While there has been major advances in sustainable development over the past ten years, the picture is not yet clear. Progress is not yet on the scale of the problems facing our generation and does not address their causes: increasing concentration of wealth and its transmission, lack of renewal of elites and social determinism, increasing insecurity, climate change, rapid population growth, conflicts and competition for access to common goods. It is no longer just a question of optimising existing models, but rather of inventing those that will enable our children and our children’s children to “make society” in a more fraternal, equitable and sustainable 21st century. How can we put the economy at the service of the common good? This is what we discussed at the 11th edition of the World Convergences Forum.
Any time you see a problem, create a business to solve it
Do we need a law and a status of “company with a mission” to put the economy at the service of common good? European perspectives on the debate on the PACTE Law
The concept of company is not yet “defined in law”. The PACTE law – law that is currently being passed at the French Parliament to transform companies – and its article 61, allowing the creation of “companies with a mission”, would make it possible to change the world’s view of the company, which would no longer only be “reducible to an organization aiming at a profit”. A step forward that would also protect companies from changes in their shareholder framework. Indeed, companies have their share of responsibility in controlling social and environmental impacts, but above all by their ability to provide solutions. Many initiatives have been taken, particularly by energy or polluting industries. Of course, often under the constraint of States and all other stakeholders. But also, and increasingly, at the initiative of the companies themselves, who understand that their ability to develop and therefore create wealth depends on their taking responsibility for the challenges, on the societal role they can play. Some people in France do not hesitate to talk about companies with a mission, regretting that the wording has not been retained – for the time being – in the text of the law that will be debated in a few days in the National Assembly. Others consider that a totally liberal approach is needed and therefore that fewer corporate laws are needed and that regulation will be done by the market. It would be denying that the law can encourage, that not everyone is trustworthy and also that free competition can only be exercised if everyone plays by the same rules. It would also mean trying to make people believe that everyone has the same abilities, and forgetting a little quickly that some activities, because they are social and solidarity, need specific rules and strong public support.
Thus the company is a powerful force for innovation and transformation. Legally, it only follows a private interest with a view to profit. It is a question of inviting the company to define its mission and purpose, mainspring, finality and to commit itself to it. This is how we will regain confidence in the company.
The company is now able to transform the world. It has become globalized, an innovative power capable of transforming the world! However, the law still considers the company as capable of pursuing only a private interest! The company with a mission aims to restore the social innovation capacity of companies
How can the law help companies to place at the heart of their business models the response to social and environmental issues? How can legal and financial innovations, business models and best practices be shared at a European level? To move forward, good practices in responsible, inclusive, committed and supportive entrepreneurship must be shared between countries and companies within the European Union. From British “community interest companies” (50,000 social enterprises since 2005), to “socièta benefit” in Italy, to Denmark, where shareholder foundations allow non-profit entities to own a company with a dual mission, economic and philanthropic, various legal forms from different European countries can serve as inspiration.
A transformation of this magnitude would also allow the European social and solidarity economy sector to develop, in particular by facilitating exchanges between social and solidarity economy sector companies and traditional companies.
For more information (In French) -> http://www.carenews.com/fr/news/11328-on-y-etait-convergences-un-regard-europeen-sur-la-loi-pacte-quels-enjeux
In addition to law and status, what tools can be used to put the economy at the service of the common good?
Carefully launched in France in 2016, social impact contracts are progressing slowly, slowed down by the structure of the system, involving many partners according to very specific terms and conditions. While new signatures are expected in September, the Convergences World Forum provided an opportunity to review this mechanism dedicated to finance social innovation.
Two years after its launch in France by Martine Pinville, then Secretary of State for the Social and Solidarity Economy (see our article of 17 March 2016), what has the social impact contract become ? On the 4th of September, during the Convergences World Forum, a conference was held to review this new financing tool for social innovation, which is based on a partnership between five actors. A “project leader”, often from the SSE, “one or more investors who will finance this experiment and who will be reimbursed according to the results”, a “payer at the end” – the State, a local authority, a foundation… -, an “independent evaluator” and a “structurer”. The objective is therefore to attract private investors to social projects.
