Title: Tempered radicals! Ecopreneurs as change agents for sustainability - an exploratory study

Authors: Sara Walton; Jodyanne Kirkwood

Addresses: Department of Management, Otago Business School, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, 9060, New Zealand ' Centre for Entrepreneurship, Otago Business School, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, 9060, New Zealand

Abstract: Ecopreneurs (as a subset of social entrepreneurs) are often posited as change agents - champions for sustainability. The purpose of this paper is to study the role of ecopreneurs or environmental entrepreneurs as green change agents. Specifically, this paper examines how they bring about change through running their businesses. A qualitative, interpretative approach was adopted and interviews conducted with 17 ecopreneurs in 14 companies in New Zealand. Two key aspects of practice emerged; commitment to the environment and the redefining of growth. We discuss each of these and suggest that ecopreneurs act as 'tempered radicals'. They have values congruent with radical change for sustainability but they enact a tempered path - they operate a viable business based on current business realities (BAU). Nonetheless they have potential to be key players moving towards low carbon and green economies.

Keywords: ecopreneurs; change agents; sustainability; social entrepreneurship; tempered radicals; sustainable development; environmental entrepreneurs; New Zealand; low carbon economies; green economies.

DOI: 10.1504/IJSEI.2013.059321

International Journal of Social Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 2013 Vol.2 No.5, pp.461 - 475

Received: 22 Feb 2013
Accepted: 08 Sep 2013

Published online: 13 Feb 2014 *

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