by Chloé SÉCHER, RTES, France

Although more and more elected officials are now aware of the role that SSE can play in the sustainable development of their territory, the question often remains how to do it?

The RTES is a French network of local authorities that act for the development of the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) on their territory. It brings together nearly 150 local authorities of different territorial scales, from regional to local. RTES works to strengthen the place of SSE in public policies, through the sharing of good practices and the search for conditions to improve the policies implemented. RTES has been supporting elected officials and technicians of local authorities since 2001 through the organisation of thematic or territorial meetings, training courses for elected officials and local authority staff, and the creation of resources and tools.

In the context of local elections in France (municipal elections in 2020, departmental elections in 2021, regional elections in 2021), the RTES is developing the MunicipalESS, DepartmentalESS and RegionalESS kits, which aim to raise awareness of the SSE among candidates and then equip newly elected officials:

– by presenting SSE, the interest in supporting it locally in relation to the competences of each level of authority (local, departmental and regional), and by giving the first keys for the implementation of a structured proactive policy;

– by detailing the principles and levers of the different levels of local authorities to support the development of the SSE (co-construction of public policies, public orders, land, territorial coordination, etc.)

– by illustrating very concretely how the different thematic public policies can integrate SSE (mobility, food, city policy, waste, business revitalisation, etc.).

Each kit is made up of twenty or so practical double-sided sheets, each of which provides a summary and concrete presentation of a lever of action or a sectoral theme through advice, good practices and examples of implementation of these levers by local authorities.

As an example, here is the composition of the RegionalESS kit:

Introductory sheets :

  • Social and solidarity economy: what is it?
  • Why set up a policy to support the social and solidarity economy?
  • The social and solidarity economy at the heart of regional competences

Leverage sheets :

  • Knowing and promoting SSE actors
  • Regional conference, co-construction and support for network leaders
  • Contractualisation methods with SSE actors
  • Inclusion of SSE in regional economic development plans
  • Citizenship & participatory democracy
  • Promote territorial economic cooperation
  • Mobilisation of European funds in favour of SSE
  • Territorial animation

Thematic sheets :

  • Economic development
  • Social innovation & citizen research
  • Complementary local currencies & solidarity finance
  • Training, apprenticeship & employment
  • Environmental transition & SSE
  • Transport, sustainable mobility & SSE
  • Culture & SSE
  • Agriculture, sustainable food & SSE
  • Tourism & SSE

The RTES kits were developed in direct collaboration with elected officials with SSE delegations and with SSE actors. They respond to a real need of elected officials who often, at the beginning of their mandate and although convinced, do not always know how to act. As Mahel Coppey, President of the RTES and Vice-President for SSE and the Circular Economy of Nantes Métropole, said, “I would have liked to have had a tool like this when I took office”.

In a context of ecological and social emergency, this economy of proximity and transition that is the SSE must now develop fully in the territories. The next elected representatives have a major role to play in supporting this development and the RTES hopes that the MunicipalESS, DepartmentalESS and RegionalESS kits will help them in this.

(See also the article in Ripess Europe February 2020 newsletter or on Kit DépartementalESS , Kit Municipal’ESS, Kit Regional’ESS)