaling upenterprises and impacts• Green niche markets - e.g. local producer/consumer co-operatives to harness collective purchasing power andeconomies of scale for sales (Seyfang & Smith, 2007; Littleet al, 2010)• Replication eg social franchising (Litalien, 2006; Traceyand Jarvis, 2007)• Alliances - consortia to tender for public sector contracts(e.g. waste recycling – Rowan et al. 2009)• Influencing mainstream organisations/practices (Seyfang& Smith, 2007).
Source of evidence• Research part of a Knowledge Transfer Partnership withSocial Enterprise East Midlands• Online survey and interviews - sampling frame of 600organisations in the English East Midlands• Survey between August-November 2010 (n=87).• Follow-up interviews with ESEs (early 2011) – 8 casesselected for further analysis.
Enterprise name Sector/activityEmployees/volunteers (2011)Change Agents UK Placement scheme for graduates -sustainability sector8 + 20 volunteersCorner Plot Food – organic smallholding 1 + 8 volunteersCommunity SupportedAgriculture MatlockFood - local/organic lamb + Food Hub Farmer & family+ 40 volunteersFuture Cycles(Leicester Ltd)Transport, recycling, training 7Hill Holt Wood Woodland management, education &services32Seagull Recycling Recycling, training + nature reserve man. 4ft 3pt20 volunteersT4 Sustainability Ltd Environmental consultancy, renewableenergy, education3 ft7 ptThink3e Recycling and training 40 ft360 pt/associatesCase study ESEs – activities and employment
What are the stages, forms andprocesses of ESE growth?NicheMoving beyond niche.....?High growth.....?
Enterprise Mission/objectivesCorner Plot Organic produce and box scheme , willows for basket making as well asincreasing wildlife habitat. Contribute to social inclusion through educationalvolunteering opportunities.Future Cycles(Leicester Ltd)Bike related maintenance training, cycle repairs, pedicab services and sales oftheir own range of ZombikesTM: donated bikes renovated and given a newlease of life; Training and confidence building for excluded youth, vulnerableadults.Matlock CSA& Food HubTo support traditional upland farming, environmental conservation andhealthy eating by supplying local organic meat;To create and develop a local Food Hub, and to re-engage people with theirlocal food system through newsletters, cookery events and farm visits.‘Niche’ ESEs
EnterpriseMission/objectivesMovingbeyondnicheChange AgentsUKGraduate placement agency to help green universities and colleges; Toproduce innovative projects that can be used as best practice, furtherdeveloped and rolled out on a wider basis.Hill Holt Wood To maintain ancient woodland for use by the public; Teach and developyoung people; Create products and services valuable to the community;Promote the cause of environmentalism and sustainability.T4 Sustainability To bring about positive env. change by: encouraging people to think aboutissues in a quantitative way; to set practical examples; to supportcommunity projects.SeagullRecyclingTo provide services and training to businesses, individuals and thecommunity and voluntary sector related to recycling/reuse activities;Manage a coastal Eco Centre.HighgrowthThink3eConsortium &GroupEmployment - innovative services to tackle worklessness; Education - arange of training and apprenticeships; Environment - a wide range ofrecycling and reuse options.‘Beyond Niche’ ESEs
Diversification and multiple work streams“...it’s a case of hitting the right kind of things [...] you wantto do something that’s a bit innovative and catches people’seye [...] The good thing about cycling is that it ticks a lot ofagendas. [...] because its recycling and re-use, it’s health, it’sjob creation and training and it’s sustainable transport.”Future Cycles
• A small (34 acre) self sustainingwoodland using traditional crafts• Managed as a habitat to beconserved, with the natural resourcesused to achieve employment,education and training goals• Diverse range of learners of all agesand abilities - reduces antisocialbehaviour and costs• Diversifying – eco-design/building
Attitudes to growth (1)“People often comment that the company is not growing fastenough, but we are growing in other ways that we feel areimportant - we are fans of prosperity without growth. [....] Abusiness can aspire to become the optimum size and remain so,which is a perfectly credible goal.”T4 Sustainability
Attitudes to growth (2)"So when we went into our very first customer, we werentgoing to the local corner shop; we were going to[supermarket chain]. Day one: meet the big corporatesand landing the business. There was an element ofpunching above our weight, in the fact that we had atarget 7,000 square foot, but it’s amazing what you coulddo with a good website. [....]. Within three months, we’dgrown out of that into a 20,000 square foot unit and thenby March/April last year [i.e. in 2010] we moved into thissite.”
Motivations of founders/core staffExpertise &enthusiasmsCriticalperspectivesLife coursedecisions –alternatives
Strategic relationships: public servicedelivery• 5 ESE cases with established/high trust relationships withLAs/ gov agencies• Providing services more cheaply than others, while alsoaddressing social needs for education and training ininnovative ways• Concerns about coalition government policy/austeritymeasures
Capabilities and relationship building - examples“We are working in town withother groups – the Matlockpartnership, town centrepartnerships, council, business,voluntary sector etc. [....] it’s notjust the Transition Group now, toincrease the scope andmainstream element of it. Getsome more traditional backing. Toencourage other people into themix, so it’s not just a green thing,trying to get away fromhippyism...”
Capabilities and learning“By the end of it we had over 40 graduates doing theseprojects over the country, so if ever anyone wanted someadaptation work doing we had a huge knowledge bank ofcase studies of what had worked, so we could simply plugit in and take the same project service to another locality.”
Capabilities - presentational• Different language/presentation needed when buildingrelationships, eg with the corporate sector:“[W]e try to portray ourselves as professional anorganisation as we possibly can be and it’s integral. [...]We’re in that phase where we’re stopping describingourselves as a social enterprise, even though we are, we’renow talking about us as a commercial company that cancompete head to head with commercial companies, andnot on a UK scale but on a European scale.”
Conclusions• ESEs make multiple contributions to economic, social andenvironmental value.• Need a range of skills/ competencies + dynamiccapabilities.• Values shape missions and growth modes and arethemselves subject to change/compromise.