The News from Solidarity Economy in Europe - November 2012
The solidarity economy... a project of society to be valued
if the European Union keeps on advocating for financial orthodoxy, it
now shows some flexibility towards a more human capitalism and (a
little) more concern with its effects on society. So does the
initiatives embracing the concepts of social responsibility, social
innovation, social entrepreneurship, and social business. The last ones
are booming and have totally mastered the art of communication with the
(very small) financial support from the classical companies and their
foundations. On the basis of "there is no more public money, long live
private direct redistribution" (and the tax benefits that goes with it).
While these organizations are on top (of the media), and we cannot but
welcome these initiatives that promote social entrepreneurship,
solidarity economy and its older cousin, the social economy, struggle to
show the modernity of their initiatives which are not only focused on
improving their competitiveness on the market but to encourage the
social links, to create jobs and improve the well-being of the
communities in the territories. The social and solidarity economy is
largely based on values of the workers’ emancipation, collective
governance and economic democracy. More recently, they have also shown
real concern on environmental issues, the balance between North/South,
equity, social inclusion, etc. This is a tangible modern project for a
society where the free and undistorted competition should not be the
base of actions!
We must therefore strengthen the visibility of our activities; bond them
in networks and set up strategies of inter-cooperation. This is what we
have started doing within the RIPESS Europe with our Executive
Secretary, Pol Vidal, who is going to meet the members in their
territories: to reinforce this approach and collect what their
aspirations and needs are, in order to be able to provide common
perspectives for the future, which will be focused on the territories
and will encourage us to work together. After a visit to Catalonia, it
will be the turn of the French region of the Midi-Pyrénées, then of
Hungary. Outcomes will follow in subsequent newsletters.
In the meantime, good reading of this newsletter n°3, with a special focus on Luxembourg.
General coordinator of the RIPESS Europe
The campaign’s goals are to:
1. – Raise funds to further develop tools to help build the Social Market in Spain.
2. - Promote the Social Market and its structures to different audiences.
3. – Build synergy and cooperation between the various networks and
structures that make up the Social Market. Crowdfunding is a system of
funding through an internet platform, such as Goteo.org. All structures
or individuals can contribute, irrespective of whether they are or not
they are directly involved in building the social market.
Funding raise will help support:
• Web Development - 4000 €
• Preparation, editing and inclusion in a database of the guide criteria for a social market (Social Balance) - 5000 €
• Work coordination of Web content Konsumoresponsable.coop - 2200 €
• Hosting - 1190 €
Non-monetary contributions will be used to cover:
• Website Development
• Development of APP social currency
• Administration expenses and communication
We define the Social Market as a network of production, distribution and
consumption of goods and services that work on ethical, democratic,
ecological and solidarity principles, in a specified territory; it
includes both companies and other structures that are members of the
social and solidarity economy as well as consumers.
This project aims to develop instruments and tools that will facilitate
inter-cooperation and mutual support between consumers, traders and
companies seeking to provide a global economic response to the different
challenges that we face as civil society.
We also want to develop a web platform to provide information to
conscious consumers, participatory certification tools, development of
complementary currencies, meeting places between consumers and
The goods that are produced and distributed in the social market meet
three criteria: they are socially useful, environmentally sustainable
and have been produced fairly and democratically. We intend developing
participatory tools for certification.
In addition to producing goods and services, we understand that the
social market is a tool that generates collective learning, social and
technological innovation, social relationships and innovative projects.
The project consists of different tools for inter-cooperation between
the producers, distributors and consumers who are part of the project
and are organized within a legal framework. The most relevant features
1. The development of territorial structures for distribution and
consumption of goods and services produced according to social and
ecological principles. This allows ties between consumers and producers
to develop and helps foster communication and direct sales. These
regional networks will be organized as consumer cooperatives.
2. The development of a distribution network that links social markets
in the different territories, offering goods that are common to all,
such as financial products, insurance, fair trade products, cultural
products or free software. To do this, the main tool is the site www.konsumoresponsable.coop/,
an information platform on issues of responsible consumption and an
on-line site with extensive information on each of the products and
3. To promote the creation, development and consolidation of projects
and companies that promote self-development of people, access to
employment to those with fewer opportunities, respect for the
environment, commitment to the territory to which they belong and
cooperation, as principles of the economic and social activity.
4. The development of innovative tools that allow us to explore
alternative economic ways to the current system, and which are
beneficial for social development. These include the development of
complementary currency systems, a set of tools to facilitate
participatory certification of products and services and the creation of
channels of information, communication and consciousness-raising for
producers and consumers in order to facilitate responsible consumption.
