The companies of the Social Economy are at the forefront of the change that society demands. It is a business model that in Spain has more than 43,000 companies, more than 2.3 million jobs, more than 20 million associated people and 10% of GDP. In Europe it represents 2.8 million companies employing 13.6 million people and accounts for 8% of European GDP. “It is a business model that is accelerating the major transformation processes in Europe, and it does so with competitive companies, present in all economic sectors and with a great commitment to sustainability, solidarity, equality, the correction of social and territorial inequalities and the generation of stable, quality employment and inclusive. It is an economy that leaves no one behind ”, explains Juan Antonio Pedreño, president of the Spanish Business Confederation of the Social Economy (Cepes), an entity that stimulates this business reality in Spain that groups together cooperatives, labor societies, mutual societies, insertion companies, special employment centers, fishermen’s associations and associations of the disability sector.
According to Law 5/2011 on Social Economy we understand as such the set of economic and business activities that, in the private sphere, are carried out by those entities that pursue the general economic or social interest, or both. It should be noted that this model places people and the planet at the center, with business activity being a means to improve collective well-being.
It is also participatory and democratic in decision-making and reinvests most of the profits to continue growing, creating jobs and implementing sustainable development goals. It is also characterized by implanting the principles of social cohesion, solidarity, equal opportunities, serving groups in exclusion and establishing population and contributing to territorial development. The Social Economy is committed to the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals, identified as one of the policy levers defined by the Government of Spain.
As the president of Cepes emphasizes, “we are the future and part of the solution to overcome the current crisis and rebuild our economies and societies in a better way: without leaving anyone behind and fighting existential challenges for human beings such as change climate or inequality, “adds Pedreño.
And this is what Cepes works on: the entity, for example, is one of the protagonists of the Plan for the Promotion of Professional Training of the Self Employed and the Social Economy presented last November by the Minister of Labor and Social Economy, Yolanda Díaz. This plan aims to anticipate the training needs of workers in the Social Economy and establish the foundations for a global transformation, led by modernization, digitization, driven in turn by advances in artificial intelligence and robotics. In this new socioeconomic scenario, society demands competitiveness, but also values and companies that care about the well-being of people, the environment, and that contribute to building more just and balanced societies, where social and territorial inequalities are eliminated.
And in this context, Juan Antonio Pedreño confirms that “the Social Economy must be the lever of change to promote sustainable development that excludes no one, economic growth and transformation in accordance with the 2030 Agenda.”
Next Generation UE
The European Next Generation EU Recovery Plan, with its various tools including the Recovery and Resilience Instrument, plays a central role. Together with the European budget and the Union’s flagship policies such as the Green Pact, the digital transition, the Social Pillar and the Social Economy Action Plan they represent a historic opportunity, not only to address the current crisis, but also to reform the foundations of our economy, addressing the green and digital transitions, and ensuring long-lasting, sustainable prosperity for all people.
“In the next three years (2021-2023) we Europeans are not only gambling with the possibility of leaving the crisis behind, but also of rewriting our future and deciding what type of economy we want,” says Juan Antonio Pedreño. And to rewrite this future, companies, society, working people, governments, social agents «We have the great challenge of adapting the economy and our lives to the new emerging sectors and training ourselves in the jobs of the future, and all this to balance the imbalances that all this can generate in employment, “he points out.
From Cepes they recall that people and companies in the Social Economy have a fundamental role that must be strengthened to strengthen their position in the market and also to unleash their full potential in line with the priorities of the Recovery and Resilience Plan of Spain to respond to the demands from Europe.
Opening new paths
The Social Economy, thanks to the State Foundation for Employment Training (Fundae), is developing several projects with which it is intended to lay the foundations to move towards a Digital Transformation and adapt training to new professional profiles and also analyze the job opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship that the Social Economy represents for young people. On December 22, Cepes will publicly present the results of these studies and the battery of recommendations to continue walking with guarantees towards the future.