(REAS Red de Redes, Spain)

Social Solidarity Economy (SSE) entities in Spain have submitted for the fourth consecutive year to the Social Balance, a participatory process that allows them to carry out a diagnosis of their functioning, as an indispensable tool for defining strategies for improvement in the social and environmental spheres, and to be able to be more coherent each year with the founding principles of the SSE.

With this Social Balance process that the SSE entities have been carrying out for years, the aim is to generate a collective process of evaluation and awareness of the principles defined in the Charter of Principles of the Solidarity Economy and which mark the identity of all the entities that form part of the SSE and which are therefore the object of evaluation in this report. The instruments and variables considered in the tool used have a double objective: to promote the internal improvement of the organizations, and to generate annual aggregated reports with which to make visible the importance and sustainability promoted by the SSE enterprises.

Since 2014, in REAS RdR, a representative SSE network that brings together nearly 700 entities from all over Spain and promotes this tool, has been implemented all over Spain a process of harmonization of indicators of Social Balance and Audit systems, developed starting from the different territories, thanks to the joint work developed through the Social Audit Working Group of REAS RdR.
For this process of confluence, the technological platform that XES (Xarxa de Economía Solidaria de Catalunya) had developed within the framework of its project “Enseña el corazón” was adopted in 2018. This computer tool for evaluating the impact and accountability of the entities associated with the XES, initiated in 2008, allows the entities associated or linked to this network to self-evaluate their performance on the basis of variables grouped into different blocks: economic performance, professional quality, democracy, equality, quality of work, the environment and social commitment.

A total of 446 entities from all over Spain participated in the Social Audit 2018 process (whose data correspond to the fiscal year 2017) (81% of them are members of REAS), which have reached a global turnover of close to 457 million euros and have a staff of close to 12,000 workers, 20,000 volunteers and more than 150,000 members. The following results can be highlighted from the aggregate report of this self-evaluation process:
Equity: there are 58% of women in positions of responsibility, the salary difference is 2.7 and 63% of entities promote an inclusive language.
Work: 74% improve legal work-life balance permits, 50% have an internal labour relations management regulation and 62% create spaces for emotional attention and care for workers.
Environmental sustainability: 91% apply responsible consumption criteria in the purchase of products, 32% are entities with environmental management and 49% have renewable energy.
Cooperation and commitment with the local : 65% operate with ethical finances, 13% of their purchases are made within the framework of the Social Market and 15% in non-profit entities.
Non-profit: 58% of income comes from invoicing compared to 30% from subsidies. Regarding the distribution of profits, 75% goes to reserves, compensation of losses or own investments, 13% to initiatives for the construction of common goods and 4% to investments of financial entities of the SSE.

Based on these and other data derived from the Social Balance 2018, the aim is to give visibility to the importance of SSE companies in Spain, but above all, to convey to citizens the extent to which this type of organisation represents a more responsible business model. Although this report does not offer a comparison of the data offered with those that would be reached in businesses in general, its simple reading points to the responsibility of the SSE entities, at least clearly in many of the aspects analysed, such as participation, equality and concern for the worker within the organisations, or their levels of cooperation and social concern.
The proposed tools and indicators must continue to be developed in order to provide the organisations that participate in it with a useful tool for self-diagnosis and the identification of important areas for improvement. REAS RdR trusts that the information obtained will contribute to transferring to the citizens the proposals behind the social and alternative economic model, and the need to continue betting on it.