Social and solidarity economy products could be given their own European label.
On 5 July the European Parliament approved a motion with recommendations to the Commission on a statute for social and solidarity-based enterprises. The Commission now has a year to implement the proposals or explain why it rejects them.
One suggestion in the report is the establishment of a European label for products from social and solidarity enterprises, which include co-operatives.
Sven Giegold, economic and financial spokesman for the Greens/EFA Group and co-president of the Social Economy group in the European Parliament, said: “A European label for products from social and solidarity enterprises would be an enormous boost for new companies with an orientation to the common good. To this end, we need a European definition of what we mean by social and solidarity enterprises. This would provide the basis for systematically promoting companies of general interest, for example in public procurement.”
The parliament defines a social and solidarity economy enterprise as an organisation focused on the general interest or public utility, which conducts a socially useful and solidarity-based activity and reinvests a large part of the profit made, or uses this to achieve its social mission. Furthermore, the enterprise should be governed in accordance with democratic governance models involving its employees, customers and stakeholders affected by its activities.
The report calls for a legal definition for social and solidarity enterprises. It highlights the particular challenges faced by social co-operatives and work-integration social enterprises (WISEs) when carrying out their mission of helping those most commonly excluded from the labour market, and stresses the need for such organisations to be included under the new label.
The label would be optional, upon request from social enterprises and would be awarded to those which comply with a set criteria, regardless of the legal form they decide to adopt in accordance with national legislation.