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Alexandra Adler

CSR Expert Group Speaker of WKO´s UBIT section Vienna

The Sustainable Entrepreneurship Award (SEA) showcases exceptional projects in the area of sustainability. What do you think of this initiative?

I think, it is highly important of showcasing those projects for encouraging and inspiring others. Risking a new, sustainable approach of doing business should be rewarded and highlightend – and must gain publicity for making those new approaches mainstream!

What was your reason for joining the jury of the SEA?

As CSR-expert and consultant I am always interested in best practices and new ideas. Joining the jury means a chance to engage for projects which I believe to be of relevant social and/or ecological value - by helping them to gain money and publicity!

What does sustainable entrepreneurship mean to you personally?

Companies or organisations which use their power and influences carefully, respectfully and meaningful for the society and surroundings they are embedded in. I highly appreciate the evolution from “eco-friendly” towards businesses with high positive ecological or social impact.

Why do we need sustainable entrepreneurship?

For keeping our planet and our society a living-worth place!

How firmly rooted is sustainable entrepreneurship already in people’s thinking and, above all, in the actions of companies e.g. in China?

Though there are more and more sustainable initiatives, it is, in my opinion, still a niche – so every possibility to raise public awareness is good!

It would seem that sustainable entrepreneurship has become even more relevant in the wake of the crisis. Do you agree? And why is it that it often takes a crisis for a shift in awareness to come about – in business, as well as in politics and society?

Those entrepreneurs, who understand themselves as embedded within society and stay in constant communication with their environment may understand a crisis as a “wake-up call”: They are affected but they are as well willing to search for solutions using their creativity and competencies. But we still don’t have the shift in awareness on a large scale!

Politics, industry, society – who should be the driving force for the development of sustainable entrepreneurship?

Politics needs to set the frame and offer incentives, industry should move things forward by using their competencies and spirit for innovation. Society is to speak up and make concrete claims. Obviously it needs all players for change – but the first two are definitely in charge.

In what way can each and every one of us contribute towards increasing the relevance of sustainable entrepreneurship?

Speaking up, making correlations visible, showing alternative  - sustainable - business models and good practices.

How can sustainable entrepreneurship measures be prevented from being nothing more than greenwashing? Which internal measures and methods must be applied?

All entrepreneurial efforts must be authentical and consequent, alongside the core business and with possible economic, ecologic and social impact in mind. Raising awareness and competencies within the organisation and setting and managing relevant and impactful measures are pathways to gaining trust.