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About social economy

What is the social economy?

Key figures about social economy

key figures infographics

A note on the social economy data used: The best currently available data on the social economy has some limitations and dates back a few years. For more details, see our note on social economy data.

Definitions and glossary

Defining the social economy is a challenging task because of its diversity and the various traditions in different countries around the globe. The EU definition paraphrased above is therefore not the only attempt of defining what the social economy is.

Expressions other than "social economy" are used as well: for example "Social and Solidarity Economy" and "Third sector".

Find out more about definitions and consult our social economy glossary

organisations infographics

Mapping of stakeholders and networks

Social economy organisations play a key role in driving the social economy in Europe. For the Social Economy Gateway, we have compiled a list with some of the most relevant organisations at EU-level:

Mapping of social economy networks

Social economy worldwide

Social economy entities exist globally, and the traditions and structures of social economy ecosystems vary across different regions and countries.

International organisations such as the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the International Labour Organisation and the United Nations are working on the topic of social economy worldwide.

Read more on social economy worldwide

Social economy declarations

In the past ten years, there have been a number of political declarations on (or related to) the social economy. Please see below a list of these declarations and the links to their full texts.