Policy | SEWF Events

SEWF Message to COP26

by Maeve Curtin / April 2021

On 27 April, as part of the Policy Forum, SEWF hosted a panel and breakout session titled ‘What’s the SEWF Policy Forum message to COP26?’ The panel and breakout were some of the many programme sessions that explored social enterprise as a tool to address some of our world’s most pressing policy challenges like the Climate Emergency.

The panellists, contributors, participants and SEWF recognise the urgency of the Climate Emergency. To respond we are releasing a statement influenced by contributions during these Policy Forum sessions on what the social enterprise movement can contribute to policy conversations on climate.


SEWF Message to COP26

The global changes needed to combat the Climate Emergency are huge. While most social enterprises are small, the philosophical foundation from which we operate is profound enough to help immediately. Social enterprise is a climate-friendly new way of doing business, and as the visionary Paul Hawken said in his book The Ecology of Commerce, “we don’t need to save the Earth, we need to save business because it is killing the Earth.”

The policy interventions that the Social Enterprise World Forum recommends to COP26 will create a more inclusive impact economy that addresses not only the environmental crisis, but also many other social problems such as inequality and social exclusion. The following areas for policy change include:

Social Procurement: vast sums of government, corporate and philanthropic money are spent each year for goods and services which could be “spent better”.  In this case, better means buying from mission-driven companies that exist to improve the world first, and make a profit second.  SEWF recommends immediately establishing timelines and procurement goals for purchasing goods and services from social enterprises that are working to cool the planet.

Social Enterprise Contracting: there are three big social infrastructure systems that are at the roots of the Climate Emergency:  Energy, Waste and Mobility. Many of these systems are owned or controlled by the public sector and operate under contract. SEWF recommends that the traditional guiding principles and requirements of those contracts, which are that the public services must be “safe, reliable and affordable”, be expanded to include a fourth requirement – that the service is also provided in a “climate cooling” way.

Local Climate Resiliency: social enterprise is a decentralised approach to production and consumption of goods and services which utilizes local resources and knowledge. Each community and nation have unique opportunities for fighting the Climate Emergency which should be supported. SEWF recommends that a climate fund be established to support local organisations to convene civil society leaders to formulate collaborative climate action plans to enhance local resiliency for adaptation and contribute to mitigation.



SEWF extends thanks to Freddie Huppé Campbell, Huda Jaffer, Eric Lombardi and Rashvin Pal Singh for their leadership in developing this statement and for their contributions leading our panel and discussion ‘What’s the SEWF Policy Forum message to COP26?’ during the SEWF Policy Forum. 

Download a copy of this statement in English and in French.

Maeve is SEWF's Policy & Research Manager