At this stage, only one social impact contract (CIS) “has been signed and started”; led by Adie, the project aims to develop micro-credit in rural areas. Five other contracts are expected to be signed in September, based on the projects of the Wimoov associations, La Cravate solidaire, Article 1, Solidarités nouvelles face au chômage (SNC) and the Fondation Apprentis d’Auteuil.
This delay is explained by the presidential elections and their aftermath, the State being involved as a “payer at the end” in several SCIs and having at least a role of guarantor and support in the framework of the call for projects to test the system; an extremely complex and time-consuming arrangement for all, the necessary changes in practices on the part of all partner organisations to replace “diptych risk | profitability” with a “triptych risk | profitability (less) | impact (more significant)”, the implementation of an impact measure and indicators that do not lead the project leader to sort out its beneficiaries and exclude the most vulnerable to achieve its goals.
Excerpt from the article « Les Contrats à impact social font leur rentrée » (In French) ->
In a Social Impact Contract, the interests meet: the higher the impact, the higher the profitability
The social and solidarity economy, a sector in its own right at the service of fair and inclusive growth
The Forum was also an opportunity to discuss how to make the 2024 Olympic Games a source of economic opportunities and social innovations for Ile-de-France territories through the social and solidarity economy, and to ensure, as promised, that 25% of Olympic Games public contracts reserved for very small and medium-sized businesses and social and solidarity economy companies. The challenge is to know how to take advantage of the dynamics of the Olympic Games to push projects in a sustainable way and boost innovation, particularly in Seine Saint Denis where 80% of the facilities will be built and how to associate the local economic fabric in a co-contracting approach, so that job creation benefits the least privileged territories and people.
If SSE in the Maghreb region is only in its infancy (0.6% of jobs vs. 10% in France) and is poorly structured, it has the merit of structuring entire sectors of the informal economy (crafts, agriculture) in which women are mainly involved. To encourage its development, the actors present at the Forum underlined the need to work on the recognition of the sector by legislating, training, promoting SSE access to the market, financing and allowing the sharing of experience.
THEY WERE PRESENT
- Rachid Abidi, Laboratoire de l’Economie Sociale et Solidaire – Lab’ess
- Antoine Barrière, Welever
- Gilles Berhault, Fondation des transitions
- Anis Boufrikha, 2521 & We love Sousse
- Michael Cienka, La Cravate Solidaire
- Mathieu Cornieti, Impact Partenaires
- François Dechy, Baluchon
- Jean-Marie Destrée, Fondations Caritas
- Mohamed Ali Deyahi, Organisation internationale du Travail | International Labour Organisation
- Sébastien Duquet, Symbiotics
- Ulla Engelmann, Commission européenne | European Commission
- Vincent Godebout, Solidarités Nouvelles face au Chômage
- Georgina Grenon, Paris 2024
- Béatrice Garrette, Fondation Pierre Fabre
- Benoît Gajdos, CO Conseil
- Maha Keramane, BNP Paribas
- Emery Jacquillat, Camif
- Alissa Pelatan, AMP Avocat/Impact Lawyers & European Social Enterprise Law Association
- Nicolas Pereira, Solylend
- Fatima Marouane, Fondation Maan
- Rania Mechergui, Dar El Ain
- Jean-Luc Perron, Yunus Centre & Convergences
- Maxime Neon, I-boycott
- Marc-Henri Stroh, OIKOCrédit
- Nicolas Schmit, Gouvernement, Grand Duché du Luxembourg
- Blanche Segrestin, Mines ParisTech – PSL Research University
- Céline Terrier-Laurens, Société de livraison des équipements olympiques et paralympiques (SOLIDEO)
- Sarah Toumi, Acacias Pour Tous, Dream in Tunisia | Acacias For All, Dream in Tunisia
- Elisa Yavchitz, Les Canaux
- Muhammad Yunus, Grameen Bank