Elena Tzamouranou, who works at Dock, Greek member of RIPESS Europe, relates:
“A few days ago, we went for a 3-day trip in Warsaw, Poland, as part of the BUSSE (Building Up SSE) program we participate in. The program is a strategic collaboration of SSE actors for the development of innovation and exchange of good practices, while aiming to disseminate SSE practices and activities, providing relevant knowledge, skills and competences.
BUSSE is about to develop an innovative 4-module training program and relevant supporting material for both, trainers and trainees. The training modules consist of:
and Conversion of a vector into an SSE project
Communities within the Framework of SSE
3) Principles of
SSE in Cooperatives
4) SSE practices
based on values of Food Sovereignty
The first 2 days were dedicated to the BUSSE program including working on the 4 modules as they have been formed to date, discussed challenges that arose, identified gaps and worked on improving them.
The third day we visited the Dobrze cooperative in Poland, which owns two grocery stores in the center of Warsaw, and we exchanged experiences on issues such as governance, participation, organization & operation of a food cooperative.
After that, we visited the 2nd Polish Forum on Food Sovereignty. We participated in the workshop on networking for regional and interregional partnerships. The workshop included three main axes:
1) Empowering SSE through regional programs,
2) Synergies for Food Sovereignty and Agri-Ecological Education and
Social and solidarity economy and sustainable development: relevant approaches for the twenty-first century?
From May 27 to May 29, 2020
Organizing laboratory :
Communication and Societies Laboratory, “Communication, social innovation and social and solidarity economy” axis – EA 7481 – University of Clermont Auvergne
The purpose of this twentieth RIUESS conference is to question the concept of Sustainable Development (SD) in relation to the practices and research of the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) and, conversely, to question SSE practices and research in relation to this notion, which is more political than scientific. First of all, this symposium, which is open to all SHS (economics, philosophy, political science, sociology, management sciences, communication sciences, law, geography, anthropology, etc.), aims to examine the type of society thought up by SSE and SD actors and researchers: Are we working towards adapting capitalism to ecological constraints? Are we participating in the transformation of an extractive capitalism into a green and ethical capitalism or do we want the transition to a post-capitalist society? Then, in an international context marked by the rise of populism, it is necessary to examine the democratic dimension of the changes at work in a globalization that destroys biodiversity and produces inequalities that are only increasing. Finally, in a rapidly changing world, where digital media and social networks condition our access to the world, we must contribute to a healthy clarification of the debate by trying to clarify recent concepts and characterize emerging practices.
Proposals for papers are written in French and can take different forms (theoretical modeling, case study, critical reflection, testimony of actor-rice, etc.). They must fall within one of the following five priority areas, but off-axis communications can be accepted if they fall within the general theme of the conference (the links between SSE and Sustainable Development)
Axis I: Clarification and conceptual criticism. Axis II: SSE and SD: Tensions and dissonances between discourse and practice Axis III: Territories, commons and the globalization of solidarity. Axis IV: Emerging practices and SD. Axis V: SSE and SD action research: epistemological, methodological, ethical and political issues
Calendar of events
The deadline for receipt of communications is 15 January 2020.
An article by Ripess International, November 8, 2019
This week, from November 8th to 11th, the RIPESS
Education working group will pilot the Solidarity Economy Learning Tour
& Cross-training hosted by Cooperation Jackson (US) with the
participation of both local and international trainers from the US,
Latin America and the Caribbean; Canada; Europe and Eastern Asia.
The aim is to allowan exchange of knowledge of Solidarity Economy (SE) trainers and work on the development of an SE curriculum. Both the format of the learning tour, based on visiting local SE practices, and the curriculum that is being developed will be available to other SE networks/initiatives to be used and adapted to their local contexts.
The understanding of SE is about a way to change the current economic
and social capitalist paradigm towards a more just and sustainable
During these four days, the participants will combine classroom learning to provide a grounding in the theory, practice and organizing strategies to build the solidarity economy with site visits to see and engage with real world solidarity economy practices.
Amongst the objectives, this project wants to pilot and co-develop a SE Curriculum, including materials, methodologies, and guidelines, and facilitated by SE educators from around the world, as well as Cooperation Jackson
folks. And also, to connect and get to know each other and engage in a
process of personal transformation: “to know ourselves in relationship
to others – an understanding of ‘us’ and mutuality”.
