“There can no longer be an economy that conquers markets and an economy that repairs”

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After two years of pandemic, the return of war in Europe destabilizes security on the continent and the world. It attacks our model of liberal democracy, which is already weakened from within by social and territorial inequalities. At the same time, the climate crisis and the collapse of biodiversity pose global dangers to the very way we inhabit our planet.

These challenges call for profound questions about the governance of our democracies in the organization of public authorities, but above all our economic model and the functioning of our companies. The creation of prosperity is happening today with unsustainable social and environmental consequences.

A great transformation lies ahead of us. For the time being, it is taking the form of a “major layoff”. More and more employees and young graduates are refusing to attend the end of the world to ensure their end of the month. They bring promising solutions outside the world of traditional business, in associations, social enterprises or within collectives. It is urgent to be too strong to be content to observe this slow pollination. A determined public action must strengthen the transformation. The time has come for an ambitious effect policy.

Create a “national influence”

We are not based on a blank sheet. The French economy has always sought to be both competitive and contributing. In recent years, emphasis has been placed on competitiveness, with the ambition of making France a “start-up nation” by relying on and giving energy to the country’s innovative power. The success of French Tech and the multiplication of the number of “unicorns” [start-up valorisées à plus de 1 milliard de dollars] are the results of these efforts.

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“Start-ups have gone from pigeons to unicorns”

But competitiveness alone is not enough to create a strong, united, inclusive society capable of mobilizing to defend its values. Our ambition must be to create an “impact nation”, a large ecological nation, by directing our innovation towards social and environmental impact.

For more than two hundred years, our economy has also evolved thanks to the efforts of men and women, whose main motive is the solution of social, societal and most recently environmental problems. The Social and Solidarity Economy (ESS), made up of associations, cooperatives, mutuals and social enterprises, already represents 10% of our GDP. But today, there can no longer be an economy that produces, that conquers markets, and an economy that repairs.

Christophe Itier: The “social and ecological” entrepreneurial revolution is underway

Our future is only sustainably possible if the whole productive system takes care of humanity and the environment and cares about a fairer and fairer sharing of power and value.

Three axes

This policy must be based on three axes:

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1 / Gathering forces – We continue to oppose all too often those who defend the SSE’s counter-model and those who change companies from within, but strictly speaking do not belong to the SSE. The current transition requires a convergence of approaches. It can accommodate neither a categorical defense of a sector nor the obvious risks of “greenwashing” or “social washing” that would distort pioneers’ ambitions. Let’s unite the energies of a National Impact Council with representatives of SSEs, mission-driven companies, impact finance and CSR.

When employees push their box to get greener

2 / Clarify – The living forces in our country need a simple and clear framework to invent new contributing economic models. The governance model for the “mission community” can be further strengthened and become the foundation of committed organizations. Some go a step further with limited profit commitments and shared management by choosing SSE status.

They deserve to be recognized, supported and enjoy benefits to varying degrees depending on their commitment, in addition to those that already exist, such as access to solidarity funding. It is a global ecosystem that we must create, a continuum of organizations, with different statutes, different levels of commitment, but which participate in the emergence of a power economy.

3 / Support – This power economy has nothing to do with a narrow “niche”. On the contrary, it is attractive, capable of evolving, even outside our borders. It needs to be supported, just like the “technological” ecosystem of the last five years. By highlighting the proponents of this “nation of influence”; by explaining this concept in schools, professional networks; by making impact a tool for reclaiming our territories; by questioning the functioning and governance of the care, dependency and education sectors.

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Emmanuel Faber, the former CEO of Danone, who wants to put capitalism on new tracks

By developing impact finance, and why not an impact bank, a national initiative like Bpifrance. By involving the social partners to make the power economy an opportunity for all citizens who want to get involved in the transition through their work.

This impact policy is in line with the nation’s other main objectives: food and energy sovereignty, ecological transition, social and territorial cohesion, prioritization of health and education, equal opportunities. This is in line with our European commitment, because France can bring this model to the continental level.

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If we miss out on certain energies in the years to come, that of the thousands of our fellow citizens who want to act will be abundant. Let’s help it with an ambitious policy!

The petitioners

Philippe Zaouati, CEO of Mirova
Guillaume Desnoës, co-founder of Alenvi
Karim Amellal, founder of the Pluriel movement
Nicolas Bourgeois, associate director of Identité RH, founder of the think tank Néos
Laura Collin, impact finance rapporteur from the Pluriel movement
David Djaïz, senior official and essayist
Geneviève Férone-Creuzet, co-founder of Prophil
Stéphanie Goujon, general manager of French Impact
Laurence Grandcolas, President of MySezame
Jacques Huybrechts, organizer of the University of the Earth and Parliament of Future Entrepreneurs
Christophe Itier, former High Commissioner for Social and Solidarity Economy
Emery Jacquillat, CEO of Camif
Elisabeth Laville, founder of Utopias
Laurence Méhaignerie, President of Citizen Capital
Jean Moreau, co-president of the Impact France movement
Eva Sadoun, co-president of the Impact France movement
Nadia Sammut, star chef, Auberge La Fenière
Jérôme Schatzman, CEO of Essec Chair of Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship
Alain Schnapper, Chairman of Responsible Governance
Catherine Touvrey, General Manager Harmonie Mutuelle

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