Can I be a social entrepreneur and be green?
The fine line between being entrepreneurial for your own good or for the good of the planet…
Fighting for people and planet has become a business cliché. When anti-capitalist fervour reigned, you knew which side you were on. Now business poses as a confusing ally. Harvard Business School even has an MBA Oath – a version of the Hippocratic oath – MBAs can swear to "create sustainable economic, social and environmental prosperity worldwide". (Meanwhile the annual Greenwash awards given by a consortium of NGOs are a celebratory way to out the most audacious pretenders.)
Robert Ashton's How to be a Social Entrepreneur: Make Money and Change the World (Capstone, £14.99) distinguishes a social entrepreneur – "someone who works in an entrepreneurial manner, but for public or social benefit rather than simply to make money" (sse.org.uk) – from a social enterprise (business trading for social and environmental purposes, socialenterprise.org.uk). London hotel and conference centre the MIC Centre is a social enterprise – it's been awarded the first Social Enterprise Mark. The badge helps to clarify criteria. But remember, there are many ways to work the term "Not for Profit".
Social entrepreneurs often reinvest much of the profit they make back into the cause. This might sound elastic, but should absolutely be encouraged.
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