The project is aimed to all those people who believe that it is
essential to build a space for the exchange of goods and services under
the principles of Solidarity Economy. Many people have been working on
this idea and now it is time to make it more operational, more
accessible, so that we can all participate.
The Network of Alternative and Solidarity Economy (www.economiasolidaria.org/)
was born in 1995, and in December 2000 became a network of networks
that brings together regional and sectoral networks. REAS is born from a
need recognised by a set of entities with a long history of working in
economic development initiatives that try to respond to the challenges
of the social, economic and cultural integration of a part of the
population, especially the most disadvantaged, and they were aware of
The need to strengthen ties and generate different approaches, to
facilitate and support feasible and lasting alternatives, was the
trigger for the increasing coordination which ended in the creation of
the network. Legally REAS is a non-profit association, non-partisan or
religious one, expanding its activity throughout the Spanish territory.
The Network is currently made up of more than 200 organizations that are
organised in regional networks. It interacts to the European and the
international level through RIPESS (Intercontinental Network for the
Promotion of the Social Solidarity Economy).
The social market has been a strategic key of the Alternative and
Solidarity Economy Network for more than five years, but now the
institutions and networks involved have enlarged, including the
following organisations: Ecologists in Action, Fiare Banking Ethics,
Coop57, ARC Insurance, Diagonal Newspaper, Fair Trade Ideas, Reas
Euskadi, Reas Navarra, Reas Aragon, XES, Reas Galicia, Reas Rioja, Reas
Madrid, Reas Murcia, as well as more than 80 entities which devote a
part of their human and financial resources to its development.
Pilot training program to ARIADNE
Project Contractor and Coordinator : Ecole Supérieure de Commerce et de Management de Tours-Poitiers (FR)
Partners : Centre d'Economie Sociale, HEC Liège (BE), MAC-Team aisbl -
Pôle européen des coopérations multi-acteurs (BE), European Research
Institute on Cooperative and Social Entreprises (IT), Budapest Business
School - Budapesti Gazdasági Főiskola (HU), The Open University (UK),
Centre International de Recherche et d'Information sur l'Economie
Publique, Sociale et Coopérative – France (FR)
After an intensive preparatory phase, the Hungarian Ariadne team has
successfully completed the pilot training from 23 May to 25 May 2012.
Almost 30 participants attended the course at a training centre in the
country near to Budapest.
The participants represented the different segments of social economy in
Hungary: there were present managers from associations, cooperatives,
foundations and social enterprises. The meeting was opened by Prof. A.
Vigvari from the Budapest Business School and Prof. F. Silva (ESCEM)
also was present on the first day of the program. (Eva G. Fekete a
member of RIPESS EU CoCo gave a lecture on the first day of the
The participants valued highly the modular approach of the training
program and enjoyed the interactive discussions. According to the
preliminary evaluation by the participants, a strong positive feedback
welcomed the structure and organisation of the 3-days program which was
assessed as really a professional one. The Hungarian Ariadne team is
exploiting the detailed evaluation of experiences and is prepared to
work on further developments of the training package.
Luxembourgish network Objectif Plein Emploi withdrew from the
collective dynamics of the Committee for Solidarity Economy because,
according to it, the governmental vision is focused rather on an
Anglo-Saxon vision of the SSE, which has not much to do with that
defended by OPE.
On the other hand, OPE is going through a critical financial period,
which is the consequence of depending on governmental funding. Indeed,
the Luxembourgish Ministry of Labour and Employment covers about 56% of
the costs generated by OPE’s services for social inclusion. The Ministry
of Labour intends to streamline the funding granted by imposing a ratio
coach/coached that none of the OPE’s organisations have.
We can see that the political and economic climate of solidarity economy
in Luxembourg is unfavourable to the vision defended by OPE, and will
bring about new forms and other ways of making the values of solidarity
economy develop in upcoming years.
Objectif Plein Emploi
In France, the Solidarity Economy Movement is a player in the development of an economy which is on a roll.
The French Solidarity Economy Movement (MES http://le-mes.org/)
develops national actions spread across the territories in order to
promote solidarity economy and foster the networking of its actors. It
benefits from an active commitment of its members, in particular through
thematic meetings, shared actions and a Board of Directors which meets
on a monthly basis.