By being a training of trainers, this gathering of trainers
also aims to generate a dialogue, sharing and networking between
trainers who are connected to the grassroots SE movements from all over
the world. Taking a popular education approach, the participants will begin with the knowledge of the participants and understand that everyone is a teacher and learner.
This approach, which well aligned with SE in terms of its principles,
foundations, and methods, is a process of analysis-looking for
patterns, accessing new knowledge as needed, developing a strategy of
action, implementing that action, then returning to a reflection of the
experience, analysis, gathering new knowledge to transform the local and
global economy to construct a new society based on justice, equality
and love, and so forth. The goal of popular education is to engage in a continual process of reflection and action in order to achieve the transformation of reality through an economic, social and political liberation.
Cooperation Jackson, Mississippi (US)
The gathering of trainers is hosted by Cooperation Jackson
a project that is igniting a lot of excitement in the U.S. as well as
internationally as it is part of a broader vision to transform the local
and regional economy and society through a political/electoral
strategy, grassroots organizing through people’s assemblies, and building the SE through a cooperative network consisting of four interdependent institutions:
a federation of local worker cooperatives, a cooperative incubator, a
cooperative education and training center, and a cooperative bank or
For these reasons, RIPESS’ education working group has decided to
collaborate with Cooperation Jackson to organize this gathering of
trainers and to start developing a Solidarity Economy Curriculum that
can be used in the future by people from all around the world.
RIPESS will publish some updates during the gathering of trainers on our social media accounts
Twitter and Facebook. So, stay tuned to follow the development of the
SE Curriculum and all participants’ learnings during these four intense
The members of the Erasmus SSE IVET 2 (1) programme met in Bergamo from 14 to 18 October for a joint working week on the construction of a training of trainers module. This module is intended to transmit the fundamentals of the Social and Solidarity Economy within the initial and vocational training of the countries participating in this programme. The project began with a study phase on the presence and quality of SSE classes in initial and vocational training, which showed that they were most often absent.
Phase 2 of the programme is to design a module for transferring essential information to train trainers to be included in their curricula. At the end of the training, trainers should be familiar with SSE, its principles and values, but also its practices, understand the role that SSE can play in the local development of their community as a vehicle for change, see the future of the world of work in SSE, actively participate in a continuous and dynamic training process.
It is not only a question of transmitting content but also (and even more so) of proposing methodologies and postures that illustrate the positioning of the SSE with regard to basic values such as democracy at work, respect and welcoming everyone, the principle of cooperation and the synergy of skills.
The participants shared their materials based on a framework developed by Technet, Dock, and Solidarius, which also provided the welcome and entertainment.
The participatory process made it possible, on the basis of collective reflection, to collect the contributions of each participant, which will be reviewed and validated by the group. Thus, a tool was developed to support the observation of field experiences that the group had the privilege of meeting thanks to Solidarius’ proximity to the actors. The choice of Bergamo was motivated by the fact that the city and its region are rich in highly structured and networked experiences of solidarity economy.
We visited the Cooperativa Ruah, a recycling plant that employs people with integration difficulties, particularly migrants. A full day was devoted to visiting the IRIS cooperative, created in 1978 by a small group that wanted to promote quality agriculture and local consumption and then set up a processing plant to control the entire production chain. We met one of its founders, Maurizio Gritta, in a newly built, ultra-modern factory. He shared with us the history of the cooperative, which pragmatically organized its evolution while maintaining the essential principles that were at the origin of the original group of actors: not to poison the land, to create jobs, especially for women, to maintain a direct relationship with consumers, to maintain collective ownership of the means of production considered as a common. A central objective is also to ensure a fair price for the producer and consumer. By following, the visit to the farm made it possible to better understand the link between all the activities, particularly those that consist in raising awareness of the solidarity economy through interventions with children aged 7 to 11 in their schools, to ensure the future in a way.
After a delicious meal on the spot, we were in electronic contact with one of the Banca Etica officials who presented us with the differences that distinguish this bank from the traditional banking system, non-speculation, lending and specific support for people that the ordinary system rejects, transparency of governance, a much narrower range of salaries.
