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Social and Solidarity Economy


Explore resources used as part of the Social and Solidarity Economy project.

Social economy bibliography

Expand the drop-down below to see the bibliography for the project.

Amin, A. (2009) (ed) The Social Economy: International perspectives on economic solidarity. London, Zed Books.

Antolin, L., Allaert, B. and Nuti, M. (2011) Economic alternatives for gender and social justice. Voices and visions from Latin America. WIDE.

Austin, J., Gutiérrez, R., Ogliastri, E., and Reficco, E. (eds.). (2006). Effective Management of Social Enterprises - Lessons from Businesses and Civil Society Organizations in Iberoamerica. London: Harvard University Press.

Austin, J., Stevenson, H., and Wei-Skillern, J. (2006). Social and commercial entrepreneurship: same, different, or both? Entrepreneurship theory and practice, 30 (1), 1–22.

CEST Transfer Project (2009) Local Social Economy Learning Package: A European Curriculum for Social Enterprise Practitioners and supporters. Technologie-Netwerk Berlin

CIRIEC (2006) Manual for drawing up the satellite accounts of companies in the social economy: cooperatives and mutual societies. On behalf of the European Commission.

European Commission (2008) Map of European and national social economy institutions and organisations

European Commission (2013) Social economy and social entrepreneurship  Social Europe guide (Vol 4)

Hart, K. Laville, J. and Cattani, A. (2010) (eds) The Human Economy. Cambridge, Polity Press.

Howorth, C. Smith, S. and Parkinson, C. (2012)  Social Learning and Social Entrepreneurship Education. Academy of Management Learning and Education. Vol. 11 Issue 3, p371-389.

Kickul, J., Terjesen, S., Bacq, S. and Griffiths, M. (2012) Social Business Education: An Interview With Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus. Academy of Management Learning and Education.  Vol. 11 Issue 3, p453-462.

Lawrence, T., Phillips, N. and Tracy, P. (2012) Educating Social Entrepreneurs and Social Innovators. Academy of Management Learning and Education. Vol. 11 Issue 3, p319-323.

Lewis, M. (BALTA) (2006) Mapping the Social Economy in British Columbia and Alberta (Canada).

Miller, P. and Stacey, J. (2014) Good incubation: The craft of supporting early stage social ventures. Nesta.

Pache, A. and Chowdhury, I. (2012). Social Entrepreneurs as Institutionally Embedded Entrepreneurs: Toward a New Model of Social Entrepreneurship Education. Academy of Management Learning and Education. Vol. 11 Issue 3, p494-510.

Pearce, J. (2003) Social Enterprise in Anytown. London, Calouste Gulbenkan Foundation.

Ridley-Duff, R. and Bull, M. (2011) Understanding Social Enterprise: Theory and practice. London, Sage.

Social Economy UK (nd) What makes a social enterprise a social enterprise?

Verreynne, M.-L., Miles, M.P. and Harris, C. (2012). A short note on entrepreneurship as method: a social enterprise perspective. International Entrepreneurship and Management Journal, 9 (1), 113–128.

Weber, J.M. (2012). Social Innovation and Social Enterprise in the Classroom: Frances Westley on Bringing Clarity and Rigor to Program Design. Academy of Management Learning and Education, 11 (3), 409–418.

Wilson, F. and Post, J. (2013). Business models for people, planet (and profits): exploring the phenomena of social business, a market-based approach to social value creation. Small Business Economics. Vol. 40 Issue 3, p715-737.  DOI: 10.1007/s11187-011-9401-0.

Yunus, M. (2007) Creating a World Without Poverty: Social business and the future of capitalism. United States, Public Affairs.

Student cooperatives in Mondragon University, Spain

Cooperativism is the leading business model in the Basque country in the north of Spain. One of the partners in the social economy in higher education project is Mondragon University/MIK, a worker-owned university and research centre. Mondragon is the world's largest industrial worker co-operative. The Spanish constitution explicitly recognises that co-operatives encouraged democracy after the dictatorship of Franco – and as a consequence they pay lower rates of tax.

