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Use of Triple Bottom Line sustainability framework in rural wine entrepreneurship
Start date: Sep 1, 2014, End date: Aug 30, 2017 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Wine SMEs in the rural areas of Europe already feel the market pressures as international competition intensifies and economies fail to support growth. The future of these SMEs is more in doubt when you consider that the market protective measures will soon be lifted while the cost of material and energy continues to increase. SMEs in remote rural areas are running into a deadlock and will be mathematically suffocate, unless they face the challenge of adopting sustainability strategies and linking them to their operational excellence programs to optimise the consumption of all resources used in their adding value processes. While organisations primiraly focus on profit, sustainable organizations are committed to measuring and making key decisions based on measures that look after the profit, the planet and the people. These represent the three pillars the Triple Bottom Line (TBL) framework is based on, a sustainability business model suitable for every organization, regardless of its size. It is a feeder road to a highway called "sustainable growth". UseWine aims to lead European Wine SMEs to sustainability by guiding them through their first crucial move: the adoption of the TBL model. TBL is not widely known within SMEs, and those who have heard of it, consider it as an unfeasible model for the small size of their organisation. The fact that "the planet" and "the people" are part of the sustainability equation creates negative attitude since both are considered to lead to additional expenditures. SMEs can implement their TBL strategies in a business environment that encourages and supports social and environmental policies. In this sense, all entrepreneurship stakeholders are an integral part of a successful implementation of the transition to TBL. Local governments and regional authorities who set out environmental and social policies be will a target group, not only as facilitators of the Wine SMEs but also as beneficiaries. By implementing the TBL principles, they will be able to set the ground for sustainable growth themselves. The skills on how to train the leaders of the organisations will be delivered by a professional TBL business consultant to a selected number of facilitators during a train-the-trainer workshop to be organised by the lead partner. Each partner organisation will assign two trainers who will be trained to become the facilitators of the leadership workshops. Awareness activities will also take place in the form of half-day events in every partner country, where market stakeholders, local authorities and entrepreneurs will be exposed to TBL which will be projected as an SME sustainability mechanism. Success stories will be presented, derived from the respective national market to better relate to. The development of leadership is the foundation to a successful transition from the conventional business models to the TBL model. This project will create the leadership who will be able to read not only between the lines, but also behind the obvious and who can deliver change in a convincing manner. Leading an organisation to this type of change requires certain competencies. This project will provide the necessary training to a selected number of leaders per partner country who will be committed to implement the TBL model into their organisations. The leadership workshops will be organised by each consortium member in its territory using the facilitators that attended the train-the-trainer session. The project will also make use of indicators to measure the actual impact of its activities. At first, the baselines will be set using questionnaires. The questionnaires will cover the current TBL related practices of the Wine SMEs, the existing TBL related policies and regulations in enforcement by the policy makers (local governments/regional authorities) and how the citizens (social and environmental groups) react to such actions taken by both. The survey, based on the questionnaires, reflecting the current situation will constitute the first intellectual output of the project. After all trainings and awareness activities take place, their impact will be measured again through a survey using new questionnaires. The produced indicators and the methodology applied to achieve them will form the second intellectual output which will be presented during a European Conference in Zaragoza. A project website will be in place from the start of the project to disseminate all project intellectual outputs and act as an awareness platform for TBL hosting success stories from all partner countries.
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