The 15h of September 2012, as a result of the meetings of the National
Union of Associations and Structures for Local Development (UNADEL),
which was co-organizer of the event, the MES held its General Assembly
in Marseille. It was enriched by a series of workshops, with the
• Bond the solidarity economy movement, make the MES visible in the territories, and create unity in the movement.
• What alliances for social transformation? How to converge between the movements and what are the issues at stake?
• Economic citizenship and public policy.
It was the occasion for making the RIPESS known among the various civil society movements.
The collective reflection within the MES is even more useful since it
aims to foster that which is carried out at the national level within
the framework of the commissions working on the future French law of the
SSE. Indeed, the governmental change in France has brought about the
creation of a Ministry responsible for social and solidarity economy.
Several delegates of the MES met the Minister Benoît Hamon on Friday
21th of September 2012 in order to defend both the role of the MES as
the leading network in the development of the SSE and its contribution
to the process of developing the different axis of the oncoming law. The
MES has in particular suggested that the perimeter of the SSE is
defined by a reference table of good practices related to democratic
governance, by giving priority to human’s interests rather than capital,
territorial cooperation and the creation of socially useful activities.
In a similar fashion, in the prospect of the creation of a public
investment bank, the MES recognizes the need to enhance the citizens’
commitment to general interest by taking specific tax measures like
"solidarity savings", which should be stable and non-analogous to
conventional savings mechanisms, so as to give a strong message to all
the actors and a recognition that the citizens’ commitment is supported
by the public authorities.
Among the various thematic issues in which the MES is involved, the following are most prominent:
• The development of the BDIS (database of economic and solidarity
initiatives) since 2009 in 7 French regions; more than 2500 initiatives
• The implementation of solidarity platform for exchanges (PES) in the
regions of PACA and Auvergne to develop the internal market of the SSE
and cooperation between actors.
• The creation of platforms for granting socially responsible
consumption (in response to the call for projects AVISE) in 3 French
regions (Midi-Pyrénées, Nord Pas de Calais and PACA).
• The establishment of an international mapping of the SSE in
cooperation with 9 other countries within the framework of RIPESS
• The co-organization of the PTCE (territorial centres of economic cooperation) with the Lab of the SSE, CN-CRESS and the RTES.
The MES participates in the RIPESS’s Board and wishes to strengthen the development of the European network.
Changing Europe – starting from Firenze (10+10)
[Jason Nardi, Solidarius Italia]
Four days to meet, discuss, strategize, converge and share a common
roadmap and mobilisation at the European level: this is what Firenze
10+10 has been, a meeting 10 years from the first European Social Forum
of 2002. But different in many regards: not because there were less
people (at the end 4000 attended), but because the intentions and
outcomes expected were at a different level.
Let's start with an analysis shared by many: in Europe we are living in a
particularly dramatic time, a real "state of emergency". Democracy is
being emptied out and we are assisting passively at post-democratic
processes at national and supranational levels. European leaders created
a "constitutional process" imposed from above - with the European
Semester, the Fiscal pact, Six-Pack - which has concentrated
decision-making on public policies and taxes in the hands of an
oligarchy of governments, technocrats and the ECB (European Central
Bank), who are in turn subject to the dictates of the financial markets.
The neoliberal agenda, the real cause of the crisis, not only is not
dead, but it seems to be in perfect health: it is using the crisis to
destroy social and workers rights and to further privatize the commons
and public services. Finally, the most incredible "propaganda operation"
of our time is in full swing: governments and the "Market" are trying
to make people believe that the public debt was caused by excessive
social spending and higher wages, when it is the financial sector that
caused the crisis - and the fiscal deficit in the European Union is the
end result, not the cause.
A moment like this needs a strong social response: it is urgent to act
now, by joining forces, creating the conditions for a common social
response with a pan-European mobilization of citizens.
During the four days, the Fortezza da Basso in Florence became a the
center of the "other Europe" movement, the Europe of solidarity,
democracy, commons, environment, social justice and against the
austerity policies and neoliberal agenda. The Europe of water as a
common good and of a non commodified society. The Europe for local and
solidarity economy, food sovereignity and defense of the territories
under attack by large and useless infrastructures.
In Florence 10 +10, many different activists met: students and
precarious workers, various trade unionists (starting from the Etuc,
which assembles most of them), environmentalists and “no-tav” people
(against high speed trains under the Alps), women, migrants, etc.
Economists from ten countries launched the European Network of
progressive economists; the coalition that unites 80 trade unions and
movements across Europe launched the AlterSummit (in Athens in June
2013) and many new networks have started working at a European level,
from the one on public debt to the one on financiarisation of nature.
