The current trend of corporate sustainability initiatives, while potentially ‘greening’ the operations of those companies, may not be the most effective method of advancing environmental sustainability across the US. While those sustainability programs can offer a feel-good effect for company communications efforts, they may not be doing much for the overall picture, except for reducing the company’s costs and operational footprint, or funding charitable endeavors.
That’s the stance from the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness (CRE), which argues that more efficient environmental enhancement programs can come about through the development of more social entrepreneurs in the US.
CRE believes that these social entrepreneurs, who use proven private sector techniques to solve environmental and social issues, ought to be funded and supported at the same levels that they are in many other countries, thereby bringing about lasting, measurable, positive change to problems facing the US.
According to Jim Tozzi, a member of the Board of Advisors at CRE,
“Environmental/social entrepreneurs are common outside the US; their existence in the US is limited to academic reviews.
I want to encourage our best minds to become social entrepreneurs and be satisfied with rewards outside of financial rewards mainly through personal recognition in the media and their peers.
I would like private sector firms to use some the funds they spend on Corporate Responsibility/Sustainability to develop social/environmental entrepreneurs.
The development of social entrepreneurs could add to the bottom line of the nation, its citizens and its corporations.” – Jim Tozzi
In a recent article in The Environmental Forum, Tozzi and Bruce Levinson (senior vice president of CRE), lay out several noteworthy contributions from environmental, policy, and social entrepreneurs in areas where “financial status is not a proxy for success.”
“Social, policy, and environmental entrepreneurs have enterprise and initiative, taking an improved planet as their main compensation. Entrepreneurs have succeeded because they have developed techniques that move the ball forward with no personal reward.”
Read the entire piece from Tozzi and Levinson, Accomplishment Beyond Dollars (PDF), for a review of the contributions of five policy, environmental, and social entrepreneurs.