Social enterprise and social procurement: Entry points for better economic futures

Authors: Joanne McNeill*, Western Sydney University
Topics: Economic Geography, Australia and New Zealand
Keywords: social enterprise, social procurement, waste, community economies
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/12/2018
Start / End Time: 10:00 AM / 11:40 AM
Room: Napoleon A1, Sheraton, 3rd Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

How do manufacturing-based social enterprises contribute to making new economic futures? Soft Landing is part of the Great Lakes Community Resources social enterprise, and is the proponent of an innovative ‘waste to wages’ business model that is transforming mattress recycling practices in Australia (and beyond). Soft Landing is one of the case study enterprises involved in the Reconfiguring the Enterprise: Shifting Manufacturing Culture in Australia research project.

Shrinking public sector budgets are increasing the pressures to generate greater value when spending public funds. These pressures are forcing public sector procurement to become more strategic, including reframing ‘best value’ in ways that integrate other concerns alongside cost. In this context, Soft Landing is using social procurement strategies to address the problem waste stream of mattresses, whilst also creating opportunities for access to decent livelihoods for people previously far-from-the-labour-market.

Using community economy theory’s ‘ethical coordinates’, I demonstrate how a focus on practices of ethical deliberation and negotiation has created openings for Soft Landing to promulgate diverse economic practices, enrol diverse actors in addressing wicked issues, and drive innovation in the waste sector.

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