February, 2015

The Global Vision for a Social Solidarity Economy: Convergences and Differences in Concepts, Definitions and Frameworks paper released by RIPESS is part of a process of debate and consultation that has been carried out throughout the years. Reflecting on practices, concepts and frameworks shaping social solidarity economy (SSE) is an ongoing process since the first meeting on the globalization of solidarity in Lima in 1997. The vision of SSE has been steadfast, but underlying concepts, definitions and frameworks have, and continue to evolve. 

The actors of SSE are invited to use this document as a tool for reference, reflection and education in their activities for building and promoting an alternative model of development based on SSE. The global vision paper lays out the main elements that arose from the discussions and identifies areas to explore further.

  • Download here the Global Vision in pdf
  • The global vision of SSE is an evolving process. We invite you to send us your comments and thoughts using the form below or writing us at info@ripess.org.

The consultation on the Global Vision of SSE

In 2012, the RIPESS Board decided to make the RIPESS Global Vision one of the main themes of the 5th Meeting of the SSE which was held in Manila in October 2013. We organized a global consultation process in which an earlier draft of this paper was widely circulated and each continent took on the responsibility of moving the dialogue through a mixture of live meetings, conference calls and electronic communication. There was also an electronic forum on the RIPESS website that was open for comments from anyone throughout the world. At the Manila Meeting there were around 100 people who participated in a lively and productive World Café exercise to further explore, discuss and share their views on the meaning of the SSE. This paper builds on the whole of this process, as well as the RIPESS Charter that was adopted in 2008 which lays out our values, mission and vision.

Our intent was to clarify our visions and understandings of SSE, so as to move towards greater convergence where possible, and to understand more clearly the differences that remain. We seeked to deepen our understanding of each other’s concepts, and the specificities of local contexts, rather than to reach agreement on a single concept or definition. Due to SSE’s strong roots in grassroots practice throughout the world, it is unavoidable that there are differences due to culture, history, actors, and language. We did find however, that often what appeared at first glance to be differences, disappeared or narrowed considerably in the process of deeper exploration.

Issues addressed in the Global Vision paper

  • How is SSE defined in relations to its practices?
  • What are the criteria and indicators for defining an initiative as being a SSE initiative?
  • What different organizational/institutional forms/expressions are SSE and which are not SSE?
  • How does SSE conceive development and (de)growth?
  • What is the relationship of SSE with social movements?
  • What is the relationship of SSE with capitalism and capitalist market?
  • How does SSE address Sustainability and Ecology?
  • What is the relationship of SSE with other “adjective” economies? (eg. green Economy; social enterprise; creative economy; popular economy; territory (or local) economy; community economy)

Enjoy the reading !



Comments and thoughts on the Global Vision

This paper captures the reflections shared in a first series of discussions and debates on the global vision. The vision, concepts and practices shaping SSE will keep evolving. More discussions within the SSE global movement will be needed in the coming years to go further in our understanding of the various approaches to SSE and their core concepts.

RIPESS invites SSE actors, researchers and any interested person to contribute to the global vision process by sending their comments and thoughts on this paper using the form below or writing us at info@ripess.org.