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Publicado em: 02 Julho 2024

The necessary convergence between Social Economy and Social Enterprises

Por Deolinda Meira, Professora Coordenadora no ISCAP e Investigadora do CEOS.PP

Sublinhamos a entrevista de Deolinda Meira, Professora Coordenadora no ISCAP e Investigadora do CEOS.PP, à "Social Economy News", organismo internacional de grande relevância na área da Economia Social, abordando a importância das empresas sociais e a sua convergência com a economia social.

"In general terms, and considering this legislative mosaic, and the various international and European Union documents, social enterprises should be understood as entities of a private nature, autonomous and independent from the state (although they may involve the participation of public entities), that necessarily incorporate three dimensions: social, economic, and governance, and are governed by the guiding principles of the Social Economy, thus being intrinsically linked to this sector.

The social enterprise has a clear social mission which, in accordance with French legislation, must be reflected in its statutes, and translates into the pursuit of the general interest of enterprise and/or the professional integration of people with employability difficulties. Under Polish and Italian legislation, this social mission is realized through the development of specific activities with social impact, in the areas of social services and goods, culture, environment, education, territorial cohesion, and local development. Since they do not seek profit maximization as their main objective but rather efficiency in the use of available resources to pursue general interest objectives, a percentage of the profits must necessarily be reinvested in the social mission, as provided in the statutes (these percentages vary between 50% in Italian legislation and 80% in Cypriot legislation).

The form of organization and ownership must be based on democratic, participatory, transparent, and responsible principles. The organizational model adopted must guarantee the participation and representation of members, workers, customers, and other stakeholders in management and decision-making processes. Transparency in governance must be ensured through the public availability of accounts and social impact assessment processes.

A fair remuneration policy must be adopted, limiting, for example, the gap between the highest and lowest salaries. Suppliers must be selected based on social and environmental sustainability criteria, as required in French legislation.

These characteristics and requirements confirm the convergence between the social economy and social enterprises, which is why the path that seems most appropriate to me, in legislative terms, will be to recognize social enterprises as entities of the social economy."

Poderá ler o artigo completo em Social Economy News.

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