Article by ENSIE

During 2021, ENSIE, the European Network of Social Integration Enterprises, started a new campaign, #BuyResponsible!

It all started with an observation from ENSIE’s members: a lot of work integration social enterprises (WISEs) are working in the area of waste management, circular economy or social farming. At the same time WISEs are defined by three identifying pillars: they are enterprises whose main objective is the social and professional integration of disadvantaged people, they are at the core of the economic system and present a strong pedagogical dimension. Therefore, WISEs working in the above-mentioned sectors have, at the same time a social and an environmental impact and buying from those WISEs is socially and environmentally responsible. Furthermore, those WISEs have an important role to play in the completion of three Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as they participate to the SDG n°8 “Decent work and economic growth”, n°10 “Reduce inequalities” and n°12 “Responsible consumption and production”. From there ENSIE launched the #BuyResponsible campaign demonstrating the role WISEs are playing in the green and just transition.

The next step was to reflect on who can buy from a WISE. There are three main potential buyers: consumers, enterprises (through procurement) and public authorities (through public procurement). The decision was made to try to reach the three actors, through events and campaigns.

ENSIE organized so far two events in the framework of this campaign. The first on June 16th that focused “Circular economy in the value chain of social economy organisations – WISEs working towards more responsible consumption” to showcase how WISEs can be crucial actors in the development of a more responsible consumption and production. The second on September 21st, entitled “Supporting more inclusive labour markets? #WISEs #BuyResponsible” focused on public policies, collaboration between enterprises and WISES as well as on socially responsible public procurement and demonstrated how to support WISEs and buy from them.

In the framework of this campaign, ENSIE also updated its WISEs Database where everyone can see the WISEs that are around them and connect with them. It offers the possibility to check WISEs depending of their localization as well as their activity. Overall, more than 1500 WISEs from all over Europe are listed there, and everyone can go and check what products and services they are offering.

This period is crucial for WISEs as it is the time to acknowledge their role in the green and just transition as, at the EU level, legislations are under consideration concerning both the social economy sector, with the Social Economy Action Plan that will be published by the European Commission on December, 8th and the discussions around the Green Deal and the Just Transition. This is why the next step of ENSIE campaign will be to raise awareness directly at the European Parliament of the importance to #BuyResponsible!