Special Issue "The Contribution of the Social Economy to the Sustainable Development Goals"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 August 2020).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Adoración Mozas Moral
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Business Organization, Marketing and Sociology, Faculty of Social and Legal Sciences, University of Jaén
Interests: sustainability; social economy; SDG; sustainable management and entrepreneurship
Dr. Enrique Bernal Jurado
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Economy, Faculty of Social and Legal Sciences, University of Jaén
Interests: sustainability; social economy; SDG; sustainable management and entrepreneurship

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The contribution of Social Economy entities (both market and nonmarket) to the Sustainable Development Goals has not gone unnoticed by the United Nations or by other International Organizations, such as the International Cooperative Alliance, Social Economy Europe, The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) or CIRIEC International.

The United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on Social and Solidarity Economy noted the importance of the Social and Solidarity Economy, indicating that it could play a key role in achieving the 2030 Agenda and the SDG by promoting inclusive and sustainable development through specific social, institutional, and technological innovations and practices. In addition, it pointed out the links between the Social and Solidarity Economy and the 17 SDGs that highlighted its potential as an “alternative development model” to address the structural bases on which exclusionary and unsustainable development is based. The Social Economy is not only able to act through its companies and entities, but the civil society that is involved in these companies and organizations can collaborate to achieve those objectives. An example would be the activity of thousands of volunteers in the thousands of associations spread throughout the world.

The objective of this Special Issue is to highlight the importance of the Social Economy in the 17 SDGs and in the 5 axes of their analysis, namely: people, planet, prosperity, peace, and partnerships.

This Special Issue presents different approaches in the analysis of the object of study. We call on all the works that address the analysis of the contribution of the Social Economy to the SDGs from the point of view of the economy, the organization of companies, marketing and market research, accounting and finance, as well as other related areas such as sociology and transversal areas such as digitalization or innovation.

This Special Issue focuses its attention on the following topics but is not limited to them:

  • Sustainability of the planet and social economy;
  • Role of cooperatives and social and solidarity economy in the ecological transition;
  • Circular economy and social economy;
  • Sustainable tourism and social economy;
  • Sustainable entrepreneurship, social innovation, and social economy;
  • Bioeconomy, green economy, and social economy;
  • Protection of people, human rights, social exclusion, and social economy;
  • Decent work, economic growth, and social economy;
  • Responsible production and consumption and social economy;
  • Prosperity, economic development, diversification, and social economy;
  • Digital revolution, digitalization, and collaborative economy through social economy;
  • Building solidarity ecosystems promoting the SDGs: Partnerships and Social Economy;
  • Public policies and Social Economy;

The analysis of the contribution of the Social Economy to the SDGs from specific sectors of activity.

Dr. Adoración Mozas Moral
Dr. Enrique Bernal Jurado
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Social economy
  • Cooperativism
  • SDG
  • Sustainability Circular Economy
  • Sustainable tourism
  • Diversification
  • Bioeconomy
  • Digitization
  • Innovation
  • Partnerships
  • Public politics
  • Protection of human rights
  • Implications for economic development
  • Indicators, sustainability, and social economy

Published Papers (27 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Platform Economy: Connections with the Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7640; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187640 - 16 Sep 2020
Abstract
The platform economy is growing exponentially while creating expectations for its potential to contribute to a sustainable development. However, research aimed at showing the potential contribution of each platform’s business model to sustainable development is needed. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are driving [...] Read more.
The platform economy is growing exponentially while creating expectations for its potential to contribute to a sustainable development. However, research aimed at showing the potential contribution of each platform’s business model to sustainable development is needed. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are driving the policy agenda, but it remains unclear how far they encourage a sustainable platform economy. First, this article aims to study how each different type of platform contributes to sustainable development. Second, it analyses if and how the factors that contribute to the sustainable design of platforms are considered in SDGs. The paper departs from a framework of sustainable democratic qualities of the platform economy that considers governance, economic sustainability, technological and data policies, social responsibility, and external impact dimensions. The study is based on an empirical analysis of 60 platforms. The results show that a sustainable design of a platform economy promotes sustainable development. Furthermore, the contributions of the sustainable dimensions of a platform to SDGs are mainly connected to the impact and responsibility and the economic model, but governance and data dimensions are not present in the SDGs. This suggests that SDGs should improve their digital perspective to intertwine better with the sustainable platforms. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Measuring What Is Not Seen—Transparency and Good Governance Nonprofit Indicators to Overcome the Limitations of Accounting Models
Sustainability 2020, 12(18), 7275; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12187275 - 04 Sep 2020
Abstract
One of the most complex challenges currently faced by non-profit organizations (NPOs) is demonstrating that they manage resources with the highest levels of efficiency and excellence, and do not deviate from the accomplishment of their mission. Transparency and good governance are highly valuable [...] Read more.
