A well-functioning society is dependent on a responsible business sector. There is a clear connection between the development of society, the environment and business activities.
To achieve the vision of a sustainable society we all need to contribute and help each other.
The work on attaining the Global Goals defined by the UN in the 2030 Agenda starts at a local level. It requires small daily efforts through which we can approach a sustainable society and entrepreneurship together.
By creating the concept Sustainable Entrepreneurship, the DUNC project (Development of UNESCO Natural and Cultural Assets) aimed at encouraging and supporting local businesses to continue and/or advance their work on economic, social and environmental sustainability.
On this website international entrepreneurs interested in sustainability and sustainable product development are part of an international network. The network facilitates best practice exchanges and international cooperation between Baltic Sea World Heritage Sites.
The concept Sustainable Entrepreneurship is defined as a responsibility for companies regarding social, economic and environmental sustainability factors, in order for their businesses to be part of a sustainable development for our world. In addition, it is also to meet customers and society’s expectations on corporate behavior today and in the future.
Sustainable entrepreneurship is about allowing both profitability, environmental consideration and community commitment to take place in company actions and to let it be an integrated part of its visions and business models.
Expectations from society and customers on corporate behavior regarding sustainability is growing steadily and many companies can speak of the benefits of such work. Research results also show that it is worthwhile to work sustainably.
Social responsibility is an important part of our society that also can create opportunities for economic growth in companies. A business with a long-term plan often lasts longer.
Social sustainability means among other things to aim for good working conditions and fair businesses as well as respecting all aspects of human rights.
Economic sustainability is about aiming at using company resources such as materials and energy as efficiently as possible, for example by practicing circular economy. It also means to make sure that company profits are invested in a sustainable and ethical way.
A circular economy aims at eliminating waste by consuming less of our natural resources. Waste should be considered sustenance for other processes, which is an approach in contrast to the traditional linear economy.
A sustainable world does not have to mean a decrease in consumer quality or extra costs for manufacturers. It can be as profitable as linear alternatives. A circular system means to repair, refurbish, reuse, recycle, share or remanufacture to create a close-loop system. To use renewable energy is also an important part of a circular economy.
Environmental sustainability means to work on reducing the environmental and climate impact of the company, which often results in benefits for the marketing of the business. To care about the environment in relation to entrepreneurship can also create new business opportunities, reach out to new customer groups and improve the competitiveness of the company.
Our World Heritages, selected by UNESCO, are unique sites of great importance to all humankind. They give us unique opportunities, as well as unique responsibilities. As sustainable entrepreneurs, we need to see the business opportunities through our connection to our World Heritage Sites, at the same time as we guard its unique values.
Local businesses can benefit from what people naturally associate products and services developed in a World Heritage Site with; high quality. A good example of this is the English Lake District that has developed around 1’500 new products and services connected to the World Heritage after being nominated as one in 2017. They have also created a local brand that they use for all products and services developed in the World Heritage Site and/or in its nearby surroundings.
The following World Heritage Sites around the South Baltic Sea were part of the DUNC project and continue to cooperate:
They are all striving to become more sustainable tourist destinations. Therefore, supporting and encouraging local businesses interested in sustainability is a natural and significant part of that ambition.
In 2015, world leaders agreed on 17 global goals for sustainable development (www.globalgoals. org). It is now our common responsibility to use these goals as a guide to create a better world by 2030. The DUNC project and the products and services developed within it during 2017-2020 have contributed to the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals 7, 8, 11, 12 and their targets 7.2, 8.9, 11.4, 11.6 and 12.8. DUNC believes that local entrepreneurs can make use of these goals and targets to a greater extent, to contribute to a better world and to promote their businesses.