Social and Solidarity Economy
Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) groups together economic activities of social utility. According to the law of July 31, 2014, an activity belongs to SSE if it fulfils at least one of the following objectives: support to people in situation of fragility, fight against inequalities, contribution to Sustainable Development. The SSE is also characterized by its mobilized operating principles and resources.
The operating principles are part of the Charter of Social Economy of 1980 specifying:
- That the purpose of the provided service is prioritized over profit making
- Governance by members at general meetings – 1 person, 1 vote
- The primacy of the person and the corporate object over the capital held: profits are primarily invested rather than distributed.
The mobilized resources integrate reciprocal exchange principles (“gift-for-donation” between stakeholders) and non-market exchanges (volunteering), in addition to market exchanges of goods and services.
Some statuses (cooperative, mutual, associative and foundation) are specific to SSE bases. More and more activities realized by actors with various statuses are part of SSE, since commercial companies have a specific certification such as B corp, adopted for example by Nature & Découverte.
|Examples of actors||Status|
|Biocoop (distributor of organic products)||Cooperative|
|La Mutualité Sociale Agricole (MSA)||Mutual fund|
|AMAP network (Associations for the support of a country agriculture)||Association|
|Nina et Danielle Carasso Foundation||Foundation|
SSE is the glue of many social innovations such as solidarity finance (for example ‘La Nef’ cooperative, ‘Finansol’ or ‘Caisse solidaire’ associations) or the so-called ‘very social’ housing. It promotes the integration of solidarity between generations, territories and links in the supply chains. Fair trade (for example, the brands ‘Ethiquable’, ‘Alter-Eco’ or ‘Artisans du monde’) is a form of SSE. Short circuits, through the tightening of links between production and consumption, are also the expression of SSE to which is often added an agroecological dimension.
References to explore
Utting P. 2013. What is Social and Solidarity Economy and why does it matter ? : web page.