One of the most complex challenges currently faced by non-profit organizations (NPOs) is demonstrating that they manage resources with the highest levels of efficiency and excellence, and do not deviate from the accomplishment of their mission. Transparency and good governance are highly valuable issues for the survival of these organizations. However, empirical studies and models to measure these concepts are scarce and lack consensus. The objective of this article is to develop a uniform procedure for measuring the levels of transparency and good governance in NPOs, validated by experts, that integrates the most important contributions. The main proposals are supported by lists of indicators whose compliance they try to verify. Finally, we considered the experts’ preferences to obtain the indicator weights by means of the Best–Worst Method and Minimum Cost Consensus model. The result of our work is the development of a list of indicators, which integrates the existing battery of Spanish indicators. We contribute, with this work, to improving the credibility of the third sector from the perspective of donors, users, public administrations, and society. This is an essential issue for the survival of these NPOs. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Are Cooperatives an Employment Option? A Job Preference Study of Millennial University Students
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 7210; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12177210 - 03 Sep 2020
Abstract
Millennials represent the most important group among the working age population. Destined to be the leaders of the future, their professional and personal profiles differ considerably from previous generations. Despite being considered as the most successful generation, millennials face a societal transformation and [...] Read more.
Millennials represent the most important group among the working age population. Destined to be the leaders of the future, their professional and personal profiles differ considerably from previous generations. Despite being considered as the most successful generation, millennials face a societal transformation and a labor reality marked by high levels of unemployment and underemployment that shape their career choice. Although millennials’ and university students’ job preferences have long been debated in the literature, some research gaps remain. Studies rarely consider the interplay between individuals’ profiles and the institutional form of business, particularly cooperative versus non cooperative options. To predict the compatibility between Millennials’ profiles and the cooperative job preference, a multinomial logit model is developed based on a survey of millennial business college students. Our key findings showed that some extrinsic issues are related to cooperative job preference, however the factor that has the most significant impact is the cooperative knowledge. This has important implications for the cooperative movement and for policy makers in charge of cooperative development. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Responsible Innovation for Sustainable Development Goals in Business: An Agenda for Cooperative Firms
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6948; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176948 - 26 Aug 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
In this contribution, we explore the possibilities of Responsible Innovation (RI) to assess and support the engagement of businesses in the spectrum of Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) and, in particular, cooperatives to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the firm [...] Read more.
In this contribution, we explore the possibilities of Responsible Innovation (RI) to assess and support the engagement of businesses in the spectrum of Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) and, in particular, cooperatives to the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at the firm level. We conduct a critical review of the academic literature on sustainable development and responsible innovation, focusing on the role of business to identify how firms in the spectrum of SSE can contribute through responsible innovation to the sustainable development agenda and how firms in the spectrum of SSE can benefit from it. Results suggest that firms can benefit from responsible innovation in the transformation of their business models. On the other hand, firms in the spectrum of SSE contribute to extending the scope of SDGs to business, not focusing on what cooperatives do by their nature (e.g., principles and values), but their contribution to key horizontal enablers (e.g., partnership and innovation) for the integration of firms in the sustainable development agenda. To our knowledge, this is the first time that the relationship between SSE firms and RI is assessed from the perspective of firms’ contribution to SDGs. Further research is needed to sophisticate the translation of particular tools developed in the framework of RI to firms in the spectrum of SSE and, in particular, cooperative firms. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Social and Solidarity Economy in Ecuador: Fostering an Alternative Development Model?
Sustainability 2020, 12(17), 6876; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12176876 - 24 Aug 2020
Abstract
The social and solidarity economy (SSE) has gained worldwide attention over the last decade. It represents a host of diverse economic activities which take different forms in each country, but which share solidarity values that are alternatives to mainstream market economic logics. In [...] Read more.
