Social Enterprise & Biosphere Development Framework

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”

(World Commission on Environment and Development, 1987, p 43). Brundtland Commission

Man and the Biosphere

UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Program (MAB) was launched in 1970, as a response to the Biosphere Conference in 1968, which met to consider what should be done about the increasing threats to the biosphere, the life on our planet Earth. An International Coordinating Council (ICC) was formed as a result that called for the establishment of reserves, to meet scientific, educational, cultural and recreational needs. This became MAB’s ‘Biosphere Reserve’ project. 

    MAB established protected areas representing the main ecosystems of the planet in which genetic resources could be protected and research and monitoring could be carried out. There are now 621 Biosphere Reserves in 117 countries and 5 regional MAB networks; EuroMAB, AfriMAB, IberoMAB, ArabMAB and Asia and Pacific (broken down into 4 sub-regional networks)

    • The need for Sustainable Development

      Sustainable development, one of the key pillars for Biosphere Reserves (BR), has been an overarching goal of the international community for decades now. However, we are in serious danger of transgressing a number of ecological limits. In 1972 the Club of Rome commissioned a report to look at the progress and likely consequences of human development scenarios from 1900-2100. Authored by Donella Meadows, Jorgen Randers and Dennis Meadows, ‘Limits to Growth’ depicted 12 possible scenarios for our future prospects. As a result of their work, the authors concluded that:

      1. If the present growth trends in world population, industrialisation, pollution, food production, and resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth on this planet will be reached sometime within the next one hundred years. The most probable result will be a rather sudden and uncontrollable decline in both population and industrial capacity.
      2. It is possible to alter these growth trends and to establish a condition of ecological and economic stability that is sustainable far into the future. The state of global equilibrium could be designed so that the basic material needs of each person on earth are satisfied and each person has an equal opportunity to realize his individual human potential.


      EuroMAB 2011 – Sweden

      In July 2011, Assist Social Capital attended ‘Sharing Sustainable Futures’, EuroMAB 2011 in Sweden. Colin Campbell, Executive Director of ASC gave 3 workshops at the event on Social Enterprise & Social Capital, Social Entrepreneurship and Sustainable Public Procurement. More….