Now we have to look forward, to the next ten years, to imagine and build
the Europe that we want. Local pacts between communities of citizens
practicing solidarity economy in different forms together with virtuous
(or just “normal”) local authorities and institutions is the way to
construct from below, in a practical and effective way, another Europe.
Uniting the healthy social forces in our communities to create the
necessary critical mass to stop the spiral (financial speculation –
debt – austerity measures – impovershiment – recession – precariousness
and unemployment – conflict, which leads to the end of democracy) is
what we urgently need. And local pacts are a concrete answer.
Social economy intergroup meeting
Two visions of society were compared on the 6th
of September 2012 at the Social Economy intergroup reunion in the
European Parliament: that of the French Minister Benoît Hamon, supported
other speakers, and that of the representative of the European
The position of the French government
Benoît Hamon, French Minister responsible for Social and solidarity
Economy in the newly elected French government, has emphasised the
importance of the social and solidarity economy (SSE) in the fight
against the crisis and unemployment and in favour of social cohesion.
Some figures concerning the social and solidarity economy in France for the period 2010-2011:
Cooperatives account for 23% of new job creations
% of the employees (about 2,3 million people) work within the social
and solidarity economy (associations, cooperatives, mutual insurance
companies) and account for 10% 13% of the GDP.
He warned the audience against the liberal approach, stated that
alternative economic policies are possible and that the social and
solidarity economy should be supported for three reasons:
provides services needed by the citizens to complement the State’s
action, but not as a substitute, as well as to fill existing gaps in the
It creates lasting employment with fair wage scales
It is the most innovative actor in the social field
The projects of the Ministry in charge of the ESS in France are:
The creation of a public investment bank, were 500 million euros would be devoted to funding the social and solidarity economy.
The creation of 150.000 new jobs, many of which will be dedicated to the social and solidarity economy.
The development of a legal status common to all European mutual insurance companies.
introduction of specific clauses in public tenders that foster certain
methods of production, in particular with respect to social and
To encourage the take-over of commercial societies by the workers themselves, turning them into cooperatives.
He recalled that from an historical point of view the social and
solidarity economy was the last defence of the working classes against
distress. He mentioned three risks that need to be to avoided when
talking about social and solidarity economy:
social and solidarity economy it is not a system of production carried
out by the poor and for the poor; nor does it act to repair a social
Social business (green washing, social washing) are in no way related to the social and solidarity economy
The social and solidarity economy it is not a marginal economy and can be very competitive
Lastly, he recalled that social and solidarity economy initiatives have
the very same difficulties in terms of funding and finding new markets
for their goods and services if they are to survive; the fact of being a
cooperative or an association does not prevent difficulties per se.
The other speakers
Other speakers rallied to the positions expressed by the French Minister
Benoît Hamon. Ariadne Rodert (Sweden) from the European Economic and
Social Committee agrees on the fact that the cooperative and the
associative ways of production should be supported. Alain Coheur, the
president of the Social Economy Europe, underlined that social and
solidarity economy not only creates jobs but also qualified jobs. He too
does not recognise the social and solidarity economy within the social
business concept so cherished by the European Commission. Diana Dovgan,
from the European Confederation of Worker’s Cooperatives, Social
Cooperatives and Social and Participative Enterprises (CICOPA Europe),
the cooperatives have shown greater resilience to the crisis than
commercial societies, but this resilience is fading due to the lack of
support for the social and solidarity economy.
The relationship between the European Commission and the social and solidarity economy
The relationship between the European Commission and the social and
solidarity economy is not flexible; at present they tend to collide. On
the one hand, there is the issue of the Social Services of General
Interest (SSIG) and the State aid. On the other is the issue of public
SSIG contracts. In both cases, the social and solidarity enterprises are
directly affected and request that their specific needs regarding the
rules of European competence be taken into account. And in both cases
the European Commission advocates that any particular device is foreseen
by the Treaty to help the SSIG.
Pol Vidal – RIPESS Europe
In the corridors of the FAO
Local Sustainable Development
Although the Committee for Food Security reports directly to ECOSOC of
the UN General Assembly, it is housed in Rome, by the FAO. Reformed in
2009, it now includes the Civil Society Mechanism (www.csm4cfs.org),
the foremost and leading example of the increasing impact of civil
society within the UN institutions. The CSF itself was founded in, and
the brief is just what the name implies: to overcome food insecurity and
ensure that food is perceived as a human right.
