How can social entrepreneurs address the climate crisis?
Climate Crisis is the biggest disruption we face today and the pandemic has only made it worse. As we look for urgent solutions to the most pressing problems of our times, can social entrepreneurship step up to the challenge?
One of the most notable phrases I’ve heard during quarantine was how the earth was supposedly healing because more people were staying home. The skies are clearer and animals are able to thrive and grow in numbers because there was less human intervention.
But I think we tend to miss out on the fact that the earth will not heal if the people who inhabit it are dying. The earth is not healing now because we are in the middle of a global pandemic that has taken thousands of lives and disrupted the global economy. Waste is more abundant than ever, with billions of plastic and disposable items ending up in landfills and bodies of water as a result of the pandemic. Environmental policy implementation has been lax because policymakers do not seem to understand that our health relies on how our environment is treated.
We are not separate from nature, and when we really understand how we can live in harmony with it, then we can start to heal together. Social entrepreneurship is a step towards that direction. Social entrepreneurs dedicate time, knowledge, and resources in an effort to bridge the gap between people and nature.
Social entrepreneurship involves addressing real challenges, prioritizing impact, and working with likeminded people. The people behind these enterprises envision change and want to be part of the solution. Their dedication is not just in understanding the problem better but also in finding innovative ways to make their desired impact.
Collaborations with NGOs, conservation groups, and even policy makers help bring more awareness to the most pressing environmental issues. Their work helps people become more conscious of the products they buy, opting for brands that are proven to be socially responsible. Oftentimes, people do care about making an impact but do not always know where to start. Supporting social enterprises can be a starting point for them, showing them that their actions can make a difference.
There has also been a rise in social enterprises that are working directly with communities to make products and services more tailored to their needs. This proves that it is possible to balance people, planet, and profit. More people are warming up to the idea of sustainability, climate-conscious products, and why they are very much needed today.
For the longest time, business was just associated with profit and material wealth. But social enterprises continue to challenge this and prove that entrepreneurship can be for the benefit of society and the environment. When they scale, it does not always mean only growing the business or organization itself. They often choose to scale their impact, coming up with strategies that can help society and/or the environment the most.
One of the best ways to help the environment is to make business more sustainable. Business practices can either speed up or slow down our progress when it comes to addressing the world’s most urgent environmental problems. Social entrepreneurship is already changing how we do business, so let’s continue to make the voices of these entrepreneurs heard and help heal both our people and our planet.
About the Author: Abigail Ng (Abby) is a Program Associate at Villgro Philippines. She assists in end-to-end program management, supports impact enterprises, and organizes thought leadership events and activities to bring the impact ecosystem together. Abby is also the Vice President of Externals under Project Pulo, a component under TAYO, a local change agency which aims to develop sustainable practices in the Philippines through design, education, and community development. She is the former Bye Bye Plastic Bags Global Coordinator and previous Externals Head for Bye Bye Plastic Bags Philippines. Abby graduated from Ateneo de Manila University in 2020.