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Social Entrepreneurship and Global Warming

The United Nations Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) recently released an interim report, which examines what it would take to keep increases in global mean surface temperature below 2°C this century. The consequences of a temperature rise greater than 2°C would be catastrophic for all and pose “extreme risks to human well-being.”

The planet’s poorest people would fare the worst, facing profound loss from flooding, displacement, and food scarcity. Ironically, the poorest 3 billion people only account for 5 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, while the richest 1 billion drive 50 percent of these emissions.

The DDPP report calls for “a profound transformation of energy systems by mid-century.” Who will lead us in this profound transformation? Many governments subsidize fossil fuels, essentially funding global warming. In 2011, Global fossil fuel subsidies totaled $523 billion, equating to $7 per metric ton of carbon released, which is close to the market price of carbon. Governments and policy makers need to do more; but even changes in government policy won’t be enough. We need a catalyst for greater change.

At Santa Clara University’s Center for Science, Technology, and Society we believe that social entrepreneurs, individuals who apply entrepreneurial principles to drive social and environmental impact, are the necessary catalyst.

Over the last twelve years, we have worked with over 230 social entrepreneurs through our Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) programs at the Center. 

Over the last twelve years, we have worked with over 230 social entrepreneurs through our Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI®) programs at the Center. GSBI programs enable social entrepreneurs to benefit from Silicon Valley executive mentors to refine their business models and identify opportunities for scaling impact.

GSBI social entrepreneurs like Tevis Howard and his organization KOMAZA show how eradicating poverty and mitigating climate change are inextricably linked. Komaza works in coastal Kenya to provide smallholder farmers with training they need to raise fast-growing trees on their unused land. These trees represent a cash crop that can move families from subsistence living to middle-class in a single generation. Moreover, trees represent one of the most efficient and effective ways to sequester excess carbon in the atmosphere: Mother Nature is an awesome engineer.

“The greatest value that I’ve gotten out of GSBI is really learning how to best communicate my story. I’ve had some great mentors come to the table with new, fresh eyes, spend lots of hours with me, asking tough questions, and thinking about the best way to communicate what we are doing. It has been really invaluable, “ said Tevis.

The 10-month GSBI Accelerator program in which Tevis participated includes a 10-day “boot camp” at Santa Clara University in August. The in-residence portion of the GSBI Accelerator culminates with the Showcase, when the entrepreneurs pitch to a room of investors. The primary objective is to help the social entrepreneurs become investment-ready.

Over 230 enterprises have completed our programs, 90 percent of them are still in business, and 40 percent are scaling.

GSBI results speak for themselves. Over 230 enterprises have completed our programs, 90 percent of them are still in business, and 40 percent are scaling. They have collectively raised $96 million and positively impacted the lives of 107 million people. Learn more about what we’re doing and how you can help here.

Business, Entrepreneurship, Global
social impact,environment,activism,Illuminate

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