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Christians are pioneering social enterprises, Jubilee Centre finds

15 July 2022

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CHRISTIANS are playing an important part in purpose-driven businesses and social enterprises, says a study by the Jubilee Centre, a national Christian “think and do” tank.

Its report, 21st Century Pioneers: Faith, enterprise and social purpose, published last week, calls on the Church to recognise better the work that its members are doing in these areas, and to support them. The Centre interviewed founders and leaders of purpose-driven businesses and social enterprises across the UK and in a range of sectors, from community farms to law firms, in the spring. The findings suggested that Christians were playing an important part in these businesses.

A growing number of enterprises are showing how to create and expand businesses that are good for families, communities, the country, and even the planet, the report says. It calls for a biblically inspired vision of what “good” looks like in business.

The director of the Jubilee Centre, Tim Thorlby, said: “For the Church, enterprise is on the front line for mission — making the world a better place. We want to help the Church to understand this, support those on the front line, and inspire more to join in. Then we will see a new generation of 21st-century pioneers and reformers delivering a wave of renewal that will comprehensively reshape our marketplace for good.”

The Jubilee Centre believes that good, purpose-driven business is one of the best long-term solutions to poverty, social breakdown, and environmental degradation.

One of the businesses featured in the report is Ethical Addictions, a coffee-roasting company in Gloucester, which trades directly with farmers in Brazil and Tanzania. It funded the installation of water pipes for 137 families in villages that produce some of its coffee.

Ethical Addiction’s managing director, Ian Meredith, said: “How we run our business really matters. How I buy my coffee, even how I buy my cleaning products matters, because it has an impact on the planet and on other people. So, if I can do that in a better way — even if only makes a small difference — the difference it makes to the families who benefit, like those in Tanzania who now have clean water as a result of our investments, is enormous. As a follower of Jesus, if I know there is a better way to do this, how can I not do it that way?”

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