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Global Action: Promoting Social and Solidarity Economy Ecosystems

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From 2020 to 2023, the OECD hosted the Global Action “Promoting Social and Solidarity Economy Ecosystems”, funded by the European Union’s Foreign Partnership Instrument, to support the development and internationalisation of the social and solidarity economy. The Action worked to raise visibility, benchmark and provide recommendations on key areas around the SSE, namely legal frameworks and social impact measurement while considering the entire policy ecosystem as a framework.

About this project

Growing inequalities, persistent unemployment and environmental imperatives have come to the fore as priority policy issues. In this context, the social and solidarity economy (SSE) can contribute to building more inclusive and sustainable economies and societies. Despite the increasingly recognised importance of the SSE, many countries still struggle to develop conducive ecosystems and access good practices. As part of the OECD and EU strategic objectives to promote inclusive, smart, resilient and sustainable growth, this project worked to:

  • Support the SSE, including social enterprise development and internationalisation
  • Raise awareness and build capacity to conducive national and local ecosystems for SSE development
  • Promote knowledge-sharing and other exchanges at the international level

The Action targeted more than 30 countries including all EU countries as well as Brazil, Canada, India, Korea, Mexico and the United States.

Learn more: What is the social and solidarity economy? A review of concepts

Global Action work by topic

Mapping social and solidarity ecosystems around the world

Social and solidarity economy (SSE) entities are increasing their economic contribution in many countries, but do we know how much?

The OECD has gathered data and information on SSE size, scope and reach in 34 countries to further support SSE development and monitor its effectiveness.

Learn more

 

Legal frameworks

Legal frameworks have a significant impact on the visibility, recognition and development of the social and solidarity economy.

This work addressed: 1) why and how countries adopt legal frameworks to support social and solidarity economy organisations, 2) what the different trends and legal options are and 3) how policy makers can evaluate the performance of or need for legal frameworks.

Reports:

Policy guide on legal frameworks for the social and solidarity economy

 (2023)

Legal frameworks for the social and solidarity economy (2021)

Social impact measurement

There is pressing need to clarify the concept and practice of social impact measurement, in order to promote a shared understanding and increased uptake by all actors in the SSE ecosystem. Despite significant progress and growing attention to harmonisation, there is not yet a universally agreed approach for social impact measurement.

This work addressed: 1) current social impact measurement practices among SSE organisations, 2) the methodologies best suited to capture the social benefits of the SSE and 3) policy initiatives to foster a social impact measurement culture and practice in the SSE ecosystem.

Reports:

Policy guide on social impact measurement for the social and solidarity economy

 (2023)

Social Impact Measurement for the Social and Solidarity Economy

 (2021)

Platform cooperatives

Platform cooperatives have the potential to reshape the digital economy by putting power back into the hands of users, workers and local communities. By combining digital tools with shared ownership and democratic decision-making, they can foster better distribution of value among their members and users, provide better working conditions, and support local development. 

The Action pursued two workstreams around this topics: 1.) insights into platform cooperatives and employment and 2.) their contributions to local development. 

Report: Platform cooperatives and employment: An alternative for platform work
Report: Empowering communities with platform cooperatives: A catalyst for local development

Internationalisation

Internationalisation is a common strategy for social and solidarity economy organisations to scale and increase their social impact. However, when moving across borders, SSE organisations face many challenges often more pronounced than those faced by commercial enterprises. 

The Action's 2023 report aims to identify the key factors driving SSE organisations to internationalise, the main reasons and obstacles that prevent them from doing so, as well as the relevant policy instruments to support SSE internationalisation.

Report: Promoting internationalisation of the social and solidarity economy: From local to global

 

 

 

Refugees and the SSE

The social and solidarity economy (SSE) provides value added for policy makers and refugees alike.

The SSE's value added derives from three main factors: 1.) Participatory and locally rooted governance, which help design protection and reception services, also helping with social and work integration, 2.) responsibe and innovative solutions, through volunteering and citizen initiatives, and 3.) its holistic and people-centred approach.

Report: The social and solidarity economy as a partner along the refugee journey

Women and the SSE

The SSE provides employment opportunities to many women. The Global Action examines the various challenges faced by women in the workforce and leadership, and the factors that could further increase inclusivity and equality within and by SSE organisations. The objective is to explore policies and initiatives led by national and sub-national authorities and identify innovative and inclusive practices adopted by SSE organisations.

Report: Beyond pink-collar jobs for women and the social economy

 

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Youth-led social enterprises

As policy makers increasingly act to support social enterprises and the social economy more broadly, it is important that they also provide tailored support to youth-led social enterprises that have specific needs and face distinct challenges.

This work stream examines the opportunities and challenges faced by youth-led social enterprises, and how current and future policies could better support them.