Urgenci is not only a member of the CSM, our representative is also a
member of the Coordinating Committee, representing the Consumer
As such this is allowing Urgenci to now have increased input into policy
within the CSF. There now appears to be a very interesting window of
opportunity that is opening right now: the Director General, Mr. José
Grazia da Silva, in a meeting with the CSM Coordinating Committee
members emphasized the fact that not only does he wish to work more
closely with social movements, but that short distribution chains are
one of his particular concerns.
Andrea Calori and I were subsequently approached by the strategic
projects coordinator at FAO to have a meeting with the leaders of the
Food for Cities (Andrea already works with them). The idea is to try to
link one of the 2013-14 projects that the Civil Society Mechanism has
identified as important (local sustainable production and responsible
consumption and short distribution networks, GMOs, agroecology and
seeds…) and get a major study by a High Level Panel of Experts on the
subject, prior to a decision box at the CSF on these subjects. This
would have strategic links to other areas of policy such as Food Price
Volatility (local food nets break with agribusiness and trade
speculation on food…), nutrition (over- and under-nourished people are
often flip sides of the same coin…), food waste, and especially urban
and rural solidarity. It also relates to access to land (the
implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Tenure voted
on in May this year by the CFS), and Community Land Trusts… Solidarity
economy networks at global level are clearly a source for identifying
what formal and informal solutions exist that support the sustainable
local and territorial development of food nets and connect urban and
rural solutions to food security and food sovereignty in the future.
The Fabra i Coats space was too small. An estimated four or five
thousand people visited the Social and Solidarity Economy Fair organized
by the Catalan solidarity economy network in Barcelona on the 27th and 28th of October.
There were 114 exhibitors, about forty activities were planned
(including lectures, panel discussions, workshops and entertainment),
and, above all, a warm and optimistic atmosphere prevailed and nourished
the meetings, vibrant conversations and passionate debates held in the
1500 square meters of that warehouse, a living memory of the nineteenth
century’s Catalan textile industry.
The two major goals set up by the Catalan solidarity economy network
were efficiently met. The first one was to show citizens the full
diversity of the solidarity economy movement. The thousands of people
who attended the event, as well as the huge media coverage given
(television, radio, press, conversations in social networks ...), all
testify to this. The other one was of a more internal nature: to bond
the actors of the solidarity economy, whether they are cooperatives or
associations, whether they are focused on cooperative production,
responsible consumption, fair trade, ethical finance, or the promotion
of social currency, within the same family and demonstrate that they all
stand for the social and solidarity economy, an embryonic but tangible
alternative to capitalism.
What were the keys to success? As usual, a variety of different factors
contributed. First of all, was the silent work of the Catalan
Solidarity Economy network over the years, participating in lectures,
organizing workshops, weaving complicity and sharing fights with other
social movements. Secondly, and there is no doubt about the fact that
the harsh economic situation to which we are subjected today,
increasingly deprives the capitalist economy of social legitimacy, and
forces people to look for alternative ways at both personal and
collective level to find solutions to mass unemployment and social
frustration. Finally, it also contributed to the success of the way in
which the event itself was designed: it was planned as a fair that
included a wide range of exhibitors, and the use of its own currency
throughout the meeting, the Ecosol, which undoubtedly was a huge
success, as the media reported.
Now that the fair is over, the Catalan solidarity economy network is
facing the challenge of finding new stimulating ways to carry forward
all the energy generated by the event. The creation of a solidarity
economy network of producers and consumers exchanging among them through
the Ecosol ─a project called MESC (Catalan social market) ─ should
contribute to further structuring and expanding the sector.
The Fair sets up a milestone for Catalan solidarity economy. It was
like the coming-out of a social movement that is configured as broad,
transformational and determined.
The Minister of the solidarity economy
Since 2009, Luxembourg has a Minister responsible for the solidarity
economy, within the Ministry of Economy and Foreign Trade. After a first
public conference in 2010, the Minister exposed the first “Action Plan
for the development of the solidarity economy in Luxembourg (PLES 2012).
It defines 4 axes (Carry out an awareness campaign, Facilitate the
establishment of a Committee to bring together the sector’s actors,
Support solidarity entrepreneurship and set up a place of mediation).
The main actors of the third sector and of the social initiatives for
employment, as well as the mutual insurance companies, gathered in a
Committee which, under the aegis of the Ministry and under the
supervision of the Henri Tudor Public Research Centre, works to define
the identity of the social and solidarity economy, to develop articles
as a representative organization and develop an agenda.The network
Objectif Plein Emploi, which does not share the governmental outlook,
withdrew from this collective dynamic [see article by Gilles Dacheux].