The social and solidarity economy (SSE) has gained worldwide attention over the last decade. It represents a host of diverse economic activities which take different forms in each country, but which share solidarity values that are alternatives to mainstream market economic logics. In Ecuador, the SSE acquired legal status in the 2008 Constitution that aimed to foster an alternative development model based on the Buen Vivir (BV) paradigm. However, despite a broad new regulatory framework for the SSE, the implementation of specific policies faces significant challenges. This article, based on fieldwork and interviews with many stakeholders, critically analyzes the transformative scope of the policies of the main newly created institution (IEPS—Instituto de Economía Popular y Solidaria). We discuss policy challenges focusing on trade-offs for small rural producers due to their dependent market integration and overall flaws in fulfilling SSE solidarity values. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Does Gender Diversity Affect Performance in Agri-Food Cooperatives? A Moderated Model
Sustainability 2020, 12(16), 6575; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12166575 - 14 Aug 2020
Abstract
Existing research about the relationship between gender diversity and performance in cooperatives is not conclusive. In view of this reality, this paper aims firstly to analyse the effectiveness of gender diversity and equality management systems (GDMS) in promoting gender diversity in the decision-making [...] Read more.
Existing research about the relationship between gender diversity and performance in cooperatives is not conclusive. In view of this reality, this paper aims firstly to analyse the effectiveness of gender diversity and equality management systems (GDMS) in promoting gender diversity in the decision-making bodies (GDDB) as well as in the performance of agri-food cooperatives. Secondly, the objective is to establish the relationship between GDDB and performance, and subsequently, to analyse the moderating effect of GDDB on three of the business strategies adopted by cooperatives in order to achieve competitive advantages: Integration strategies, internationalisation strategies, and environmental concern, based on a survey carried out in 2018 using a sample of 2489 Spanish agri-food cooperatives. A moderation analysis was conducted to test the proposed model and hypotheses. The results obtained confirm a positive relationship between the implementation by cooperatives of GDMS and GDDB. The relationship between GDMS, GDDB, and performance was not significant. The moderating effect of GDDB was only statistically significant in the case of export intensity (EI) and environmental concern (EC), although, contrary to expectations, this effect was negative, meaning that the impact of both strategies on performance becomes more apparent as GDDB is reduced. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Social Economy, Environmental Proactivity, Eco-Innovation and Performance in the Spanish Wine Sector
Sustainability 2020, 12(15), 5908; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12155908 - 22 Jul 2020
Abstract
Concerned about climate change, cooperatives in the wine sector are beginning to adapt their strategies, guided by cooperative principles that encompass high social responsibility and the pursuit of community values. In this context and focused on the analysis of the decisions that drive [...] Read more.
Concerned about climate change, cooperatives in the wine sector are beginning to adapt their strategies, guided by cooperative principles that encompass high social responsibility and the pursuit of community values. In this context and focused on the analysis of the decisions that drive firms to be more environmentally sustainable, our goal is twofold. On the one hand, we wish to examine whether there exist differences between cooperative and non-cooperative firms as regards their environmental proactivity. On the other hand, we hope to demonstrate the diversity of behaviors within the category of cooperative firms, identifying the possible patterns of environmental proactivity in Spanish cooperatives in the wine sector. We first conducted a difference of means t-test for independent samples (n = 251; sampled in 2017)—cooperatives (51) vs. non cooperative firms (200)- and then a two-stage cluster analysis and a subsequent variance analysis, using SPSS 24. Our results show no significant differences between cooperative and non-cooperative firms concerning their environmental behavior and underlines the diversity within the cooperatives in the wine sector as regards their environmental proactivity, revealing the existence of proactive, preventive and activist patterns of behavior. These patterns also show differences in the motivations for their environmental behaviors and their assessment of financial performance. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
The Contribution of the Fishermen’s Guilds and the Agrarian Transformation Societies to the Sustainable Development Goals: The Case of the Canary Islands
Sustainability 2020, 12(14), 5635; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12145635 - 13 Jul 2020
Abstract
The Social Economy entities have been recognized as key agents for achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the 2030 Agenda. To reach that, indicators are required to guide decision-making and facilitate accountability to citizens. Substantial progress has been made for the [...] Read more.
