Climate Change and the Environment

SOSE 2021 Environmental Stats

With a Government target to achieve carbon net zero by 2050 and growing acceptance of the climate emergency, the impacts of climate change are a – if not the – major issue of recent times.

Social enterprises are businesses with social and environmental missions. Most are social focused, some are predominantly environment-focused. Growing numbers are recognising and addressing the need to pursue both social and environmental objectives.

At SEUK we track our own environmental impact and are building a programme of work to support businesses seeking to start and expand their positive climate impact. We work with environment-mission members to highlight impacts and promote best practice. And we have begun collecting evidence to support our members to adapt to net zero and capitalise from opportunities in the growing green economy.

Buy Green, Buy Social – Procurement guide to environmentally-friendly social enterprise products and services

One in seven social enterprises delivers environmentally-friendly products and services that have a positive social impact too. This guide showcases the range of green products and services available from social enterprises. You can search it to find advice, suppliers, products, services and more! This guide has been supported by the Co-op as part of our series of content for COP-26.

Quick wins and best practice: climate change and social enterprise

On 22 July 2020 we held an interactive online event which brought together social enterprises , corporates and sustainability experts to support social enterprises become more environmentally sustainable and play a bigger role in taking on the climate emergency. You can view the contributions of from our lead speakers in this recording

COP 26

This Autumn world leaders are meeting in Glasgow for COP26 – The UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties – which will run from 31 October to 12 November. With time running out to take meaningful action to deal with climate change, commitments made at COP26 will have lasting global implications.

What is certain is that in order to prevent catastrophic levels of global warming, the way we do business has to change. We know that social enterprises are ahead of the pack when it comes to taking steps to address the climate emergency and that there is a widespread appetite within the sector to improve environmental impact.

In the run up to COP26 we are putting together 26 pieces of content from case studies and opinion pieces to videos and interviews to showcase the amazing work of social enterprises in addressing the climate emergency and demonstrating how to make climate justice a business reality. Here’s our CEO with more information:

We are proud that Co-op are supporting us on our climate work. Find out more about their own commitments to tackling the climate crisis, including their Ten Point Climate Plan here.

Success or COP-out? Join us to discuss the outcomes of COP26 at Social Enterprise Futures

At Social Enterprise UK we believe that to meet the challenge of getting to below 1.5 degrees of warming we need to change how we do business. This is one of the key themes explored at this year's Social Enterprise Futures Conference. Find out more and join the discussion!Read more

Climate 101: Deforestation explained

Treepoints is a social enterprise set up to help individuals & businesses reduce their carbon emissions. In this piece find out how important trees are in soaking up carbon & the links between deforestation & the climate emergency.Read more

30 Years of transforming the coffee industry – An interview with John Steel, CEO at Cafédirect

We were joined by John Steel, CEO of Cafédirect who told us more about their work transforming the coffee industry to put people and planet first. Listen to what he had to say in this interview.Read more

The Co-op's Ten-Point Climate Plan

Find out more about The Co-op’s recent response to the climate emergency; their Ten-Point Climate Plan which will enable them to achieve net zero carbon emission by 2040 – ten years ahead of the government’s own ambition.Read more

APPG for Social Enterprise: COP26 – what is the role of social enterprise in developing the most effective policies for a climate-smart future?

The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Social Enterprise came together to consider what the role of social enterprise is in developing the most effective policies for a climate-smart future. Watch the recording and hear from some inspiring social enterprises on what politicians and other businesses can learn from our sector.Read more

Climate opportunity? Social enterprise action in the run-up to COP26

New SEUK research shows that social enterprises are taking more action than other forms of business in tackling climate change – but is that enough? This piece looks at the data around social enterprises and the environment and also at what the sector expects from COP26.Read more

Supporting coffee famers adapt to the changing climate.

