Accelerating sustainability entrepreneurship experiments in local spaces

Project: Other

Project participants


Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are responsible for up to 60 percent of Canada's commercial carbon dioxide emissions, employ 90 percent of the total private workforce and created approximately 52 percent of private sector GDP by 2015. Despite promising stories of social innovation and sustainability leadership by SMEs, recent research suggests that the majority have little interest in facilitating accelerated transitions to environmental sustainability. Given the ongoing international negotiations on climate change and the United Nations' announcement of sustainable development targets (2015), it is clear that incremental approaches to sustainability will not be sufficient to achieve necessary long-term transformation outcomes. We need a more targeted, evidence-based approach to the involvement of small businesses, which help to overcome significant capacity gaps.
"TRANSFORM: Accelerating Experiments on Sustainability in Local Areas" will address this challenge by activating a vibrant global network of centres of research and practice (in 8 countries, including 11 universities and 14 non-academic partners) that will help SMEs to build capacity for the transition to fundamentally sustainable business models and practices (such as social entrepreneurship, non-profit enterprises, cooperatives and carbon neutral enterprises). TRANSFORM will work closely with SMEs in this process: 1) implement an interactive capacity-building process that will enable SMEs to explore transformative approaches to sustainability; 2) cultivate, monitor and evaluate sustainability experiments in the small business community; 3) develop and disseminate a tailored transformation toolkit targeted at business, government and civil society actors; and 4) draw on national and international examples to guide the design and implementation of Canada's sustainability and innovation policies at the federal, provincial and municipal levels.

Research outputs