Social Enterprises in Zero Waste: How New Business Structures Can Promote Both Profit and Purpose
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Social enterprises are organizations that address a basic unmet need or solve a social or environmental problem through a market-driven approach. These organizations bridge the gap between the traditional non-profit sector and the traditional business sector, and are increasingly recognized as a prominent solutions to solve social and environmental needs. Join two global experts in exploring how the social enterprise business structure can transfer to the recycling and reuse sector. Gerry Higgins has been at the forefront the UK’s social enterprise strategy for decades, and has been a global leader since 2008 as the founder of the Social Enterprise World Forum (SEWF), the world’s largest conference about social enterprise. Eric Lombardi has been at the forefront of the Zero Waste Movement since 1996 and spent 24 years running Eco-Cycle, the largest Zero Waste social enterprise in the U.S.
Gerry Higgins, Managing Director, Social Enterprise World Forum
Gerry is Managing Director of Social Enterprise World Forum and Director of International Enterprise at Community Enterprise in Scotland (CEIS). These dual roles were created in January 2019 as Social Enterprise World Forum required more capacity to support its ambitious programme to build a global social enterprise movement and after 13 years as CEO of CEIS, Gerry wanted to focus on the international dimensions of social enterprise in Scotland. Gerry is also a Director at Social Value Lab, CEIS Ayrshire, DSL Business Finance, Social Enterprise UK. Gerry has a BA in Education and a MSc in Business Studies and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship of Social Enterprise UK in 2017.
Gerry has many years’ experience in developing and leading social enterprises and works with government agencies and third sector partners internationally to create supportive social enterprise ecosystems. His current work includes oversight of major programmes to support social enterprise development and to contribute to social enterprise policy at home and abroad. Gerry is committed to social justice and has spent over 30 years working in the social enterprise sector to assist individuals, communities and enterprises to fulfill their potential.
Eric Lombardi, Senior Advisor, Eco-Cycle
After 24 years of building and running the largest Zero Waste Social Enterprise in America, Eco-Cycle (www.ecocycle.org), Eric is currently working to share his success in Colorado with the world. As an experienced public speaker, policy advocate, strategic community planner and businessperson, Eric is working to connect the people and best practices from around the world to facilitate the building of Zero Waste Communities through the creation and expansion of the “Social Enterprise” model. Lombardi is currently a Strategic Advisor to Eco-Cycle International, and an Associate to the Social Enterprise World Forum. As the Executive Director of Eco-Cycle from 1989 to 2014, he grew the organization to become one of the largest community-based recycling social enterprises in the world with a staff of 80 and processing 50,000 tons of diverse recycled materials per year. He was invited to the Clinton White House in 1998 as one of the Top 100 USA Recyclers, and was a co-founder and past President of the U.S. GrassRoots Recycling Network. He was also the co-founder of the Zero Waste International Alliance (2002), based in Wales, and served from 1997-2004 on the U.S. National Recycling Coalition’s (NRC) Policy Work Group, and was an executive Board member of the NRC from 1991-1995. In 1992, he co-founded the U.S. Nonprofit Recyclers Council.
Kate Bailey, Policy & Research Director, Eco-Cycle (Moderator)
Kate Bailey is the Policy and Research Director for Eco-Cycle, based in Boulder, Colorado. Eco-Cycle is one of the largest recycling nonprofits in the world and has more than 43 years of hands-on experience in creating community infrastructure, policies and programs to reduce waste and increase recycling. Kate helps local citizens and governments plan and implement Zero Waste programs as a critical solution to reduce climate pollution.
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