The Social Economy entities have been recognized as key agents for achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of the 2030 Agenda. To reach that, indicators are required to guide decision-making and facilitate accountability to citizens. Substantial progress has been made for the economic and environmental dimensions, but not for the social one, which is a particularly serious deficiency to support the social value that the Third Sector entities’ have for the society. The objective of this study is to advance in this line, taking two organizations of the Social Economy that operate in the rural and marine environments of an important international tourist destination in Spain, the Canary Islands. The achieve this goal, the study uses the Social Value Polyhedral Model (SPOLY) of Social Accounting in the framework of the SDG to generate a system of relevant indicators that makes possible to project the particular contribution of these social actors, guide their action towards the global objectives, and render accounts in a transparent and understandable way to their stakeholders. The results show a common ground of contribution for both organizations (goals 8 and 17), but also the influence of the sphere of activity and the connections with the community. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Business Cycle, SSE Policy, and Cooperatives: The Case of Ecuador
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5485; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135485 - 07 Jul 2020
Cited by 2
Abstract
Over the last few decades, the social and solidarity economy (SSE) has undergone complex changes, from being undervalued to being institutionalized as a key sector in the economy. Within this context of change, Ecuador is a remarkable example of a country that has [...] Read more.
Over the last few decades, the social and solidarity economy (SSE) has undergone complex changes, from being undervalued to being institutionalized as a key sector in the economy. Within this context of change, Ecuador is a remarkable example of a country that has revamped its public policy to situate the SSE in a position of prominence on the national landscape. Using the business cycle theory and based on a model of panel data from 2007–2017, this article attempts to empirically validate that the relationship between the size of Ecuadorian cooperatives, as core businesses of SSE, is coupled with the expansive and destructive economic cycles by adding two more variables: business structure and public policy. From a global perspective, the results confirm a procyclical of the behavior of cooperatives and the positive impact of the new public policy. However, the sectoral and territorial analysis concludes that only production cooperatives in the primary sector have grown in the new institutional framework, and that this growth is concentrated in provinces with a strong cooperative tradition. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Cooperative Entrepreneurship Model for Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5462; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135462 - 07 Jul 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The main objective of this research is to contribute to the economic literature on cooperative entrepreneurship as a model for sustainable development, taking into account the special alignment of the cooperative principles (ICA) with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It offers new [...] Read more.
The main objective of this research is to contribute to the economic literature on cooperative entrepreneurship as a model for sustainable development, taking into account the special alignment of the cooperative principles (ICA) with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). It offers new empirical evidence from Spain, based on Stakeholder Theory, about the differences between cooperatives (Coops) and Capitalist Firms (CFs) in relation to the distribution of economic value between the different stakeholders. For this purpose, panel data was analysed using the Correlated Random Effects approach. The results reveal that cooperative firms generate value for some of the stakeholders analysed, specifically for their partners and creditors, but no significant differences have been found with CFs in terms of workers and the state. In both cases, it can be inferred that the period analysed has influenced the results, since it has been found that, first, cooperatives adjust wages downward rather than dismiss workers during a recession, which is in line with previous research, and second, that their tax contribution to the state is lower because they are subject to a more favourable tax system in Spain. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Convergences between the Social and Solidarity Economy and Sustainable Development Goals: Case Study in the Basque Country
Sustainability 2020, 12(13), 5435; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12135435 - 06 Jul 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
This article analyzes the potential of the social and solidarity economy (SSE) to foster the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Local public policies play an important role in supporting both the SSE and SDGs. We select a case study of four SSE projects of [...] Read more.
This article analyzes the potential of the social and solidarity economy (SSE) to foster the sustainable development goals (SDGs). Local public policies play an important role in supporting both the SSE and SDGs. We select a case study of four SSE projects of a local development agency in the Basque Country, where the SSE has a considerable presence through diverse forms and experiences. We address how these projects, which are implemented in a coordinated and transversal manner, contribute to many specific targets within SDG goals number 8 (growth and decent work), 12 (sustainable consumption and production patterns), and 5 (gender equity). However, some limitations have also been identified: (i) trade-offs, in both SSE and SDGs, between economic growth and other aims centered on environmental sustainability; and (ii) avoidance of handling issues, which limits a systemic transformation. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Social Economy, Gender Equality at Work and the 2030 Agenda: Theory and Evidence from Spain
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5192; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125192 - 25 Jun 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
The improvement in women’s labor conditions and the elimination of segregation and other forms of direct or indirect discrimination have become one of the major challenges of the international political agenda, and as so have been included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) [...] Read more.
