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