European Action plan for the Social Economy – The Seven Pillars
The following seven pillars for a European Action Plan for the Social Economy have been proposed by Social Economy Europe.
Pillar 1: Establish a common understanding of social economy enterprises and organisations in Europe.
Pillar 2: Improve the visibility of social economy enterprises and organisations and of their values and characteristics.
Pillar 3: Measure and further document the weight of the social economy and its effective contribution to the socio-economic development of the European Union.
Pillar 4: Provide a conducive ecosystem for the growth of social economy enterprises and organisations, supporting them to access to finance and to scale up, and by establishing the necessary legal framework, allowing them to fully operate trans-nationally in the single market.
Pillar 5: Further integrate the social economy in EU funds and programmes such as the ERDF, ESP Plus and the cohesion funds.
Pillar 6: Foster the role of the social economy in the external action of the European Union.
Pillar 7: Consolidate and strengthen a permanent and structured dialogue between EU institutions and the social economy.
The European Action Plan for the Social Economy is due to be launched on Wednesday 8th December 2021.
The list, and accompanying survey-based report Corporate-Ready—How Corporations and Social Enterprises do Business Together to Drive Impact was created by international nonprofit impact investment fund Acumen. It showcases a diverse collection of established social enterprises, from a range of industries, that are ready to partner, collaborate and do business with corporations.
The report points out that “corporations, large and small, play a key role in creating a fairer and more equal world” and that “all sectors need to work together on our most pressing issues for a sustainable future. It continues: “engaging with social entrepreneurs that develop scalable business models to address social challenges can accelerate those efforts.”
The report dispels misconceptions about social enterprises relating to size, capabilities and capacity while case studies draw attention to successful partnering, illustrating how barriers between stakeholders can be overcome.
A key finding from the survey was that social enterprises have significant social impact that is aligned with UN Sustainable Development Goals [SDGs] and that they can “deliver concrete and measurable progress on corporate sustainability targets”.
The report was supported by IKEA Social Entrepreneurship, and developed in collaboration with members of the World Economic Forum’s COVID Response Alliance for Social Entrepreneurs. The social enterprises featured were chosen because they are already selling to corporations and offering direct benefit to marginalised groups.
Social procurement refers to the purchase of goods and services, by businesses and governments, from social enterprises and other organisations that have a strong ethical mission. It considers not just the economic impact of a purchase but also the positive social and/or environmental impact that that purchase entails.
This multi-outcome, value-added approach is growing, as businesses and governments worldwide seek ways to trade and operate more sustainably. This growth is also due in no small measure to lobbying by the social enterprise sector, which has strengthened and proven its worth over the past three decades.
Positive support for social procurement by governments worldwide
Social procurement is increasingly featured in government policy, as the benefits to society of buying from local, ethical suppliers are being recognised. The Irish Government has vowed in its National Social Enterprise Policy for Ireland 2019-2022to “support capacity-building for social enterprises in relation to procurement processes through workshops and training” and to “work with stakeholders to identify how to improve opportunities for social enterprises in the business-to-business supply-chain and in public procurement.” Through the Social Considerations Advisory Group it will “help policy makers to better understand how procurement can be used to facilitate the advancement of social policy objectives within appropriate and structured public procurement guidelines”.
This commitment suggests an appetite to rework traditional procurement policies, in order to accommodate social enterprises. Going further, a new legal structure for social enterprises – none currently exists under Irish law – could support a better understanding of what social enterprises are and where they ‘fit’ with procurement managers and their processes.
A key finding of the 2020 Buying for Social Impact (BSI) project (commissioned by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises and the European Commission Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs) was that “…socially responsible public procurement [SRPP] is easier in countries where legal frameworks or legal forms for social economy enterprises exist”. It continues: “it is also easier for social economy enterprises to access public procurement procedures in countries where those legal frameworks or legal forms exist”.
