LEPs are of course Local ENTERPRISE Partnerships.

But enterprise cannot be developed without full attention being paid to its wider impact on nature, society and personal health and well-being.  David Cameron has talked more than once about economic progress needing to be balanced with progress in well-being.  Pursuing the growth of GDP outside of this wider social context would seem to be a fool’s errand.

An enterprise policy that grows GDP, but increases illness or is not environmentally sustainable or increases inequality in our society may not be a good thing.

So, how about developing a simple compass that can form the basis of a practical evaluation for new enterprise proposals?  I was very taken by this simple framework that Danone use when evaluating their innovation projects…

N = Nature – will the development respect natural limits?  Is it environmentally sustainable?

S = Social – will the development lead to improvements in society?  Fair wages, good governance, increased equality, better access to finance to all  etc.  Will the goods and services produced enhance life in our communities?

E= Economic – will the project work economically? What payback periods are we looking at here?  How can we encourage doing the right thing even when payback periods may take longer than usual business conventions would allow?

W= Wellbeing or health – the Danone mission is to improve health for the greatest number of people through food.  If the project does not fit the mission then it will not move forward.