Launch of the OECD Recommendation on the Social and Solidarity Economy and Social Innovation
On the 16th November various states and actors of the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) took part the launch event for the OECD Recommendation on the SSE and Social Innovation. This Recommendation was adopted by the OECD Council in 10 June 2022 and promotes the social economy’s potential to pioneer new business models, provide essential services and job opportunities, including to disadvantaged individuals, contribute to a fairer, green and digital transition, engage youth and women, and build resilient communities.
The event, moderated by Antonella Noya, Head-Social Economy and Innovation Unit at the OECD Centre from Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities (CFE), was an opportunity for policy makers and other stakeholders to discuss their views on the importance of the Recommendation and its effective implementation as well as to explore the ways in which it can be used as a strong lever to foster international recognition and global understanding of the SSE.
In his opening remarks, Nadim Ahmad, Deputy Director, Centre for Entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities (CFE) reminded that the SSE has long been in the mainstream of our economy even if it hasn’t been recognised. He stated that in Europe alone, the SSE represents 12 million jobs, and the recommendation being launched by the OECD only serves to continue to drive progress.
Although she couldn’t be present in person at the event, Marlène Schiappa, French Secretary of State in charge of the SSE and associative life, intervened through a pre-recorded video. In her speech, she stated that this event was part of a rich calendar for the SSE, as it is gaining in visibility and importance. The secretary of state argued that the SSE has risen as it offers sustainable solutions to the challenges that we face and responds to the increasing demand for products and services that go beyond profit only, and are in favour of the general interest. She pointed out that the success of the SSE is represented by its growing place in the French legal framework and affirmed that France supports the OECD Recommendation adopted last June.
“I wish to make the SSE a driver of our economy.” (Marlène Schiappa)
Crucially, Marlène Schiappa reminded the role of France in the promotion of the SSE internationally, highlighting that France supports the Pact For Impact Alliance, and has managed, through this Alliance, to work on a text that will serve as a model for the UN Resolution on the SSE. She also mentioned the various initiatives that France has taken to support the SSE, including the creation of the first fund for the SSE with 500 000 euros to support the initiatives of SSE actors. She stated the importance of continuing to foster global awareness in favour of the SSE, so that SSE structures may be recognised in all countries and so that there may be international collaboration in favour of the SSE.
Juan Manuel Martinez Louvier, Director of the national Institute of Social Economy (INAES) in Mexico, also intervened in this event, placing the emphasis on 3 important axes: the need to enhance and nurture a culture and knowledge of the SSE, the need to enable SSE companies to become a true force on the market, and the need for not only a more flexible but also a more specific system for investing in the SSE. He underlined that the global perspective is changing in many ways, and that the Recommendations of the OECD are very useful to complete this global narrative and show the humanitarian side of the economy: what the world looks like « when the people take the economy in their hands ».
Spain was equally present at the event. Juan Manuel Sanchez-Teran, Deputy Director General for Social Economy and CSR for the Spanish Ministry of Labour and Social Economy, reiterated Spain’s commitment to the SSE, which represents 10% of the country’s GDP. He affirmed that the 9 building blocks of the OECD recommendation are very much in line with the axes of Spain’s policy development and that Spain will always push international support for the SSE. Spain is going to hold presidency of the EU in 2023 and Juan Manuel Sanchez-Teran expressed that the social economy is going to be one of Spain’s priorities during its presidency, with the UN resolution representing a key opportunity to act globally.
Aude Saldana, Secretary General of the Global Social Economy Forum, also present at the event, praised the holistic approach of the OECD Recommendation, which she saw as providing a strong framework. Among the key points that she emphasised was recognising the need to build and support the development of local national SSE networks, which in her view is crucial in improving the strength and advocacy of the SSE. She also argued the need to gather and collect data collectively amongst networks of members active in the promotion and implementation of projects in order to show the added value of the SSE. Finally, she showed support for the Recommendation’s focus on the participation of young people in the development of the SSE. She argued that they are key actors in this large movement, and are instrumental in terms of job creation.
Finally, Victor Meseguer, the Director of Social Economy Europe, also spoke up and expressed his views on the upscaling of the SSE. He argued that policy happens through creating policy demand, and therefore we need actors and stakeholders to push for policy and to take part in creating this demand.
« The Social Economy has strengths but it can go beyond what it is. […] We are in the right moment. » (Victor Meseguer)
In response to the question of what the priorities at global level should be, Victor Meseguer emphasised the need for more cooperation, to push the SSE into more innovation. « The SSE is already everywhere but we can go the extra mile. […] We are in a moment of maturity and in a moment of maturity, your actions matter more ».