On Friday 9 June and Saturday 10 June, two international organizations, the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) approved two important international documents on social economics:

– Conclusions on decent work and the social and solidarity economy, which were adopted at the 110th International Labor Conference.
– OECD´s recommendation from the Council on Social and Solidarity Economy and Social Innovation

The ILO conclusions from the International Labor Conference on 10 June 2022 on social and subsidiary economics and decent jobs include an introduction giving attention to the links between social and subsidiary economics and the ILO by referring directly to the ILO Charter.
Part 2 of the document provides a clear and comprehensive “Definition of Social and Subsidiary Economy” based on a set of values ​​and principles. This is the first adopted three-part definition of the social and solidarity-based economy at international level.
Part 3 clarifies some guiding principles for dealing with challenges and opportunities in relation to promoting decent jobs and the social and solidarity-based economy in regard of a people-centered future for work.
Part 4 explains the role of governments and social partners in promoting the economic, social and environmental contribution of the social and solidarity-based economy.
Part 5, entitled “The role of the ILO”, contains recommendations for ILO’s efforts and the key principles underlying such efforts.

The general discussion behind the adoption of this ILO document is the first comprehensive discussion on the social and solidarity economy at the ILO’s International Labor Conference. It is also the first high-level debate in the UN system on social and proximity economy.

OECD recommendation on the social economy is the first internationally agreed standard for guiding countries in defining policies and frameworks for developing their social economy; and it covers the following key areas, which are largely in line with the EU’s Social Economy Action Plan:

  • Promoting a social economy culture
  • Creating a supportive institutional framework
  • Design legal and regulatory frameworks that promote social economy
  • Support and provide access to finance
  • Enable access to public and private markets
  • Strengthen support for competence and business development
  • Encourage impact measurement and monitoring
  • Support data protection
  • Encourage social innovation.

Furthermore, the recommendation also instructs the OECD’s Steering Committee “The Directing Committee of Co-operative Action Program on Local Employment and Economic Development” to act as a forum for the exchange of information on social economy and social innovation in regard of promoting multi-stakeholder and interdisciplinary dialogue; and develop an implementation tool that can help organizations implement the recommendation.

OECD also agrees that although national, sub-national and local definitions may vary, the following definitions of social economy organizations are used in connection with this recommendation:

  • Social economy, which in some countries is also referred to as solidarity economy and / or social and solidarity economy, consists of a number of organizations such as associations, cooperatives, mutual organizations. ), foundations and, more recently, social enterprises. In some cases, community-based, grassroots and spontaneous initiatives are part of the social economy in addition to non-profit organizations, the latter group often referred to as the solidarity economy. The activity of these entities is typically driven by societal goals, solidarity values, human precedence over capital and, in most cases, democratic and participatory leadership.
  • Social economy organizations usually refer to the entities listed above.
  • A social enterprise is an entity that trades in goods and services that meet a societal goal and whose main purpose is not to maximize profits for the owners, but to reinvest in order to continue to achieve its societal goals.
  • Social innovation seeks new and cost-effective answers to social and societal problems and refers to new solutions aimed primarily at improving the quality of life of individuals and communities by increasing their well-being as well as their social and economic inclusion. These solutions can be new services, new products and new relationships with stakeholders.

Sources: Social Economy Europe, OECD and ILO