Businesses are using social procurement to achieve their sustainability goals
Businesses are also buying from social enterprises. Though less active than governments, according to The State of Social Procurement in Australia & New Zealand 2021 report, they are nonetheless under pressure to become more sustainable, enhance their reputations and cultivate positive relationships with the communities in which they are based. Tammy Darcy, CEO of SERI has highlighted “the need for social impact to be included as a consideration in the wider economy by all enterprises, not just social enterprises”.
Social procurement in the UK has been propelled by Social Enterprise UK’s successful Buy Social Corporate Challenge. The campaign’s corporate focus has resulted in a £165m spend, by 27 participating businesses since 2018, on goods and services supplied by social enterprises.
Social procurement – a strategic choice
Social enterprises offer corporations the opportunity to merge sustainable initiatives with corporate and commercial strategy. This allows corporations to ‘hit the ground running’ with projects that provide social as well as commercial value, while not having to deviate significantly from strategy. To governments, they offer flexibility and the opportunity to collaborate on projects where local interest, knowledge and expertise are key to undertaking a project efficiently.
Social procurement offers a lifeline to social enterprises that helps them to grow, to develop a stronger voice and, through collaboration, to expand their influence. It provides them with the means to gain greater recognition as real, innovative businesses operating in competitive marketplaces. It enables them to forge a greater standing in their communities and to become a stronger force for creating positive social change.
An award-winning, industry-led programme tailored to meet the needs of jobseekers with a criminal conviction.
SUPPORTED BY THE GOVERNMENT OF IRELAND THROUGH THE DORMANT ACCOUNTS FUND
Do you need recent work experience to build up your CV?
Are you interested in a career in manufacturing, warehousing or e-commerce fulfilment?
Do you want a job so you can start living life on your terms?
If so, this opportunity could be for you!
A New Beginning
Start—or restart—your career in our 52-week, free-of-charge-to-you Enhanced Skills Programme 2.
This award-winning, industry-led programme has been adapted to meet the needs of jobseekers who have a criminal conviction.
Jobs Market Advantage
Job-seekers are given the opportunity to get real commercial work experience, to upskill with industry-led training and to work in a team-based environment in Speedpak.
We also facilitate external work placements with our industry partners, all of whom are well-know companies. We use our strong relationships with these partners to promote diversity and equality in their workplaces.
This is an exciting and valuable opportunity to learn, to put your training into practice and to impress local employers.
Opportunity on Dublin’s Northside
The ESP2 Programme is run by Speedpak Group with the support of business, state and community partners.
Trainees will work and train on-site at our premises in Clonshaugh Business and Technology Park in Dublin 17.
Your work experience and training on the programme will provide you with:
an up-to-date Reference and CV
greater Confidence, Self-esteem and Job-Seeking Skills
qualifications in Health & Safety, Manual Handling and Occupational First Aid
a SafePass and Forklift Licence
skills in Information Technology, Stock Control, Warehousing and Manufacturing Processes.
You will be supported throughout the programme by a Job Coach, On-the-job Mentors and our Human Resources team.
We will use our Employability & Distance Travelled System [EDTS] to track your progress and to support you as you kickstart your career!
Enhanced Skills Programme Consumer Journey
Find Out More
For information on how to apply for the ESP2 Programme, please call us on 01 867 1707 [Option #3] and ask for Angela.
Click on the links below to download the above information in a printable format:
GIY, like Speedpak Group, is a social enterprise. Its mission is to support people around the world to live happier, healthier and more sustainable lives by growing some of their own food.
The campaign was aimed at encouraging people to enjoy the benefits of growing vegetables at home and to then share their experience with ten other people.
Each growing pack included 5 different packets of seed, 10 tags and one brochure. Fulfilment of the Grow It Forward packs involved breaking bulk quantities of seed packs, tags, envelopes and brochures into smaller batches. Components were manually sorted, collated, bundled and banded.
Envelopes were addressed, packed by hand, sealed and dispatched to An Post for delivery to libraries, businesses and individual subscribers all over Ireland.
Speedpak Group was very happy to have this opportunity to work with another social enterprise.
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