The improvement in women’s labor conditions and the elimination of segregation and other forms of direct or indirect discrimination have become one of the major challenges of the international political agenda, and as so have been included in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) launched by the UN in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. At the same time, there is an increasing interest in the effects that the Social Economy (SE) might have on the achievement of the SDGs, as a consequence of its distinguishing of people-oriented principles. The goal of this paper is to analyze the specific contribution of SE entities to the reduction of gender inequalities in the labor market. We conduct an impact analysis with quasi-experimental counterfactual techniques, in which we compare one experimental group (the SE) with a control group (profit-seeking firms) using labor data from Spain for the period 2008–2017. The results indicate that social economy entities significantly contribute to the achievement of SDGs 5, 8 and 10, showing higher female participation, more stable jobs, and a lower degree of the glass-ceiling phenomenon. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Leadership Style and Gender: A Study of Spanish Cooperatives
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5107; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125107 - 23 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
The growing global need for social cohesion and sustainable development gives visibility to cooperatives because their principles help to achieve these objectives and the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Among them, gender equality policies are in the forefront. This paper explains how [...] Read more.
The growing global need for social cohesion and sustainable development gives visibility to cooperatives because their principles help to achieve these objectives and the adoption of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Among them, gender equality policies are in the forefront. This paper explains how cooperatives contribute to women’s professional opportunities and to balancing the presence of women in management positions. It analyzes the predominant leadership styles and gender differences in cooperatives with a sample of 114 cooperative firms. The results show that: (a) Both transformational and transactional leadership styles are widely used; (b) no significant differences in leadership styles between men and women exist; and (c) the composition of management teams results in significant leadership style differences. The transformational style is less often used in mixed teams with a male majority and a woman president, and most often used in homogeneous teams (made up of only men or only women). Transactional leadership is more frequently implemented in teams made up only of women than in mixed masculine teams with a female president. These findings identify women’s leadership styles in cooperatives, pointing out their difficulties and introducing innovative proposals for contributing to their success and the achievement of SDGs in cooperatives. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Sustainable Growth in the Agro-Food Cooperatives of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain)
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 5045; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12125045 - 20 Jun 2020
Abstract
The present study aims at analysing the sustainable growth in the agro-food cooperatives of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain). To this end, the study examines the impact of the corporate social responsibility (hereinafter CSR) on the performance of the agro-food cooperatives. CSR is analysed based [...] Read more.
The present study aims at analysing the sustainable growth in the agro-food cooperatives of Castilla-La Mancha (Spain). To this end, the study examines the impact of the corporate social responsibility (hereinafter CSR) on the performance of the agro-food cooperatives. CSR is analysed based on the three dimensions suggested by the triple bottom line approach: Economic dimension, social dimension, and environmental dimension. Results are analysed using a partial least squares regression (PLS-SEM). The main contributions are as follows: (1) The measurement of the CSR through the triple bottom line approach has proven to be appropriate for the agro-food cooperatives of Castilla-la Mancha, as it presents adequate values of reliability and validity; (2) these dimensions make up the CSR, although the environmental dimension is the most relevant one for the agro-food cooperatives of Castilla-La Mancha; and (3) CSR positively and significantly affects the performance of agro-food cooperatives, as it explains 39.2% of their variance, thus confirming a sustainable growth model for the agro-food cooperatives of Castilla-La Mancha. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Managing Tourist Destinations According to the Principles of the Social Economy: The Case of the Les Oiseaux de Passage Cooperative Platform
Sustainability 2020, 12(12), 4837; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12124837 - 13 Jun 2020
Abstract
Two key factors that need to be considered in the management of tourist destinations are the model of governance that is adopted and the kind of technology that is employed. Poor decisions in this regard can have serious consequences for sustainability in accordance [...] Read more.
Two key factors that need to be considered in the management of tourist destinations are the model of governance that is adopted and the kind of technology that is employed. Poor decisions in this regard can have serious consequences for sustainability in accordance with the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This case-study analyses the outcomes of an axiological and practical application of cooperative principles, with appropriate technological support, to the territorial governance of travel and hospitality services. It focuses on the implementation of an R&D+i project to create an online cooperative platform managing 40 destinations. The practical application of these principles is seen to require a shift in perspective, not only in terms of the conception of territory, going from a space of purely capital valorisation to a commonly-held co-constructed heritage asset, but also in the approach to the use of technology, which favours peer-based collective intelligence over blind artificial intelligence. The most notable features of the model identified by the findings are increased proximity and inclusiveness on the part of users, and enhanced sustainability. With respect to the technological platform, the analysis indicates that it is scalable and replicable, as demonstrated by the growth from 7 to 40 destinations in a single year. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Innovation as the Backbone of Sustainable Development Goals
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4747; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114747 - 10 Jun 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
This paper focuses on the achievement of one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Social Economy enterprises. Specifically, this research studies which are the conditioning factors for the active use of ICT (technological [...] Read more.
