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ECO-WISE - Social Enterprises as Sustainable Actors: Concepts, Performances, Impacts


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(ed.) Maria Anastasiadis, Europaeischer Hochschulverlag, December 2013

ECO-WISE is associated with ecologically conscious or environmentally friendly practices in a wider sense. The wide variety and usage of this notion indicates that “green” is a growing trend internationally. In particular, the abbreviation “ECO-WISE” stands for ecologically oriented work-integration social enterprises. These enterprises can be described briefly as not-for-private-profit organisations that improve the inclusion of the long-term unemployed into society by providing jobs in ecological businesses. Over the last few years, ECO-WISE have been discovered as a strategic reserve to strengthen the environmental, social and economic pillars of society. They are seen as examples of best practices that achieve the general objectives of the global sustainable development strategy. These organisations, however, have only been marginally investigated; their experience in balancing economic, social and environmental goals has largely remained unnoticed. The intention of this book is to deliver an overview of concepts, performances and impacts of ECO-WISE and other social enterprises that have environmental interests in addition to their socio-economic goals. A group of international experts from a variety of disciplines took up the challenge to contribute to this compilation, drawing on their own national and cultural experiences, as well as different theoretical and methodological paradigms. This compilation of articles is not exhaustive. It should rather be understood as one of the first cohesive sets of articles that together illustrate the world of ECO-WISE and similar organisations, with the hope that this will trigger discourse that further reveals the experiences and potential of social enterprises as sustainable actors.