SFU/COOP Joint Research Initiative on “The role of Social and Solidarity Economy and Social finance in sustainable development and the future of work”

The role of Social and Solidarity Economy and Social finance in sustainable development and the future of work


The Government of France supports the advancement and promotion of social and solidarity economy organizations which have become key players in development policy. Social and solidarity economy (SSE), which consists of cooperatives, mutual benefit societies, associations, foundations and social enterprises, prioritize social and economic benefits for people often through collective action. They provide responses closer to local needs supporting the emergence of civic solidarity in the process.

Through the previous France/ILO partnerships, the French Ministry of Economy in charge of Social and Solidarity Economy and the ILO Social Finance Programme have facilitated the development of promotional and financing tools for SSE, especially related to micro-finance, as well as an analysis of the impact of micro-finance in France. Successfully conducted in close collaboration with the Caisse des Depots et Consignations and France Strategie , this study was presented at a public event held in Bercy, France on February 3, 2015. Currently, the objective is to refocus the partnership on actors sharing the values of social finance institutions toward social and financial inclusion, namely cooperatives, social enterprises, mutual benefit societies and associations.

The ILO has been a pioneer in promoting the social and solidarity economy as an alternative model of development and employment within the UN system. The Cooperatives Unit of the ILO was created in 1920 by Albert Thomas, the first Director of the ILO who was a French co-operator. Meanwhile, by its law No. 2014-856 of July 2014 France opted for an inclusive definition of SSE as an alternative way of doing business. In this context, the objective of the project is to measure the impact of this approach by comparing the integration of its economic model and its leverage effect on development. Furthermore, considering the processes of change that are transforming the world of work (mainly linked to the increasing globalization of the economy and technological innovation), it is important to reflect on the role of SSE organizations as business and social organization models for the future.

The aim of this new phase of France/ILO partnership is to enhance a better understanding of the role of SSE given the magnitude of the changes affecting the world of work, and the challenges posed by social finance.

Based on the research work that will be conducted on issues related to territorial development, financing tools, institutionalisation, etc. this new cycle of cooperation between France and ILO will better take into account the impact of the social and solidarity economy in the economic and social development and the contribution of social finance to employment and quality of work.

For more information, please contact sfp@ilo.org and coop@ilo.org