Eric Lombardi discusses the emerging role of “pure” social enterprises in helping to protect our common social and environmental goods from the ravages of the market economy “Tiger” of unfettered capitalism. Acknowledging that Capitalism is a “very powerful economic system,” Eric advocates that we need a “kinder and gentler” version for the good of humanity, the sustainability of civilization, and the stewardship of ecosystems on planet Earth. “Our house is on fire!” he exclaims, urging that “Our level of concern needs to be appropriate to the level of threat,” and that we must “Stop monetizing the commons!”
Eric describes the three concentric circles of companies and organizations working for positive impact in the environmental and social arenas: “pure” social enterprises are at the epicenter, non-profit social enterprises are in the second ring, and the third ring has companies with B-Corp certification or analogous credentials and verified attributes. He mentions “Who Gives a Crap” as a great example of a “pure” social enterprise providing a product or service entirely in service to environmental and social causes (us.whogivesacrap.org). The mechanism, known as a “double asset lock” requires that at least 51% of profits MUST go to the service mission, and that there is NO exit strategy of the typical venture capital variety. Emerging certifications include the Social Enterprise Mark in the United Kingdom, and similar programs emerging in Canada and the United States.
Eric tells us that a very important gathering of the Social Enterprise World Forum will occur in Halifax, Nova Scotia in September 2020, and encourages attendance from change makers, influencers, and organizational leaders committed to social and environmental stewardship and sustainability.
Eric Lombardi has been working at the cutting-edge of the Zero Waste and Social Enterprise Movements across the world since the mid 1990’s. Eric was a national spokesperson for the first Zero Waste organization in the U.S.A. (1997), and was a co-founder of the Zero Waste International Alliance (2002). Lombardi was invited to the Clinton White House in 1998 as one of the Top 100 USA Recyclers and received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Colorado Association For Recycling. From 1989-2014, he turned a small nonprofit called EcoCycle into the largest zero waste social enterprise in the United States. Eric is now working as an Associate to the Social Enterprise World Forum and promoting hybrid business structures to achieve Zero Waste Zero Carbon Communities. Eric holds a Master’s Degree in Technology and Human Affairs from Washington University in St. Louis.
Social Enterprise World Forum: https://sewfonline.com/
See Eric’s full professional bio: https://www.linkedin.com/in/eric-lombardi-72aa5913/
Who Gives a Crap: us.whogivesacrap.org