Report: Unlocking the potential of youth-led social enterprises

 

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Social procurement

The acquisition of goods and services plays a pivotal role in harnessing the potential of the social and solidarity economy to generate meaningful social impact. Social procurement, encompassing the acquisition of goods, services, and works by both public and private entities, is a strategic approach aimed at fostering positive social outcomes. The Action work undertaken in this area delved into the intricate process of cultivating social benefits through social procurement, while also examining the prevailing global trends and challenges in providing access to markets for entities within the social and solidarity economy.

Peer-Learning Partnerships (PLPs)

Peer learning is a powerful way to stimulate collective thinking and develop innovative solutions to the social and environmental challenges we now face.

The Peer-learning Partnerships (PLP) were developed to encourage knowledge sharing on the importance of building and reinforcing conducive ecosystems for SSE development across the work areas relevant to the Global Action. Composed of six consortia co-ordinating over 130 partners, the PLPs provide a peer-learning platform for SSE stakeholders and organisations to exchange lessons, experiences and methodologies with peers from other countries, in view of developing activities of mutual interest.

Discover the 6 consortia

 

Event: Pespectives from the peer-learning-partnerships

Blogs, videos and podcasts

What is the social and solidarity economy?

Tell us about the social and solidarity economy in your country at [email protected].

See all social economy videos

 

Podcast

Can the social economy help refugees access jobs?

This podcast discusses how the social and solidarity economy can fast track the labour-market integration of refugees and migrants.

MORE
Blog

Beyond borders: How the social economy goes international

Policy makers around the world are seeking to harness the power of the social economy to deliver an alternative economic model: one that places sustainability and inclusion at its core. Yet, while they have a powerful collective impact, many social economy entities are content to operate locally. How can they scale up and go international?

MORE
Podcast

Young and yern? You need to start a social enterprise

Young people are seizing opportunities and leading social enterprises across the world but what are the challenges and best paths to follow? How do we give young people a seat at the table? What can policy makers do to help? Polly Akhurst from Amala gives us her insights.

MORE

What can the social economy teach us about never wasting a good crisis?

We spoke with policy makers and social entrepreneurs at the sidelines of the OECD Social and Solidarity Summit on 20-21 March 2023.

See all social economy videos

 

Blog

Daring to do: Young social entrepreneurs doubling down on business with impact

Jonathan Van de Gronden, James Hermanson and Natalie Laechelt discuss how young people are choosing work with social impact.

MORE
Podcast

Pink-collar jobs: New shades for the social economy

Nitya Nangalia from SEWA Bharat and Natalie Laechelt from the OECD unpack the role of the social economy in the quest to move beyond pink collar jobs.

MORE

Mathias Cormann, OECD Secretary-General
The Social and Solidarity Economy: From the Margins to the Mainstream

What's the impact of the social economy?

Social economy organisations put social and environmental concerns at the heart of their business model, prioritising social impact over profit maximisation. Social impact measurement can help assess this impact and its social value.

See all social economy videos

 

OECD & the SSE

Explore our analysis on social economy, entrepreneurship and innovation, based on more than 20 years of research in the field.

Access papers and reports

Contact us

Interested in learning more about the project or in getting involved?

Contact us

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Events

2023


  • 24 November, How can the social and solidarity economy help refugees along their journey? Watch the replay
  • 27 October, webinar: Platform cooperatives: Good jobs and great places Watch the replay
  • 20 - 21 March, Hybrid Summit: Inspiration, innovation and inclusion: Shaping our future with the social and solidarity economy | Watch the replay | Highlights

2022


  • 22 November, webinar: Social entrepreneurship meets the common good economy | Watch the replay in German
  • 16 November, webinar: Launch of the OECD Recommendation on the Social and Solidarity Economy and Social Innovation | Watch the replay 
  • 9 November, webinar: Unlocking the potential of youth-led social enterprises | Watch the replay
  • 15-17 June, conference: OECD Local Development Forum | Several sessions on the social economy | Watch the replay
  • 4 June, conference: Trento Economy Festival session "What is the role of the social economy? | Discover the programme
  • 24 March, virtual event: OECD March on Gender webinar: Advancing gender equality through the social economy | Watch the replay

2021


 

  • 2 December, virtual event: Mainstreaming the Social and Solidarity Economy: Perspectives from the Peer-learning Partnerships | Watch the replay
  • 13-16 September, virtual event: The Social and Solidarity Economy: From the Margins to the Mainstream | Watch the replayHighlights
  • 20 May, virtual event: OECD Global Action: international learning opportunities for the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) through the Peer Learning Partnerships
  • 25 January, virtual event: Social Impact Measurement for the Social and Solidarity Economy | Watch the replayHighlights

2020


 

  • 10 December, virtual event:  Leveraging Legal Frameworks to Scale the Social and Solidarity Economy | Watch the replayHighlights
  • 16 April, virtual event: OECD Global Action to promote the social and solidarity economy | Watch the replay

 

Publications

Read more on OECD iLibrary