The challenge is to enlarge this dynamic so as to take account of the
full diversity of the social and solidarity economy and particularly to
enhance the solidarity economy, even if it remains peripheral in the
country... The Ministry’s action comes with the scope of the European
Commission’s view, which consists of promoting social entrepreneurship.
It also supports a project to back up social and solidarity
entrepreneurial initiatives called 1,2,3 Go Social, in partnership with
Business Initiative a.s.b.l... It co-finances the ESF project of INEES
called Social Actors Training in Self-management for the Solidarity
Economy, and the ESF project of OPE called ACCES.lu focused on the
well-being’s indicators and on social cohesion which will result in a
national survey in 2013. The Ministry should give a little financial
help to allow the recruitment of a coordinator of what will be called
the Luxembourgish Union of the Social and Solidarity Economy. The
start-up is planned for the spring of 2013.
Eric Lavillunière - INEES
Soon a European network for solidarity economy training within the RIPESS Europe network
With the Social Actors Training in Self-management for the Solidarity
Economy - FASAGES - based in Luxembourg, these are now 16 participants
who are part of this group which gradually builds up its collective
dynamics. Inspired by the methodology of Paulo Freire, whose views are
also shared by the Brazilian Centre for the Solidarity Economy Training
(CFES), the philosophy is to involve every participant in the design of
the education. The next topic which will be discussed (there are 6
modules in total over a year - cf. www.fasages.net) is that of popular education and self-management, and then solidarity finance.
At the same time, INEES has built a European network of popular
educators and/or training mediators, with all those who are involved in
the solidarity economy training, which knowledge is still to a large
extent to be built. Next scheduled meeting is on the 19th of December in St-Avold (in the greater Region, but on the French side) - If you are interested contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sándor Fazekas, the minister of Rural Development opened the „Rural Academy” in Mezőtúr [published by KIFESZ]
The Ministry of Rural Development, the National Agricultural Advisor and
Rural Development Institute and the Hungarian National Rural Network
organized a meeting for professionals called „RURAL ACADEMY FOR THE
FUTURE OF RURAL AREAS” (Strategic directions between 2014 and 2020)
between 16-18 of October in the Municipal Education Center of Mezőtúr.
The main goal of the meeting was to help the preparation for the next
planning period supported by the EU between 2014 and 2020 in the area of
Review the national results an difficulties in rural development, based
on emphasized professional aims and good practices., common
understanding of the rural development paradigms of the EU (locality,
sustainable development), learn the new opportunities in the methods and
new resources (e.g.: community planning, integrated funding).
Government officers, local mayors, rural development professionals,
researchers and project managers participated on the meeting. Eva
G.Fekete, the member of RIPESS EU Coco was one lecturer on the plenary
During the Catalan Solidarity Economy Fair the Ecosol, the alternative
currency emitted by the Catalan solidarity Economy network, and
supported by the Foundation Stro (Social Trade Organisation), was widely
According to the website www.mercatsocial.cat,
social currency networks are networks of people, organisations and
companies that exchange products, services and knowledge without using
the official currency (the euro). They use systems of internal balance,
created by the same network, that can be expressed in alternative
payment systems, both physical and virtual. In Catalunya this social
currency is called Ecosol.
The movement of the social and solidarity economy has made the
articulation of these practices one of its strategic objectives, and
given it a name: the social market. The social market is a stable
network of trade in goods and services between cooperatives, responsible
consumers and ethical individuals who have invested, so that these
exchanges they can successfully meet a significant portion of their
The basic principle of creating social markets is comprehensive
inter-cooperation, i.e. the participation of each organisation and its
members in the production, marketing, consumption and savings within the
social and solidarity economy. That is, all actors meet most of their
consumption needs within the solidarity economy, and focus the maximum
of their work and production within the solidarity economy, and invest
their savings in credit tools that have been developed within this same
The goal is to stimulate the social market trade as much as possible.
The development of the social market would not only improve the
viability of each of the social and solidarity economy initiatives, it
would be the springboard of an alternative economic system.
The Circuit of Consumer Commerce (C3) is a methodology set up by the
Social Foundation Trade Organisation (STRO), a Dutch non-profit
foundation specialised in microfinance R & D. C3 is a digital
payment system (online and app) and paper tickets encourages commercial
cooperation between groups. When managing a virtual account system,
innovative opportunities appear.