How do we deal with the environmental and climate challenges of our time? And how can social innovations contribute to a more sustainable and just society? On behalf of the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection (BMUV), Yunus Environment Hub (YEH) is analysing the ecological, social, and economic potential of social innovations to meet the environmental goals Germany committed to by signing the Paris Agreement in 2015.
We are convinced that innovations are key for the transition to a future-fit society. So far, however, they have been associated primarily with technological progress. To face the great challenges of today, this approach is not sufficient, which is why YEH believes we must utilise social innovations, and therefore social businesses, for ecological progress. Social innovations consist of new social practices and organisational models that aim to find viable solutions for an ecologically, economically, and socially sustainable society. Innovations in environmental protection are among the most important drivers of growth and employment. The program therefore focuses explicitly on social innovations and their potential impact for solving ecological issues.
Over three years, we will determine which social innovations have the highest probability of achieving Germany’s environmental goals. This analysis will lay a foundation for the better understanding of the different stakeholders, markets, challenges and needs within the social innovation landscape. YEH works with an advisory council with representatives from science, business, politics, and civil society to examine seven topics related to social innovations in Germany. Examples include funding opportunities, political and legal frameworks, technological potential, and impact measurement of social innovations. YEH will recommend policies for the German government to promote and support social innovations that will transform the way we work, consume, move, spend, and live. These suggestions will help policymakers, the public administration, and the private sector to make informed, future-oriented decisions that benefit both the environment and society.
Alongside working in a policy advisory capacity, YEH will provide communication support for SINA. The communication work will include two public events in Berlin and a website with regular updates about our work with SINA, such as expert interviews, podcasts and specialist articles revolving around social innovations in Germany.