This paper focuses on the achievement of one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) through the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in Social Economy enterprises. Specifically, this research studies which are the conditioning factors for the active use of ICT (technological innovation) in the second-degree of olive oil cooperativism in Spain. The reason for the importance of this sector is that it currently leads world oil production. Moreover, second-degree cooperativism overcomes one of the problems frequently pointed out by the literature on the olive sector, namely the lack of concentration and integration of supply. In order to achieve the objective established in this research study, the fuzzy set Qualitative Comparative Analysis (fsQCA) methodological technique has been used. The results obtained indicate that the degree of technological innovation is favored by the intensity of cooperative integration, diversification within the company, orientation towards the final market (packaged sales), ICT training of employees, the commercial importance of the foreign sector and the supply of ecological products. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Social Economy as the Means to Help Achieve the Targets of Sustainable Development Goal 14
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4529; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114529 - 02 Jun 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
There are practical challenges for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. In a number of policies, social economy (SE) entities can play a central role in terms of achieving their targets. One possible method of [...] Read more.
There are practical challenges for the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. In a number of policies, social economy (SE) entities can play a central role in terms of achieving their targets. One possible method of implementing several of the SDGs is through the promotion of such entities, as these have already proved to be a successful method for achieving different objectives related to a better quality of life and sustainability (i.e., the creation of jobs, reducing inequality, local investment, responsible social practices, or environmental protection). However, it is not immediately obvious that these entities can also help implement SDG 14, which aims to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.” The purpose of this paper is to empower sustainable small-scale fishing (SSF) through SE policies by means of a transdisciplinary approach. SSF is a sector that tends to be firmly rooted in local communities, with its traditions and values coinciding with those of the SE. Thus, SE entities can be an important asset to “Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets.” Therefore, different public policies in the area of SSF are proposed here in order to ensure they are implemented correctly. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Relationship between Green Innovation, Social Entrepreneurship, and Sustainable Development
Sustainability 2020, 12(11), 4467; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12114467 - 01 Jun 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Economic growth is one of the important objectives of economic policy due to the beneficial effects it has on employment and economic well-being. The work carried out in the last few decades has highlighted the roles that entrepreneurship and innovation play in promoting [...] Read more.
Economic growth is one of the important objectives of economic policy due to the beneficial effects it has on employment and economic well-being. The work carried out in the last few decades has highlighted the roles that entrepreneurship and innovation play in promoting this objective. However, the environmental deterioration resulting from policies implemented to stimulate growth has led to considerations of other objectives that are more compatible with the defense of the environment, such as sustainable development. Therefore, it is important to determine the factors that stimulate them. This paper considers traditional and social entrepreneurship and innovations and green innovation. The effect of institutions as generators of legal and economic environments on both types of entrepreneurship is contemplated. On the other hand, considering the possibility of “bidirectional causality”, the relationship between both types of entrepreneurship and institutions is also analyzed. This will allow us to design measures aimed at stimulating sustainable development. The objective of this paper is to analyze these relationships through two estimates: first, an analysis of the relationship between both types of entrepreneurship and innovations and sustainable development and second, the relationship between social and traditional entrepreneurship and institutions. In both cases, the path coefficient of each of them is compared with respect to the final objective, which would be useful when designing economic policies. Empirical analysis is carried out, producing an estimation of the structural equation modeling (SEM) model using the partial least squares (PLS) technique in the case of 20 Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cooperatives and Sustainable Development: A Multilevel Approach Based on Intangible Assets
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4099; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104099 - 17 May 2020
Cited by 1
Abstract
There is a major interest in analyzing the role of intangible assets on sustainable development, which is a topic under the auspices of the so-called 5th stage of research. Cooperatives are enterprises directly committed to sustainable development due to their dual nature–economic and [...] Read more.
