Why implement a transversal policy to support the social and solidarity economy?

Kit departementalESS n°2

June 2021

Réseau des collectivités Territoriales pour une Economie Solidaire (RTES)

In connection with the renewal of departmental and regional executives in June 2021, the RTES is proposing a DepartmentalESS kit to raise awareness among candidates and provide tools for future teams wishing to support the social and solidarity economy (SSE).

This kit will include about twenty practical sheets, based on the principle of the MunicipalESS Kit published in 2020, illustrated with examples, and presenting in a synthetic and concrete way how a regional council can include the SSE in its policies.

Sheet No. 2, prepared by RTES, is common to both kits (regional and departmental). It describes 5 good reasons for local authorities to develop a territorial SSE policy.

Excerpts from the joint declaration of local authority networks in favour of the SSE - 2013

« The social/solidarity-based economy is not a philanthropic approach, or the extra soul of public policies, it must have a strategic place at the heart of them, and irrigate most public policies. It reexamines the creation of wealth and the way we account for it, and encourages active participatory democracy…. Local authorities, major players in the development of urban and rural areas, organisers of local dialogue with civil society, have, alongside the State, a fundamental role to play in promoting the development of the SSE in the territories.  »

1. To meet the needs of residents and businesses

Beyond its impact in terms of jobs, the social and solidarity economy provides answers to the unsatisfied needs of inhabitants. Home help or early childhood associations, offering services accessible to all, cultural and sports associations, cooperative mobility platforms, etc. They contribute to the quality of life and are an essential element of the territory’s image.

The SSE contributes to the emancipation of everyone, whether through its actors in popular education, culture, etc.

2. To ensure social and territorial cohesion

Accessible and sustainable mobility, local services, associative and cultural activities, local economic development… the social and solidarity economy contributes through its activities to social ties and territorial cohesion. It intersects with the challenges of public policies carried out by local authorities: urban, social, economic, cultural and planning policies, etc. (see sheet 3).

In rural and urban areas alike, the SSE promotes « living together » and the fight against inequalities and all forms of discrimination.

« In the emergency of the Covid-19 crisis, the SSE demonstrated the power of its heritage of solutions developed in our territories, when it is co-developed with the private sector.

in our territories, when it is co-constructed with the communities,

in plurality. This crisis reaffirms the need for the principles of proximity, solidarity and sustainability at all levels of our public policies.

Mahel Coppey, President of RTES

3. To support the creation of sustainable jobs and the (re)location of activities

The social and solidarity economy contributes to an « inclusive » development that creates non relocatable jobs. Some enterprises also contribute to the integration through economic activity of people far from employment.

The SSE is often the first employer in rural areas and is one of the few forms of private economy to go into disadvantaged areas.

In the face of the crisis, social and solidarity economy enterprises that do not have shareholders to remunerate, such as cooperatives, have been more resilient, even if associative employment is now beginning to be weakened.

+ 4.9% increase in SSE jobs in rural areas between 2008 and 2015

Source: National SSE Observatory - CNCRESS, based on Insee CLAP 2008-2012-2015

4. To promote the ecological transition and the resilience of territories

One of the often overlooked dimensions of the social and solidarity economy is its capacity for economic and social innovation involving local people: new services, new professions, new forms of governance, etc.

The social and solidarity economy opens up new ways of doing things and actively participates in the ecological transition and the resilience of territories.

It has been a pioneer in the recycling sector (paper, textiles, electronic waste, etc.), in the production and distribution of agricultural products that are more respectful of the planet (organic farming, peasant farming, short circuits, etc.), and in energy transition issues (combating fuel poverty, sustainable mobility, etc.).

Several departmental councils support participatory and citizen-based renewable energy production projects, in both rural and urban areas.

These projects bring together local authorities, businesses, residents and solidarity-based financial players, enabling everyone to participate in the energy transition and local resilience.

To go further

  • Joint declaration by the heads of local authority networks in favour of the SSE - 2013

  • Les Points de RepèrESS du RTES - SSE: contributing to the development of territories, Expert file, Territorial Editions, 2015

  • Articles on SSE in the Gazette des communes and the Banque des Territoires.