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In July 2013 legislation was passed in the Basque Country allowing students to form workers cooperatives called 'Junior Cooperativas'. The Faculty of Business Administration of Mondragon University and MIK Research Centre had conducted a study and submitted a proposal to the Basque Government to drive a route that would allow students to create cooperatives in order to put their education and knowledge into practice. This formula has existed in Finland for years and allowed students from the Nordic country to create a business in the form of a cooperative.

The objective of these cooperatives is to create jobs for their members, i.e. the students, who develop their entrepreneurial skills by producing goods and services to real clients. The members can work full-time or part-time. In this way students will be 'user members' while they develop a project and 'collaborating members' when they are not developing a project.

Description of the Cooperatives

This new class of cooperative is called 'Junior cooperativas', using the English word to denote a young person as partner in the business and that the ultimate aim of the activity is ultimately to learn. Its goal is to be a real and practical instrument so its members can learn to manage a cooperative. A junior cooperativa is a cooperative society with a clear social objective: the practical implementation of the skills and knowledge acquired by the student, the ‘user partners.’

Up to now the rules governing cooperative societies in the Basque country have not specifically considered cooperatives formed by students whose objective was to develop an activity to put their knowledge into practice through the work. This innovative way of learning originates in the University of Jyväskylä (Finland) and is applied successfully in other countries around the world. It is an innovative model and method, where students are the real actors in the process of acquisition and development of skills of an entrepreneur, a teaching method which is truly ‘learning by doing’. The training the students receive develops mainly through the practice of the creation and launching of various projects which they themselves have designed.

Junior Cooperativas is a valuable educational tool to learn how cooperatives work and how they are managed in reality. Also the implementation of this model in the Basque country will provide significant advantages to the business environment, since in addition to the creation of new cooperatives during the university course of its members, there are many possibilities for members to continue their career through a creation of a company, possibly as a cooperative society.

Sustainability reporting - a perspective from the private sector

by Laura Kreiling

Unlike common financial reporting, sustainability reports are vehicles of companies for external reporting. While the former, primarily in the form of annual reports, is rather oriented towards the past, containing primarily quantitative data, sustainability reports ideally report in a future-oriented perspective and provide stakeholders with “a window on the character and competency of a company” which is the fundamental difference between SR and common financial reporting.[1]

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In 2008, the combination of both reporting forms in an 'integrated' manner started to surface. For example, Filipiuk suggested that companies should complement financial reporting with statements relating to a company’s stance on ethical, ecological, social, societal and economic topics and issues; these 'decision useful information' like 'soft' or non-financial and forward-looking information are the core building blocks of SR. [2] This integration of both reporting forms could lead to a more holistic reporting with a greater level of transparency for all stakeholders, on the one hand. However, the challenges today are not only the lack of a common terminology which results in a glut of sister concepts in the English language - CSR reporting, CR reporting, non-financial reporting, ESG [Environmental, Social, Governance] reporting [3]- but also a lack of stringent reporting standards on the other hand. [4] 'Greenwashing' in the form of marketing brochures rather than profoundly based SR based on real effort is often the reality today. [5] These are issues which will not be discussed further at this point. Instead, the three key motivations to engage in SR are elucidated which relate to different perspectives on the evolution of this reporting form.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) as a strategic management concept has been evolving at the intersection of business and its environment for several years now. [6] As Hohnen (2007) noted, especially multinational and stock-listed companies are subject to scrutiny and have to ensure a solid CSR foundation on a global level as they cope with different legislations, regulatory and competitive frameworks. [7] A company’s communication is a crucial vehicle and a common channel to transfer information and to shape a stakeholder’s understanding about a firm.  In fact, it is a vital means for companies to ensure recognition and to reap the internal benefits off their CSR efforts. [8] To inform stakeholders and other interested parties and to show accountable and transparent business behaviour, SR was introduced as a way not only to take account of but also communicate CSR efforts. [9] This is the proactive perspective to see the evolution of this reporting form.

