Abstract from the contribution to the Strasbourg European Summit written by Judith Hitchman for RIPESS Europe and the networks cited below

This contribution is the result of the collaborative work within different European and French networks specialised in ecological and digital transitions that all belong to social and solidarity economy.
It has been compiled from all the exchanges that were possible within ten different conferences dealing with social and solidarity economy and transitions during the European summit of social economy organised in Strasbourg on May 5th-6th, 2022.
The contribution includes several concrete proposals that aim to influence European policies in favour of social and solidarity economy initiatives working towards the ecological and digital transitions.

Towards an ecological and solidarity transition

Achieving carbon neutrality by 2050, as stated within the European Green Deal, is a great
challenge for Europe. It is an important a means of improving European citizens’ wellbeing
by fostering economic models that will be more respectful for biodiversity and climate,
decrease the pressure on primary resources, reduce pollution and waste production, be
motivated by solidarity, and that will foster the creation of local jobs and services that
meet the specific needs of each territory.
The realisation of the Green Transition will not be feasible as long as the sole indicator for
evaluating the performance is that of the monetary value, of any given sector, as this leads
to a model based on the personal accumulation of wealth and a society of excesses: over-
production, over-consumption, etc. It is more urgent than ever to introduce and
generalise principles of sobriety, as these are the only way to build a society that will have
fewer negative impacts on our environment and on all of humanity.
Social and solidarity economy is based on cooperation, solidarity, the creation of collective
rather than individual wealth, care for nature and biodiversity, and local inclusion, as well
as the best interests of humanity. It has already demonstrated that it is completely
possible to reconcile environmental respect, social utility, and economic activities. In fact,
social and solidarity economy has been a real pioneer in different economic sectors of the
ecological transition within territories: sustainable agriculture and food systems, reuse
and circular economy, energy transition, sustainable mobility, environmental education…

This is why it is urgent to implement a legal framework and economic measures that will
encourage environmentally respectful initiatives, and penalise initiatives that would not
be environmentally friendly: facilitate access to public procurement, implement
favourable fiscal measures, etc. All these measures will have to address the specificity of
social and solidarity economy as a whole.

Here is the list of proposals :

  • Proposal 1: Design adapted legal and financial mechanisms for social and
    solidarity economy organisations working towards the ecological transition
  • Proposal 2: For a sustainable and quality agriculture that addresses the right
    to healthy, nutritious food for all, and territorial food self-sufficiency and
    food sovereignty
  • Proposal 3: From eco-design to products’ end-of-life, towards a circular
  • Proposal 4: Implement energy transition based on sobriety, the energy
    efficiency of buildings and renewable energies, essentially produced by
    community-owned systems
  • Proposal 5: For a European sustainable mobility by putting bicycle and rail
    traffic at the heart of mobility planning
  • Proposal 6: Generalising eco-building solutions by spreading skills and
    adapting education and training

Towards a collaborative and responsible digital model for the economy of tomorrow

In the framework of the European Action Plan for Social Economy, on which the Social
Good Accelerator has worked, and especially of the need to see new ideas emerge to
strengthen the resilient capacities of all, social and solidarity economy necessarily has a
role to play.
However, as our study – “Cooperation between social utility and tech actors in Europe” –
has shown, most social and solidarity economy organisations – whatever their statutes –
encounter obstacles in their development similar to those of very small enterprises, with
additional difficulties linked to their lack of profitability, the financing of projects to the
detriment of structures, and the lack of sectoral organisation on these issues.
To meet the challenges of today and tomorrow, the Social Good Accelerator believes that
the digital transition can be an opportunity to finally scale up the European social
economy, provided that it creates real alternatives and new economic, social and
environmental opportunities. To activate this lever, the Social Good Accelerator is
promoting and developing digital mediation, UX design and open data.

The proposals are followed by 37 concrete demands. You can read the whole document here: Social and solidarity economy, a driving force towards green and digital transitions_VF.

Networks involved in the proposal:

Coordination : ESS France

  • General : Social Economy Europe
  • Agriculture and Food : RIPESS Europe
  • Circular economy and reuse : RREUSE
  • Energy : REScoop
  • Transport : European Cyclists’ Federation and Railcoop
  • Ecobuilding : Fédération Ecoconstruire
  • Digital transition : The Social Good Accelerator

As well as

  • Urgenci
  • Eurocoop
  • Réseau Cocagne
  • Enercoop
  • Réseau National des Ressourceries et Recycleries
  • Emmaus Europe
  • Envie
  • FUB – le vélo au quotidien
  • La Fédération des Entreprises d’Insertion
  • Le Labo de l’ESS