POSTED: June 26, 2017
Politics & Enterprise

Social enterprise for sustainable societies

Fergus Lyon presenting CUSP research at 6th EMES conference
Louvain-la-Neuve, 3-6 July 2017

CC.0 :: Gemma Evans /

CUSP Deputy Director Fergus Lyon will be introducing our research on the role of social enterprise in meeting the challenges of sustainable prosperity at the 6th EMES conference. His upcoming paper Alternative enterprise for sustainable prosperity – a research agenda explores a set of key economic concepts that are challenged by social enterprise in practice, and sets out a topical research agenda that addresses a richer articulation of prosperity. The abstract of the paper can be found below. For details about the conference, please see the conference website.


There are a range of alternative models of development that aspire to socio-economic development while conserving the environment. This paper argues that new ‘alternative’ forms of social enterprise are essential to achieving a ‘sustainable prosperity’ that protects the environment and maximises wellbeing. The pursuit of economic growth may have led to increases in GDP but at the cost to the natural environment and with declining measures of wellbeing in many countries. Social enterprises with a focus on environmental and social objectives can become a route to sustainable prosperity and a shift away from conventional models that prioritise economic growth. These social enterprise alternatives question widely held assumptions about economic and social development that are predicated on a crude conceptualisation of prosperity. There is also a need for a research agenda that reflects this alteriety. This paper explores a set of key economic concepts that are challenged by social enterprise in practice and sets out an agenda for social enterprise research that addresses sustainability, wellbeing and richer articulation of prosperity.


The 6th EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise with a focus this year on “Social enterprise for sustainable societies” takes place 3-6 July 2017 at the Université Catholique de Louvain (Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium).

The conference aims to be one of the world’s central meeting places for all researchers that are involved in social enterprise, social entrepreneurship and social and solidarity economy research across the globe. More details can be accessed on the conference website.

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