On the contrary, the reactive perspective suggests that corporate scandals, e.g. at Enron and WorldCom in the U.S. and Ahold and ABB in Europe, led to increasing uncertainties of consumers causing a fundamental decrease of stakeholder trust and 'public confidence' so that claims for more transparency and accountability arose. [10] Consequently, CSR became increasingly important as 'the business as usual approach' was found not to be longer viable, argued by the independent Stern review[11] in 2006. [12] In light of these developments, information demands shifted and stakeholder started to request from companies the disclosure of sustainability information and the conduct of accountable and transparent business behaviour. [13] As conventional reporting forms had difficulties fulfilling these changing information needs, SR as a new reporting form emerged. [14]

Besides the connection of CSR and SR in the proactive and reactive perspective, there is a third way, the holistic perspective, to apprehend the evolution of this reporting form. It reflects that stakeholder attention shifted from focusing solely on financial measures to rather investigate more holistically also on non-financial performance.[15] Owing to growing dissatisfaction with the information provided in conventional reporting forms, especially investors broadened their horizon by requesting increasingly also non-financial performance data because it is increasingly seen as an indicator of management quality, the company’s opportunities and its risks profile. In this vein, a new investment form emerged: Socially Responsible Investing. [16] This shows that SR is now seen as a key element in risk management. [17]

Notwithstanding the ongoing challenges to establish as a common reporting form with accepted standards and terminology, it can be concluded, based on Klein 2005, that SR bears advantages not only internally by helping to improve employee morale and as tool for benchmarking, but also externally, increasing transparency on its non-financial performance, thereby making a company more accountable to all of its stakeholders.


  • [1]White 2005, p.5., Trans. Fischer/Lenz2009, p.,37.
  • [2]Fischer/Lenz 2009, p.7., Trans. Filipiuk 2008, p.122.
  • [3] White 2005, p.1.
  • [4] The Global Reporting Initiative (, a non-profit organization, produces one of the world's most prevalent standards for SR.
  • [5] Trans. Braun et al. 2009, p.7.
  • [6] Porter/Kramer 2006, 3; Trans. Braun et al. 2009, p.5.
  • [7] Hohnen 2007, p.7, 35, 52.
  • [8] Fogelberg et al. 2010, p.10,11; Cf. White 2005, p.1.; Trans. FAZ Delbrück 2010, p.B2.
  • [9] White 2005, p.5; Cf. Fogelberg et al. 2010, p.6, 9; Trans. Filipiuk 2008, p.122. Trans. Braun et al. 2009, p.7.
  • [10] White 2005, p.1.
  • [11] More commonly known as the “Stern Report”
  • [12] Gardner/Prugh 2008, p.7.; Cf. Zu 2009, p.18.
  • [13] Fogelberg et al. 2010, p.11; Trans. FAZ Schneider 2009, B1.
  • [14] Trans. FAZ Schneider 2009, B1.
  • [15] Trans. Bergius 2009, p.1; Cf. KPMG 2000, 2.
  • [16] PWC 2007, p.4.
  • [17] Klein 2005, p.21;Cf. GRI 2009, Executive Summary, p.2.


Bergius Susanne (2009): Nachhaltigkeit – Finanzprofis fordern Berichtspflicht. In: Handelsblatt vom 22.07.2009. Online:;2435470 [last date: 2010-06-17].

Braun, Sabine/Clausen, Dr. Jens/Loew, Thomas (2009): Innovation durch CSR – Die Zukunft nachhaltig gestalten. Bundesministerium für Umwelt, Naturschutz und Reaktorsicherheit. Online: [last date: 2010-06-16].

Fogelberg, Teresa/Pagotto Isabella/Iansen-Rogers, Jennifer/Lugt, v.d. Cornis/Malan, Daniel/Yortt, Anna (2010): Carrots And Sticks – Promoting Transparency And Sustainability. By: UNEP, GRI, KPMG and University of Stellenbosch Business School. Online: [last date: 2010-06-16].