The evenings were an opportunity to enjoy the hospitality of equally cooperative places where we had our meals while getting to know people involved in the SSE: Circolino a cooperative restaurant located in the Citta Alta, after a short tour in this ancient and fortified part of the city. La Cooperativa Sociale Arete of organic agriculture, la Porta del Parco an agricultural complex located on the territory of the Municipality of Hub and at the gates of the Regional Park of Collines, composed of a vineyard, a green area that houses social and collective gardens and a structure used as a restaurant and point of sale for local and organic products.
Everywhere, we were able to appreciate not only the engagement of the actors in the development of social and ecological activities, but also the kindness, friendliness and cheerfulness that prevail in all these places and it must be said that it is comforting after days of intense work dedicated to the transmission of our common issue, social and solidarity economy.
(1) 1Technet /Germany, MES/ France, Dock / Greece, Solidarius / Italy, APDES/ Portugal, CRIES / Roumania, RIPESS EU
Several members of Ripess Europe participated in the 10th edition of
the ILO Academy on SSE that was held in Turin, Italy, from the 3rd to
the 7th June 2019. We expanded our knowledge on frameworks and
discussed SSE and the Future of Work along with over 100 people from
all around the world responsible for the promotion of SSE, including
policy-makers, practitioners, researchers and representatives of
workers’ and employers’ organizations.
Some insight on the issues addressed
The very well organized and diverse program included discussions
about policies in different countries and contexts, challenges and
opportunities, study visits, but also how the social and solidarity
economy relates to social and environmental issues, such as the care,
informal, green, rural economy and gender equality.
The main three key topics addressed and linked to social solidarity
Future of work
Human-in-command approach to technology
Social inclusion of vulnerable groups
What we’ve learned
Admitting each session and discussion included useful information and
conclusions, we’ve chosen to focus on some points that we consider
to be fundamental:
As emerged from several cases two pre-conditions have to be met in
order for SSE to be visible and develop on a national level: related
legislation and supporting financial instruments
SSE development on a national level is significant but not
sufficient enough. It also requires the involvement of local
authorities, as many cities experience a transition in their social
and economic landscape. Examples of the different local realities
are the cities of: Milan (Italy), Amsterdam (Netherlands), Guro
(Seoul), and Kef (Tunisia)
The issue on defining SSE remains up-to-date and is always a subject
of creative debate! Following four possibilities on defining SSE
were pointed out from Marcelo Vieta:
Accommodates to the capitalist system; fills in gaps due to
dwindling state and growing inequalities (neoliberal view)
Reforms or mitigates capitalist system (social-democratic view)
Rethinks and re-configures socio-economic life (revolutionary view)
Already existing community activities and assets, growing the SSE
as a plurality of the economy in ”diverse economies” (see:
Elgue,2015; J.K. Gibson-Graham, 2005; Miller, 2010; EURICSE; EMES;
The importance of education and training in SSE and SSE-related
subjects was pointed out as a need by the majority of the
participants in different occasions during the 10th ILO
Another point is if the private sector could play a positive role in
transforming the socio-economic model. Some examples in
collaborating across the boundaries of private and non-private
sector were presented. Could such examples form sustainable models
or how imperative are such collaborations remains open to discuss in
SSE doesn’t guarantee that everything will be right (Jean Fabre)!
Indeed, as we pointed out during the ILO Academy in numerous
occasions, working in a different way, having co-ownership and
self-management is a imperative, but this alone doesn’t change the
socio-economic paradigm. We need to shift the focus from the
enterprise to the community and think in a completely different way
(as Jason Nardi pointed out).
How does a successful initiative or cooperative look like? Do we
define success by the numbers of members? Do we define success by the
profit generated the previous year? Sustainability is not only on
being profitable today, but it’s on being sustain on economic,
social and environmental terms. We need to redefine success. Success
can and should be defined by the social change, the social outcomes
and social impact accomplished through the economic activity.
Moreover we need to concentrate on communities: on the needs of the
territory, on how to transform our economies on each different
context and not to take a blueprint that comes from an unspecified
model of the market. Only then can we really change the paradigm from
a growth market oriented paradigm to a community well being and that
is the real transformation we are looking forward.
