An article from Après-GE, Chambre de l’Economie Sociale et Solidaire Genevoise.
Within the framework of the European project of cooperation between Switzerland and Croatia, in which APRES-GE participates, a delegation of about fifteen representatives from two Croatian cities, Ludbreg and Pregrada, came to discover and be inspired by the Geneva network of the Social and Solidarity Economy, on 28-30 October 2019.
As part of this project, a Croatian delegation of 14 people visited Geneva from 28 to 30 October last. It was composed of the mayors of the two cities, public officials and representatives of civil society.
The aim of this collaboration between Switzerland and Croatia is to present Geneva SSE companies, civil servants and elected representatives, so that our Croatian partners can be inspired by the “good practices” implemented in our canton. This objective has been achieved. Our partners have expressed their great satisfaction with the program that has been prepared for them and have left motivated to implement innovative solutions. In a second step, we will provide training in Croatia to build concrete projects with them. In a third and final step, we will participate in an international conference on the new economy in Zagreb. We are planning a small Geneva delegation for this occasion. Finally, the SSE Chamber could aim to support the creation of an SSE network in Croatia by transferring our expertise in this field and strengthening our long-term links, in the form of partnerships between Swiss and Croatian SSE companies and even between municipalities.
We would like to thank Jean Rossiaud and Lina Yanez from the LES IDEES Design Office – member of APRES-GE – for successfully following up this project for the SSE Chamber. Part of the mandate is paid in Leman, our local currency.
For the fifth consecutive year, Economía Solidaria once again shows its heart by publishing the annual report of the Social Audit Campaign, a tool for accountability and measurement of social, environmental and good governance impact, which is promoted by Social and Solidarity Economy entities (mainly, but not only, integrated to REAS RdR). The organizations that carry it out can use the results to improve internally while at the same time obtaining aggregated data from the ethical standards of the Solidarity Economy and the Social Market (Mercado Social).
In this self-evaluation process, the six principles of the SSE are evaluated systematically, objectively and periodically: profit policy, democracy and equity, environmental sustainability, cooperation, commitment to the environment and quality of work. This tool is also allowing a process of confluence of Solidarity Economy companies at the Spanish state level, by which since 2014 the indicators of the Social Balance and Audit systems developed from their different territories and led by its Social Audit Working Group of REAS RdR have been harmonized. It is from this process that in 2018 the technological platform that XES (Xarxa de Economía Solidaria de Catalunya) had developed within the framework of its “Enseña el Corazón” project was put to common use at the Spanish state level. Since 2008, the Xarxa has been offering entities associated or linked to this network a self-evaluation of their performance based on variables grouped into different blocks: economic performance, professional quality, democracy, equality, quality of work, the environment and social commitment.
The data that we present correspond to a total of 530 entities associated and linked to the different territorial and sectorial networks of REAS RdR that have carried out the campaign this year (19% more than last year), which includes: 191 thousand associated people -not workers-, close to 22 thousand volunteers who collaborate in the development of their social and collective projects, more than 4 thousand three hundred who participate in representation of the organizations, and more than 400 employers of entities. If we unite all those people linked to the entities -not workers- to the employees -members or not, a total figure of 235 thousand people related to the 530 entities that responded to the questions of the Social Audit of 2019 is reached.
The following results can be highlighted from the aggregate report of this self-evaluation process:
Equity: the wage difference is 1.5/1 between the highest and lowest wages of all workers; 60% of women in positions of responsibility and 88% of entities promote inclusive language.
Work: 75% improve legal work-life balance permits, 64% create spaces for emotional attention and care for workers, and 47% have internal regulations for the management of labour relations.
Environmental sustainability: 94% apply responsible consumption criteria in the purchase of products, 37% are entities with environmental management and 46% use 100% renewable energy.
Cooperation and commitment with the environment: 64% operate with ethical finances, 7% of their purchases are made within the framework of the Social Market and 7% in non-profit entities.
Non-profit: 63% of income comes from invoicing compared to 28% from subsidies. With regard to the distribution of profits, 65% is allocated to reserves, compensation for losses or own investments, 10% to initiatives for the construction of common goods and 4% to investments of financial entities of the SSE.
