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Chapter 1 Introduction: Sustainability, Innovation, Enterprise and the Grassroots

Enterprising Communities: Grassroots Sustainability Innovations

ISBN: 978-1-78052-484-9, eISBN: 978-1-78052-485-6

Publication date: 12 January 2012


As the first decade of the 21st century drew to a close, the threats associated with economic crises, social inequalities, and human-induced environmental change focused unprecedented attention on global development trajectories. While questions about how the nature and impact of economic growth should be managed have long featured in environmentalist thought, the stark conditions created a new policy landscape of opportunity for alternative development strategies. National governments around the globe began to disseminate policy statements calling for ‘green growth’ and some, for example the United States, even developed stimulus packages aimed at restructuring economies towards a low carbon future. At the same time international non-governmental organisations such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have developed entire initiatives focused on shaping what has come to be termed the ‘green economy’ (UNEP, 2011). Even large multinational corporations, such as Shell and their dialogues mechanism, are engaging with green economy discourses. New partnerships are emerging across governance sectors with Microsoft Corp and UNEP signing an agreement in 2009 to share knowledge collaboratively around green economy issues. In the United States, the BlueGreen Alliance is consolidating activity of labour unions and environmental organisations in order to maximise the number and quality of jobs in the green economy. With such a broad spectrum of actors and interests involved, it is unsurprising that there is no one agreed vision for a green economy. Some argue for development scenarios that promote reduced or no-growth pathways (Scott-Cato, 2009), others see the current crises creating innovation opportunities for new growth in different areas through processes of ‘creative destruction’ (Florida, 2010).


Davies, A. (2012), "Chapter 1 Introduction: Sustainability, Innovation, Enterprise and the Grassroots", Davies, A. (Ed.) Enterprising Communities: Grassroots Sustainability Innovations (Advances in Ecopolitics, Vol. 9), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Leeds, pp. 1-23.



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