What is Solidarity Economy?

The term solidarity economy refers to the sphere of production and exchange of goods and services within a sector that consists of companies and organizations driven by social, rather than purely commercial goals.

The sphere of solidarity economy encompasses a wide range of organizational forms, based on the principles of cooperation, solidarity, and democratic governance, and mainly includes: cooperatives, social enterprises, associations, foundations, self-help groups, cooperative banks and social finance systems, alternative food chains, fair trade networks, associations of employees in the informal sector, as well as civil society organizations that seek to break their donor-dependence and achieve self-sustainability.

The notion of solidarity economy is often intertwined with the notion of social economy; with the two terms being mostly (justifiably) used as synonyms. However, as a difference between these two concepts, it could be pointed out that the concept of social economy is understood as a corrective and supplement to the current economic system, while the concept of solidarity economy advocates the transformation of the entire economic system based on solidarity principles.

So, basically, the concept of solidarity economy aims to create a form of economy that rests on justice, equality, and care for the vulnerable instead of the profit and unlimited accumulation of wealth.