Based on these and other data derived from the Social Audit 2019 Reas network of networks wants to make visible and value the activity of social and solidarity economy companies in the Spanish state, showing that there are other business models truly responsible and whose objectives are not centered solely on obtaining profit but pursue the transformation and improvement of our society. “EstamosEnlaBrecha
The RIPESS Europe General Assembly took place in Lyon, France from the 4th to 6th of July 2019. It was an opportunity for the members to meet and plan out the strategy of the network, exchanging on the network’s priority issues as well as ongoing and future projects.
For almost 10
years, RIPESS Europe has been expanding with many territorial and sectoral
organisations joining every year. This year, 4 new organisations applied for
membership and were voted in by the General Assembly, adding 3 new countries to
the network: Western Ireland, Austria and Russia.
The new members are:
AAE (www.aae.ie)– An Ait Eile Cooperative of Ireland
Represented here by Eamon Molonay and Kevin Flanagan, it is a cooperative social enterprise based in Galway in the west of Ireland. An Áit Eile is Gaelic language which translated into English means ‘The Other Place‘. An Áit Eile (AAE) started in 2015 as a cultural association of artists, musicians, and performers collaborating with communities on events and projects that address social and ecological issues as well as mental health. Today as a cooperative its membership is made up of both individuals and community organisations.
Cultural workers and workers in the social sector often experience precarity and challenges of self-employment. Small community organisations also face challenges in providing sustainable regular employment and increasing bureaucratic requirements. Responding to these collective problems, AAE seeks to provide cooperative solutions. AAE became a cooperative in 2019 and is one of Ireland’s first cooperatives to adopt a multi-stakeholder model. This means that the cooperative has different member types: worker members, user members, investor members and founder members. All classes of members have representation on the AAE Board. The approach is based on the FairShares model.
It is an academy of education and advice. Socio-ethical thinking and action are its guiding principle. The objective of its services is to support individuals and organisations that are actively involved in social change. “As KSOE – Catholic Social Academy of Austria we are glad to have had the opportunity to become the first member of Ripess Europe in Austria. We hope that other networks and organizations will follow”, declares Markus Blümel, representing KSOE and coordinator of a course on solidarity economy there. “Solidarity economy has grown in Austria the last decade. KSOE supports individuals and groups in starting new solidarity economy organizations and to transform into such. […] Being part of the Ripess network now we are sure to be able to strengthen solidarity economy in Austria and throughout Europe.”
NETZ is a German association for the Promotion and Support of Selforganisation and Solidarity Economy. Represented at the GA by Elisabeth Voss, it was founded in 1986 as an umbrella organisation of local networks supporting self-help, networks of workers controled enterprises and other sectoral federations like social cultural centers and training organisations in North Rhine-Westphalia. In 1989 NETZ decided to go national and further regional and sectorial organisations joined Netz. To strengthen the capacity of NETZ to deliver services to its members and to do joint purchasing, also small enterprises in the broader ecological and social sense as well as freelancers could join as members. Today NETZ still offers its experiences to promote and support grassroots’ initiatives and solidarity economy also trough networking between further actors in the field. Independent regional associations exist and Berlin-Brandenburg and North Rhine-Westphalia.
TPABA (www.trava.education) – Trava Education of Russia
TRAVA is an organization based in the city of St Petersburg. Share experiences of citizen-led change and self-organization as well as peer education. TRAVA (grassroots) started in the summer of 2014 with 33 conferences and workshops on small projects, the city and self-development in parks, squares and embankments. Since then, they have been organizing year-round educational events on politics and culture in friendly venues.
‘Food saves the world‘ is one of the projects of TRAVA and it includes catering from saved food, waste cooking workshops, regular informal conference about food activism, public actions and articles about food waste problem. Another project, ‘Map for People‘ is a map for responsible consumers that provides information about local places where tourists can eat, drink, buy souvenirs and clothes and, by doing this, support local projects that follow social, environmental and ethical responsibility principles. It is a research and educational project based on peer-to-peer model.