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Novel Multi-sector Networks and Entrepreneurship in Metro Vancouver and London: a comparative study of small businesses as emerging non-state actors i

Heike Schroeder
University of Oxford
Sarah Burch
University of Oxford
Heike Schroeder
University of Oxford
Open Panel

Abstract

Urban areas are increasingly viewed as key players in responding to climate change, as they have both direct control of critical sources of emissions and are the scale at which the potentially catastrophic impacts of climate change will play out. While cities in many parts of the developed world already require large industrial emitters to report on their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the invisible majority of commercial emitters are small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) for which legislated GHG reductions are unlikely. Novel partnerships and networks are emerging, however, which align the goals of SMEs, municipal governments and regional authorities in support of GHG management in cities. Two prominent examples are Metro Vancouver, Canada and London, UK. Based on in-depth interviews with municipal government representatives and small businesses in these two cases, and a survey on motivations and barriers, it addresses (1) the political and legislative triggers of these emerging private/public sector partnerships and (2) the long-term potential for ongoing partnerships, entrepreneurship and ultimately climate change mitigation. These data suggest that engagement with SMEs by local governments may be driven by broader mandates to deepen relationships with the business community and enhance the resilience of local economies. Partnership arrangements may serve to build capacity for GHG reductions, and facilitate both technical and organizational innovation. The paper concludes with suggestions regarding the feasibility of this model to extend beyond mitigation to climate change adaptation and sustainability more broadly and the applicability of these case studies to other cities and regions.