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Verlagsbeilage(2009): CSR. Issued: Wednesday, 10.06.2009. Number 132.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Verlagsbeilage(2010): CSR. Issued: Wednesday, 09.06.2010. Number 130.

Filipiuk, Bogna (2008): Transparenz der Risikoberichterstattung - Anforderungen und Umsetzung in der Unternehmenspraxis. Gabler Verlag. Wiesbaden.

Fischer, Simone/Dr. Lenz, Peter (2009): KPMG-Handbuch zur Nachhaltigskeitsberichterstattung 2008/09 – Deutschlands 100 umsatzstärksten Unternehmen im internationalen Vergleich. Online: [last date: 2010-06-16].

Gardner, Gary/Prugh Thomas (2008): State of the World 2008 – Innovations for a Sustainable Economy. Worldwatch Institute. First edit. London: Norton & Company.

GRI (2009): Reaching Investors – Communicating Value through ESG Disclosure. Online: [last date: 2010-06-08]. See CD.

Hohnen, Paul (2007): CSR – An Implementation Guide for Business, International Institute for Sustainability. Access to digital version online: [last opening: 2010-05-22].

Klein, Dr. Alex (2005): Accounting for Good – the Global Stakeholder Report 2005 – the Second World-wide Survey on Stakeholder Attitudes to CSR Reporting. Online: [last date: 28-06-2010].

KPMG (2000): Beyond the number. Online: [last date: 2010-06-16].

Porter, Michael E./Kramer, Mark R. (2006): Strategy and Society – The Link Between Competitive Advantage and Corporate Social Responsibility. In: HBR, Dec., p.1-15.

PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC) (2007):Corporate reporting – a time for reflection. Online: [last date: 2010-07-06].

White, Allen L. (2005): New Wine, New Bottles – The Rise of Non-Financial Reporting. In: Business for Social Responsibility. Online: [last date: 2010-06-16].

Zu, Liangong (2009): Corporate Social Responsibility, Corporate Restructuring and Firm’s Performance -Empirical Evidence from Chinese Enterprises. Berlin Heidel-berg: Springer-Verlag

Sustainability and higher education

In this series of four articles written by Sorina Antonescu for the Social Economy in Higher Education project, the concept of sustainability in relation to higher education institutions is discussed.

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In the first article, she starts by discussing the notion of sustainability and sustainable development (SD) from a historical perspective and then break it down into more specific information; in the second half of the article she narrows the area of SD further to HEIs and provides a number of reasons as to why they are such an optimal starting point for imbuing a sustainable ethos in their curricula, operations, outreach and research.

In the second article, she outlines and develops on the number of setbacks that universities face in institutionalising sustainability into the aforementioned areas both from the perspective of finance, resources, and the prevalent conservative nature of HEIs in maintaining a traditional modularity and specialisation of subjects that somehow clashes with the interdisciplinary nature of sustainability.

In the third article, she outlines the advantages that HEIs have relative to other institutions in society to take the lead and take the first step towards creating a sustainable mindset that is then mirrored in universities' policies and practices and explains why they are able to do that.

And in the fourth article, she outlines a number of successful attempts based on various case studies and attempts to identify the key factors that would enable HEIs to implement sustainability into their curricula, operations, research and outreach. .

Read the Sustainability and higher education articles

About the author

Sorina Antonescu is a graduate in English Language and Linguistics from the University of York, with a pervasive and sustained, long-term interest in areas of sustainability and sustainable development, particularly in the context of Higher Education Institutions. Sorina currently works as an independent researcher for the Network of Early-Career Sustainable Scientists and Engineers (NESSE) where she studies the incorporation of sustainability into science and engineering curricula in UK universities. Sorina is also a former intern at Envirocrew CIC and a past contributing writer for Chemistry Review and NOUSE.

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