In the context of the Rio Earth Summit numerous international regimes, national policies and organizational guidelines have appeared that help translate the normative demands of sustainable development into political reality. The implementation of these instruments, however, often runs into difficulties or fails entirely. An example is the EU Water Framework Directive (WFD), a progressive approach for the conservation of freshwater that is very unlikely to be implemented by 2015, the target year. We examine in this paper how a recent variation of Gandhian non-violent communication within social entrepreneurship suggests one way to deal with this challenge. Non-violent communication, rooted in Gandhian social action, has long been part of environmental politics.
It has undergone a new variation as a mode of communication in the hands of social entrepreneurship initiatives that address urgent social and environmental issues with new, practical ideas. In the conceptual part of this paper, we outline our approach to sustainability, non-violent communication and social entrepreneurship. In a further part, we present data from a trans-disciplinary experiment to illustrate and critically discuss social entrepreneurship as a mode of sustainability communication. The experiment looked at, which is based on French social entrepreneur Roberto Epple’s idea of a Big Jump,
is a collaborative campaign that invites young people to take action for water conservation in the context of the WFD.