The Social and Solidarity Economy: From the Margins to the Mainstream

Event Agenda

Day 1 :

13th September 2021
14:00 - 15:30
Building back better: the social economy as a driving force for change
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused significant global economic and social disruption. As our economies recover, with global growth projected to reach 5.8% in 2021, the time is right to reflect on the lessons of the crisis and the important role the social and solidarity economy can play in building back better. Among these lessons, is the importance of the social economy, which accounts, only in EU countries, for 6-8% of GDP. The social and solidarity economy can support efficiency and resilience, and act as a strong vehicle for social innovation. It can also transform society, including by inspiring mainstream businesses to adopt more inclusive and responsible practices and models. This session will bring together international social and solidarity economy networks to envision what policy actions are needed to ensure the social and solidarity economy contributes to recovery. Key questions: • How concretely can the social and solidarity economy help build back in a more inclusive and sustainable way? • What policy actions are needed to support and stimulate the social and solidarity economy going forward? • How can policy makers and social and solidarity economy networks work together to unleash the transformational power of the social and solidarity economy?

Day 2 :

14th September 2021
13:00 - 14:30
How to make the most of legal frameworks?
The social and solidarity economy has gained strong political momentum around the world and will play an even greater role in the future. National and local governments recognise the critical contribution of social economy organisations to economic and inclusive growth and sustainable development. The social and solidarity economy typically covers a wide variety of legal and organisational forms. Almost all countries have some form of legislation governing social economy organisations: associations, co-operatives, mutual organisations and foundations. Some countries, including 16 EU countries, have introduced specific legal frameworks to support the development of social enterprises, which are also part of the social economy. Legal frameworks can have a significant impact on the visibility, recognition, credibility and development of the field and can facilitate application of targeted public support schemes (financial and non-financial, tax incentives, etc.). This session will showcase new OECD work on how to leverage the potential of the social and solidarity economy through legal frameworks to achieve strategic priorities such as social inclusion, job creation and green transition, and share experience from leading experts, policy makers and practitioners in the field. Key questions: • To what extent can legal frameworks help the recognition and visibility of the social and solidarity economy? • Do we absolutely need legal frameworks to build a strategic vision for the development of the social and solidarity economy? • What other strategies besides legal frameworks are used to promote the social and solidarity economy?
13:30 - 13:45
Creative Break
14:45 - 15:45
Raising visibility post-COVID: lessons learnt
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, many social and solidarity economy actors emerged as important drivers of resilience and inclusiveness. Building on their success, there is an opportunity for policy makers to raise the visibility of the social and solidarity economy and mainstream the good practices it promotes. During this session, policy makers and inspiring practitioners from around the world will discuss the lessons learnt from the crisis and provide suggestions on how to raise social and solidarity economy visibility after COVID.

Day 3 :

15th September 2021
13:00 - 14:30
Partnering with peers for change
Peer learning is a powerful way to stimulate collective thinking and develop innovative solutions to the social and environmental challenges we now face. As part of the OECD Global Action, Peer-learning Partnerships (PLPs) have been set up to promote knowledge exchange and experience sharing on policies and practices for social and solidarity economy development. During this session, the six PLPs selected will showcase the work they have conducted so far and share lessons learnt, challenges and success factors to support and stimulate social and solidarity economy development. Key questions: • What are we learning from the experience of PLPs to boost social and solidarity economy development? • What is working and what needs to be improved in the actions they are taking? • What role can international peer learning play in promoting social and solidarity economy development going forward?
14:30 - 14:45
Creative break
14:45 - 15:45
Going international and promoting gender equality
The social and solidarity economy can also gain from expanding internationally and being more inclusive. Inspiring international practitioners will lead two parallel sessions on 1) how to ensure local social and solidarity economy organisations develop internationally and 2) how to ensure equal opportunity for women in the social and solidarity economy.

Day 4 :

16th September 2021
13:00 - 14:30
Social impact measurement: friend or foe?
Social and solidarity economy organisations are under increasing pressure to demonstrate their social and wellbeing outcomes. Still, the lack of a clear and agreed definition of social value creation makes it difficult to translate social value into meaningful practices for measuring, managing and reporting impact. Social and solidarity economy organisations can choose to proactively and voluntarily embrace social impact measurement for learning and promotional purposes. Yet, research shows that institutional demands, particularly from external funders, are the main factor affecting their methodological choices. Hence, there is a need to mainstream social impact measurement approaches among social and solidarity economy organisations as well as to adapt them to their capacities and needs, which may be different from traditional impact investing metrics. This session will showcase new OECD work in the field and discuss with leading experts and practitioners how to ensure effective social impact measurement for the social and solidarity economy. Key questions: • Why is it important that the social and solidarity economy more widely adopts a social impact measurement culture? How can policy makers and others facilitate and support this? • Which methodologies are better suited to fully capture the multiple impacts of the social and solidarity economy while allowing for greater and more comparable evidence? • How are current social impact measurement practices helping social and solidarity economy organisations make their impact credible and visible? To what extent are the existing methods and tools adapted to their capacity and needs?
14:30 - 15:15
Charting the way forward: mainstreaming the social and solidarity economy