The Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) is a set of socio-economic measures that may be formal or informal, individual or collective, which prioritise meeting the needs of people over making a profit. They are also independent from public authorities, guided by values such as equity, solidarity, sustainability, participation, inclusion and a commitment to the community. They are also promoters of social change.
They include a wide range of initiatives, but they all share some common features that define the transformational nature of the Social and Solidarity Economy.
- Democratic, participative management. Instead of a hierarchical organisational model where some people control, manage and decide on resources, assets, information and the future of the majority, the Social and Solidarity Economy introduces democracy into the economy and the company.
- Orientation towards human needs. The Social and Solidarity Economy tries to recover the economy's original function, placing it at the service of people by managing resources fairly and using them in a sustainable way, as well as creating a production model that turns work into an instrument for meeting human needs.
- Commitment to the community. Social and Solidarity Economy organisations help to improve society, creating jobs, providing services, connecting with the territory, supporting social causes, financing solidarity initiatives with poor countries and collaborating with transformational social movements.
Social and Solidarity Economy initiatives are present in all sectors of economic activity, from energy to culture and food.
Barcelona City Council is fostering the establishment of economic structures in the city that are more social and supportive, by consolidating and nurturing the already thriving network of cooperative, social and solidarity economy organisations in the city and promoting new initiatives. This work is being developed by the Deputy Mayor's Office, through the Commission for Social Economy, Local Development and Consumer Affairs, which also promotes the development of responsible consumerism.