Find out how social enterprise Cafédirect is not only taking on the injustices found in the coffee industry but also supporting farmers adapt to the challenges brought about by the climate emergencyRead more

Climate Justice is Racial Justice

With the majority of global warming impacting those in the Global South, can we really separate the ‘social’ from the ‘environmental’ and truly be a social enterprise if we don’t consider the link between the two and act accordingly? Here's David Lammy MP on why climate justice IS racial justice.Read more

Community Wood Recycling -scaling environmental impact

Community Wood Recycling is a network of social enterprises collecting and reusing waste wood whilst also creating jobs and training opportunities for people marginalised in the labour market. Find out more about their business model in this piece.Read more

Getting started with green packaging and production

Khushi Kantha is a start-up social enterprise working with women in Bangladesh to manufacture ethically sourced multi-purpose baby blankets. In this blog founder Laura Rana shares her experience of how they look to ensure their products and supply chains are as sustainable as possible.Read more

Elvis & Kresse - Creating a Circular Economy

Find out how Elvis & Kresse are challenging our throw-away economic model through creating a circular economy in this short video.Read more

Doing the Doughnut – how to transform the economy to put people and planet first

Hear from renowned economist Kate Raworth on how we need a radically new way of looking at the economy moving from a system based on endless expansion to one based on thriving in balance. The solution - a doughnut...Read more

Transforming public transport for people and planet - The Big Lemon

Find out more about The Big Lemon a community-owned bus company putting sustainability at the heart of how it operates. It shows the difference a transport company run by and for the community can make and how a desire to protect the planet can be embedded into our public transport system.Read more

Taking on fast fashion – social enterprises transforming the fashion industry through fair wages and sustainable practices

There’s probably no other better example of how social and environmental harm link together than the fashion business which is estimated to be the world's most second most polluting industry. Find out how social enterprises are taking on fast fashion showing us that another way of doing business is possible.Read more

Nine ways to reduce plastic in your workplace

Want to cut down on plastic waste in your office but not sure where to start? Social enterprise Less Plastic CIC have put together a handy graphic to show nine simple ways you can reduce plastic use in the workplace.Read more

Riding our way to a green jobs revolution

Find out more about the Big Issue's new #BikingForGood initiative - a brilliant new eBike rental service which will create 10-12 Living Wage jobs for every 500 eBikes on the roads. A great example of a social enterprise creating both a positive social and environmental impact!Read more

Social enterprises educating children about the climate emergency

With young people set to grow up in a world defined by climate chaos, social enterprises are working to engage school children with the climate emergency supporting them take action to build a more sustainable world.Read more

Introducing Encore Environment

Encore Environment is a social enterprise specialising in waste management which is challenging traditional waste practices through innovation and intelligent ways of working. We asked their managing director, Rachel Rowley to tell us more about their work.Read more

Spotlight on… Ocean Bottle

55 million litres of unwanted paint is generated in the UK year on year with the vast majority going to landfill or incineration. Paint360 is a social enterprise set up to do something about this.Read more

6 new members delivering positive social and environmental change

Each month at Socia Enterprise Uk, we welcome new members, many of whom are young social enterprises just getting going with exciting ideas for delivering positive social and environmental change. Read on to find out more about six of our new members who are addressing environmental issues as part of their core mission.Read more

Spotlight on… Paint360

55 million litres of unwanted paint is generated in the UK year on year with the vast majority going to landfill or incineration. Paint360 is a social enterprise set up to do something about this.Read more

Replicating recycling

There are thousands of social and green enterprises leading the way in tackling the climate emergency. In this piece, Dan Gregory looks at how social enterprises are uniquely positioned to protect our planet and challenges the myths around scaling that are often levelled at the sector through looking at how green social enterprises are open sourcing ideas, recycling and sharing knowledge and replicating. Why have one big thing when you can have thousands of small things?Read more

How to put people and communities at the heart of the energy system

Find out how Low Carbon Hub is helping create a decentralised, locally owned renewable energy infrastructure for Oxfordshire, taking on the big energy companies and putting power in the hands of local people in this social enterprise story.Read more

Toast Ale

Food production is the biggest impact that humans have on the planet from deforestation and greenhouse gases to soil erosion and water pollution yet 1/3 of all food is wasted & millions of us don't have enough to eat. Toast Ale is a social enterprise set up to address our broken food systemRead more

Achieving net zero – carbon reduction through community energy, building efficiency and community engagement

Our Director of Research Emily Darko spoke to Grant Peisley, Director of Datblygiadau Egni Gwledig (DEG) about carbon reduction, community energy, building efficiency and community engagement to achieve net zero.Read more