The ILO academy was organized by the International Training Centre of
the ILO (ITCILO). Partners: Italian Ministry of Labour and Social
Policies and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International
Cooperation, European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social
Enterprise (EURICSE), International Centre of Research on Social and
Cooperative Economy (CIRIEC), and Fondazione Italia Sociale.
From 24 to 26 June 2019, RIPESS was in Geneva (Switzerland) to attend this important international conference where participants discussed the results and role of the Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
How can the Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDOs)? Can local SSE projects have an impact on global development? The answers to these and many other questions were discussed at the International Conference RIPESS members presented several papers and organized the parallel session “Building the SSE movement from local to global”.
It was an opportunity to explain the alternative development model advocated by RIPESS, as well as the process of global convergence that is currently being promoted with the World Social Forum of Transformative Economies 2020.
And then we had two presentations from RIPESS members. First, Yvon Poirier of RIPESS North America presented the case study “Association for Sarva Seva Farms – ASSEFA-India: 50 Years of Sustainable Development”. You can consult the complete document here
Then, Denison Jayasooria, President of ASEC – RIPESS Asia, presented “Community Forestry Projects in Malaysia: People’s Participation in the Implementation of the ISF”. The full document is available here
The second day began with a presentation by Judith Hitchman, President of Urgenci, Community Supported Agriculture around the world and member of the RIPESS Board of Directors, entitled “How Community Supported Agriculture contributes to the realisation of Solidarity Economy in the SDGs”. It showed the deep ramifications that are possible in the specific sector of agriculture supported by the community and SWM. The full text of the article can be found here.
In the closing session, RIPESS members Judith, Denison and Laura Cicciarelli highlighted the main messages of the past two days with the OECD and the United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD).
Overall, the evaluation made at the closing session was that, throughout the two-day conference, the contribution of SSE to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals was highlighted in the case studies presented.
For the future, it was agreed that the UNTFSSE, to which RIPESS actively contributes, should transmit messages from the field and prepare to work on a UN resolution on #ESS.
The 10th International Labour Organisation Academy on Social and Solidarity Economy took place in Turin from the 3rd to the 7th June. It was been co-organised by the International Labour Organisation, celebrating its first century of existence this year. Looking at the Future of Work, it was an opportunity given to people interested or already engaged in the promotion of SSE around the world, including policy-makers, practitioners, researchers, representatives of workers and employers’ organisations to exchange on the need to impact the economy through SSE in a sustainable perspective. More than 100 people from all the world were involved (except for Oceania), carrying their different knowledge, traditions, cultures, frameworks and needs. Thanks to an agreement with the organisers, four members of the RIPESS Europe network from Portugal, Greece and Italy were able to attend, as well as Beatrice Alain (Chantier de l’Economie sociale, Quebec) and Jason Nardi (RIPESS coordinator) who were among the invited speakers.
The core of the Academy reflected our market and labour situation, focusing on the challenges we are facing in several fields: economy, technology, environment, climate change, democracy, participation, and others. Despite the diversity of participants, both in terms of origins and in terms of career orientations, everybody agreed on one specific and essential point: the system we are living in is not sustainable at all and the solutions promoted by various governments and the main stakeholders are not relevant. For this reason, the Academy put forward several important issues comprising different form of enterprises and/or organisations of the SSE (SSEEOs – Social and Solidarity Economy Enterprises and Organisations), the legal framework existing or that could be promoted in the different countries both at the local and national level, financial mechanisms and tools, and many others.
The report entitled « Work for a Brighter Future » written by the Global Commission on the Future of Work served as an illustration of the advocated work model. That is is a « human-centred agenda for the future of work that strengthens the social contract by placing people and the work they do at the centre of economic and social policy and business practice».
It is important to move from
the local scale and, particularly, from the local expertise and
practices, highlighting the specificities of each territory. During
five days, many practitioners presented their initiatives and their
experiences, sharing knowledge and different form of innovation and
receiving several comments and suggestions. Different experiences
developed in different territories but all guided from similar values
and principals, those of the SSE paradigm, enhanced in contrast with
the neoliberal one.
The importance of the
“practices” has been highlighted together
with the study fields, organised during the second day in the cities
of Turin, Ivrea and Cuneo. It gave the opportunity to the
participants to discover
the implementation of SSE through virtuous experiences.
