EuroMAB 2011 – Sweden

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. A significant outcome of our attendance was  the opportunity to work with Lac St-Pierre Reserve in Quebec and the UNEP Sustainable Public Procurement Initiative on a plan to develop this topic further with the aim of holding a more specific workshop at EuroMAB 2013 in Canada. This, together with our work with partners in Sri Lanka on using social capital to deliver sustainable economic development led us to  apply to the Scottish Government’s International Social Enterprise Programme. Our application was successful and we are very grateful to the support of the Scottish Government, which has enabled us to make significant progress in the development of this initiative.

In 2012, we invited Stan Boychuck (Chair of CanadaMAB), Andy Bell (North Devon BR Coordinator), Johanna MacTaggart (Co-ordinator Vastra Gotaland BR, and SwedenMAB), Christian Hart (President, Lac-St-Pierre BR) and Nuria Alonso Leal (Manager of Ancares Leoneses BR) to form a partnership to help ASC produce a ‘Framework for Development of Social Enterprise in Biosphere Reserves’. The Framework Document  is based on our experience of what has contributed to the development of the success of social enterprise in Scotland, together with a series of case studies from our partners and others.


MINISTERIAL FOREWORD – Framework for Development of Social Enterprise in Biosphere ReservesdualSGstacked_Col_screen

Scotland is playing a leading role in developing the social enterprise model internationally.  In recognition of this in March 2012 Scotland’s First Minister, Alex Salmond MSP launched the International Social Enterprise Programme to support social enterprises based in Scotland with a genuine global reach.  This fund is supporting Assist Social Capital CIC (ASC) to develop a social enterprise approach in and around Biosphere Reserves in Europe, Canada and Asia.

UNESCO’s 621 Biosphere Reserves in 117 countries, provide our communities, our children and young people with an opportunity to actively safeguard our natural capital for the future. Social enterprises empower communities to engage with the challenges of our 21st Century such as climate change, health, food and water security. By linking with UNESCO’s Man and the Biosphere Programme, the Social Enterprise in Biosphere Reserves Development Framework will help strengthen environmental and economic progress. This will be achieved by supporting social enterprises in and around Biosphere Reserves to thrive, providing a platform to generate new socially and environmentally responsible employment.

I am therefore very pleased to support Assist Social Capital’s work to stimulate ambition in this matter and wish the project every success.”

by John Swinney, Cabinet Secretary for Enterprise and Sustainable Growth


Aim of the Social Enterprise & Biosphere Development Framework

The Development Framework aims to have a positive impact in and around Biosphere Reserves to maximise;

  • the value of social capital & social enterprise in BRs
  • opportunities and impact of sustainable public procurement
  • opportunities for social investment in BRs
  • opportunities for sustainable development in BRs


Social Capital

The fundamental elements of social capital as defined by the OECD are, “networks, together with shared norms, values and understandings which facilitate cooperation within or among groups”. Social capital has an impact on all areas of our life from cradle to grave. Social capital can therefore be found in many and varied situations in civil society, the public and private sectors, in educational or religious institutions, in short any sector of society. ASC works to improve wellbeing as a direct result of increased density and reach of social networks increasing civic participation, pathways to education, employment and enterprise and better understanding of the challenges and assets within communities.


Social Enterprise

Social enterprises are values based businesses that generate networks of positive relationships while delivering sustainable economic development. They have three fundamental characteristics; trade either goods or services as much as possible to generate income and reduce grant dependancy, contain an asset lock (all surpluses are reinvested) and operate to achieve social and/or environmental objectives.  They aspire to be self-sustaining and create employment opportunities through income generation.

Together with our project partners, ASC will be working to support Biosphere Reserves and their communities to become economically resilient in ways which enhance the natural environment.  Social enterprise provides a valuable vehicle to achieve this.

The approach could help Biosphere Reserves respond effectively to the Seville Strategy to reflect more fully the human dimensions of Biosphere Reserves and to bring together all interested groups and sectors in a partnership approach to biosphere reserves ensuring that information can flow freely among all concerned.

EuroMAB 2013

EuroMAB 2013 in Canada was the platform to launch the Framework for Social Enterprise Development.  The Framework has been developed with support from the Scottish Government as part of the International Social Enterprise Initiative. More…