Cletwr Event Report

Visit to Appennino Tosco Emiliano Biosphere Reserve (19-21 October 2017) Cletwr Event Report

Photo Credit: ASC

I attended a 2-day event which was organised jointly by the Appennino Tosco-Emiliano Biosphere and OASIIS (Opening Access to Sustainable Independent Income Streams). The latter is an online platform that is managed by ‘Assist Social Capital’, a Scotland based social enterprise. OASIIS is set up to collect information as evidence of the contribution of social enterprises and SDG businesses in contributing to the development of a sustainable economy in biosphere reserves across the world.

“Social enterprises and social entrepreneurs are keys to unlock the future and create sustainable change”

Cletwr has registered on OASIIS (thanks to work from Suzanne), so Cletwr is out there in that particular international dimension. We will probably need to up-date the information that we have given them as our business develops and our impact within Dyfi Biosphere Reserve grows.

I was invited to Italy to talk about Cletwr as an example of a successful social enterprise within a biosphere reserve. I presented at the main ‘talking’ event and then more informally at a workshop that was going on in a village called Succiso. The latter was attended by people from all over Italy and was about developing community enterprises.

This event was the first ever international biosphere event to only focus on economic and sustainable development rather than the natural environment. A central purpose of the whole workshop was to look at how social/community led enterprises had developed in the Appennino Tosco Emiliano and to discuss the issue of branding. There are problems about creating a biosphere brand because this would have to be regulated and monitored. Also UNESCO has issues with the use of their logo to promote business activities. I CARE APPENNINO is thought to be a good phrase to indicate that a product/activity has the biosphere values at its core but is not strictly a brand.

Photo Credit: Erk Concari

We heard about and visited a variety of types of communitarian enterprise. Some agri-co-operatives had been established for several decades. These drew agri-producers together to help in producing and marketing. We also heard about businesses that had resulted from people coming into the area or returning when they combined farming and another activity e.g. tourism/outdoor activities. One impressive project had resulted in the restoration of a nearly deserted mountain village so that it is now a holiday village but which also has a high class restaurant, a honey farm and chestnut products. The project most similar to Cletwr was the community project at Succiso. This village had been destroyed by an earthquake/landslide and had been given new life and restart when the community took over the existing bar. From that a shop, café, community meeting place and other activities had developed.

Local produce is very important in the Appennino area and in Italy generally. They have a ‘zero kilometre’ accreditation, which indicates the use of local food in restaurants.

Messages for Dyfi Biosphere and Cletwr

Photo Credit: Cletwr

  1. Make reference to being in the Dyfi Biosphere on all our literature. See the good example of the Dyfi Distillery leaflet
  2. Act as an information hub for the Dyfi Biosphere. Suggest that we give Biosphere more space in the Interpretation Hub; that we fly a Biosphere Flag; that we have events when we promote biosphere products.
  3. Continue to contribute to the Biosphere Food Cluster and OASIIS international network
  4. Continue to make contacts with similar businesses in other biosphere reserves.
  5. Host regular ‘Get to Know the Dyfi Biosphere’ action days when our customers can be introduced to the biosphere.
  6. Share the benefits of being on OASIIS to other enterprises in Dyfi Biosphere Reserve.


Thanks to Shelagh Hourahane for contributing this piece

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Event programme

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with financial support from the EU

UNESCO International Workshop 19th -20th October

UNESCO International Workshop - The Role of Social Enterprise for UNESCO Biosphere Reserve Development

19-20 October 2017
Verrucole Castle – San Romano in Garfagnana (LU)
Appennino Tosco Emiliano Biosphere Reserve, Italy

What does it mean to be a business or social enterprise within a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve? How do social enterprises contribute to sustainable development? How can we recognise and support them?

Assist Social Capital CIC, Punto 3 and Appennino Tosco Emiliano Biosphere Reserve are partnering in order to welcome over 50 national and international delegates to explore these questions and hear, first hand, the experiences of thriving, local and international social enterprises that work within UNESCO Biosphere Reserves.

This partnership emerged after a common agenda to unite the three elements of sustainable development; environmental, social, and the often ignored, economic. By using community assets and existing business models, which reinvest their profits into communities rather than benefitting only a few individuals.

About the hosting partners

Assist Social Capital CIC (ASC), a Scottish social enterprise and co-leader of the Social Enterprise and Biosphere Reserve (SEBR) Network, a global thematic network, has developed the OASIIS Platform which connects businesses, aligned with UNESCO Biosphere Reserves, with social investment, based on the Scottish approach.

Punto 3, a member of the SEBR Network, is a consultancy that carries out sustainable development projects. The organisation specialises in green procurement, sustainability analysis, territorial marketing, sustainable tourism, environmental communication, participatory planning, and sustainable events as well as acting as an advisor for Appennino-TE Biosphere Reserve.

The Appennino-TE Biosphere Reserve was granted UNESCO designation in 2015 and is located in northern-central Italy, covering the Tuscan-Emilian Appennine ridge. Forming a rural Biosphere Reserve with plenty of cultural and biological diversity, where agriculture and tourism constitute the major economic activities. Like many rural areas across Europe, the Appennino-TE Biosphere Reserve suffers from low employment levels, poor transport links and an aging population through out-migration of young people in pursuit of stable employment, services and a brighter future.

About the Event

Appennino-TE Biosphere Reserve is taking an unconventional but ever more important stand, by putting sustainable economic development through local community enterprise as a high priority. They aim to inspire residents of the Biosphere Reserve to pursue the economic advantages that UNESCO designation can bring to the area. Several inspirational community businesses, both from the Appennino-TE BR and from BRs in; Scotland, Wales and Sweden who are doing just that, will share their stories and the opportunities they have gained through the UNESCO BR designation and the OASIIS Platform.

These businesses are already transforming previously isolated towns into hubs of tourism, gastronomy, care for their aging populations and local specialist products. At the same time, they are delivering on the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals by safeguarding the environment and local cultures; providing training and employment opportunities to local people; and connecting internationally through the social enterprise network. The workshop will be introduced by Johanna MacTaggart, National Coordinator of Swedish MAB and Co-Leader of the SEBR Network, who will discuss UNESCO’s Man and Biosphere Programme and economic development.

“There has been an increasing focus on social entrepreneurship and social enterprises in biosphere reserves and the WNBR (World Network of Biosphere Reserves). Social entrepreneurship and social enterprises are driving mechanisms for change.” Johanna MacTaggart


During the event, we will be launching the ‘I Care Appennino’ brand in association with the innovative OASIIS Platform.  The brand and platform will unify businesses in order to realise the economic potential of the world-renowned UNESCO designation, held by over 600 sites globally. In addition to this, we will be exploring the results of a 21st-century method of wide-scale online participation. Open until 20th October, OASIIS-Insights has been collecting ideas, advice and knowledge on how communities, social enterprises and businesses can be supported in sustainable, inclusive economic development. The results from the platform will inform a policy discussion on the evening of the 19th October.

Delegates will be able to enjoy the rich gastronomic delights of the area, visit community businesses, participate in the opening of a community run school, contribute their advice to decision-makers, and register on the international OASIIS Platform. Delegates and discussions will cross-cut political levels, whilst integrating the often ignored, yet intrinsically connected, sustainable economic development, for Appennino BR, UNESCO sites and our collective future.

Take a read of the events programme here: UNESCO International Workshop - The Role of Social Enterprise

For further information please contact Tabi at or call on +44 (0) 750 4524 792


with financial support from the EU


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Event Programme

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OASIIS Insights