There is still a long way to go
and probably one of the things that have to be improved is the
construction of a common vocabulary and a common framework to
implement and develop SSE in a transversal and transectorial way. It
is important to work in both direction: the bottom-up, implementing
and supporting local initiatives, and the top down, working with the
local and national authorities in promoting
SSE laws and policies. Thus,
as a participant
said during the closing plenary,
we need to
work on “SSE in all policies”.
conference of CIRIEC took place in Bucharest, Romania from the
6th-9th June 2019 with an ambitious title : « Moving
towards a new Economic system ». CIRIEC (International
Centre of Research and Information on the Public, Social and
Cooperative Economy) is a network of international scientific and
research organizations, set up in 1947.
Dražen Šimleša, our network coordinator, represented RIPESS Europe in several sessions as well as in the International Scientific Commission “Social and Cooperative Economy” of CIRIEC and participated in the meeting that took place before the official opening of the conference.
It was a special occasion since for the first time the conference was organised in Central Eastern Europe, a region of the continent which has its own historical challenges and opportunities for SSE, given the fact that Social and Solidarity Economy brings in a new paradigm of governance founded on democracy and participation.
discussed about the role of SSE and the current global challenges,
with a ‘transformational vision’, focusing on themes such as workers
owned enterprises and the future of decent work, providing food
sustainability, sovereignty and access , SSE eco-systems-governance,
networks, visibility and policies. Thus, a good place for RIPESS to
be among other 250 participants from all over the world.
Hopefully this will bring closer practitioners and social movements activists for SSE with scientific sector that can support us with their researches and analyses.
(TAPAS – There Are Platforms as Alternatives) is a research program financed by the French Ministry of Labour and the Ministry of Solidarities and Health, led jointly by the CEPN (Centre d’économie et de gestion de l’Université Paris 13 – UMR CNRS 7234) and the association, Coop des Communs.
Created in 2016, La Coop des Communs comprises commons and SSE practitioners, as well as researchers and public actors. Its goal is to help build an ecosystem conducive to the emergence of commons. “Allies, Commons and ESS can constitute, not residual solutions, but real pillars for sustainable development in a pluralist vision of the economy” (La Coop des Communs, 2018). La Coop des Communs is organised into work groups, including the Plateformes en Communs (Platforms in Commons) group. This took shape around digital platforms open to sharing practices in order to “bring together a set of emerging or existing actors who share these values, within an open community” and “build a mutualised toolbox aimed at operationality, and enable the appropriation of the new peer-to-peer possibilities offered by digital technology”(La Coop des Communs, 2017). The group’s objective is to create, run and equip the platform community in line with a code of ethics based on five principles: inclusive governance, equitable sharing of value, data ethics, production of commons, and cooperation among members. By cross-comparing several sampling criteria (including diversity of the development levels of the platform’s activity and the sectors of activity), the team selected nine sharing platforms.
The project is based on the empirical study of nine SSE platforms, analysing substantive, social solidarity economy mechanisms they develop. The results will propose a typology of collaborative platforms according to the economic models on which they are based and modes of treatment of the contributors to the functioning of the platform they propose. Emphasis will be placed on the combination of these two dimensions as well as on socioeconomic solutions and innovations to overcome the obstacles encountered by the actors. Description of the project is in French but the results will be available in English as well.
See more (Fr) : https://cepn.univ-paris13.fr/tapas/
The Economy and Management of the Commons Master degree has just opened in Paris 13, dedicated to the political economy of the commons, offering adjusted alternative management training. Fostering a democratic economy, the social solidarity economy is a crucial ally to the development of the commons. Their combination calls for dedicated and appropriate training: this Master is a first step. Commons call for an appropriate governance implementing a bundle of rights that will enable a diversity of stakeholders to take part to the commons; organizational forms and work organisation are to be tailored to the democratic aspiration of commoners. Those different aspects are breaking up with the extreme private property regime of appropriation, self-regulated market competition, and the hierarchical management.
13 and the CEPN Lab in particular have been dedicated to foster the
commons development, actively cooperating with commons initiatives,
networks of SSE & commons, alternative digital platforms, etc.,
through research programs.