There is a major interest in analyzing the role of intangible assets on sustainable development, which is a topic under the auspices of the so-called 5th stage of research. Cooperatives are enterprises directly committed to sustainable development due to their dual nature–economic and social. This paper is based on a literature review and proposes a theoretical model based on intangible assets for understanding the role of cooperatives as drivers of sustainable development. The findings show that these assets are involved in regional competitiveness and especially evident when considering cooperatives. It can be concluded that, when focusing the attention on cooperatives, it is useful to use a multilevel approach (micro and macro levels) to understand the whole process of interaction between intangible assets and sustainable development. The model aims to contribute to a line of research of great potential, but is also a practical tool for reflecting on cooperativism and for government agencies. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Transformative Policies for the Social and Solidarity Economy: The New Generation of Public Policies Fostering the Social Economy in Order to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals. The European and Spanish Cases
Sustainability 2020, 12(10), 4059; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12104059 - 15 May 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
The United Nations Agenda 2030 has recognized that Social Economy (SE) entities play an important role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). In order to maximize the impact of the SE, governments have recently deployed new policies regarding these entities. The objective [...] Read more.
The United Nations Agenda 2030 has recognized that Social Economy (SE) entities play an important role in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). In order to maximize the impact of the SE, governments have recently deployed new policies regarding these entities. The objective is to understand the context of policy change that has allowed these policies to emerge, their main characteristics and the critical factors in their construction and implementation. Successful policy cases in Europe and Spain have been studied. Qualitative data have been collected through key policy documents, experts, and focus groups. As a main finding, the study shows that this new model of policies exhibits the following features: it focuses on transformative change, follows the public-community partnership governance approach and the mainstream approach in the sense of a broader policy context, and finally, it is innovative in terms of means and of complex systematization of strategies. Difficulties in the implementation of the partnership approach, in the deployment of the policy-mainstreaming approach, and in the acceptance of the SE framed by all policymakers, SE representatives, and government staff, and constraints in financial endowment are the main critical factors in the implementation of these policies. Full article
Open AccessArticle
The Impact of the Gender Digital Divide on Sustainable Development: Comparative Analysis between the European Union and the Maghreb
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3347; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083347 - 20 Apr 2020
Abstract
Today, the relationship between gender and information and communications technologies (ICTs) is a very important element in achieving sustainable development, since ICTs play a key role in attaining gender equality and empowering women by allowing access to important information and involving them as [...] Read more.
Today, the relationship between gender and information and communications technologies (ICTs) is a very important element in achieving sustainable development, since ICTs play a key role in attaining gender equality and empowering women by allowing access to important information and involving them as actors in social, economic and environmental development. This participation is closely linked to the degree of education, training and employability, and so women bring added value to the technology sector and not only to it, but also to all sectors associated with it, through their contribution to R&D and Innovation. The 17 goals adopted in Agenda 21 constitute a roadmap that aims to involve all actors and impose gender equality in each one of these goals. In this study, we compare the innovation and gender index of four Mediterranean countries (France, Spain, Morocco, and Algeria) and analyze how some indexes related with “the gender digital divide” affect the achievement of these sustainable development goals. It has been observed that Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 2, 3, 4, 5, 8, 9 and 10 are the most influenced by ICT and the gender digital divide, and that none of the countries in our study have achieved them, although France and Spain present a moderate trend towards their achievement by 2030, and to support this statement, a multiple linear regression has been performed at a global level for the countries that have all of the indicators’ data available. The empirical results show that the gender digital divide has a negative effect on this accomplishment and that the technology disposition has a positive effect on them. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
International Expansion of Social Enterprises as a Catalyst for Scaling up Social Impact across Borders
Sustainability 2020, 12(8), 3262; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12083262 - 17 Apr 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Scaling social impact and solutions beyond the local context is argued to embody a key mechanism for social enterprises (SEs) to contribute to the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and to generate welfare-enhancing systemic change. In light of this, this article [...] Read more.
Scaling social impact and solutions beyond the local context is argued to embody a key mechanism for social enterprises (SEs) to contribute to the achievement of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) and to generate welfare-enhancing systemic change. In light of this, this article explores the potential of SE international expansion as a catalyst for scaling social impact across borders. From our reading of the literature, we discern three major typologies of cross-border scaling: Control-based, altruism-based, and hybrid. Drawing on a multiple-case study of nine international SEs, we examine why and how SEs deploy these scaling strategies on an international scale; the challenges to maximize social impact across borders associated with each of the scaling strategies, and the resources and actions that SEs can mobilize to manage such challenges associated with international expansion. Contrary to conventional wisdom and mainstream theory depicting SEs as small-sized organizations that suffer from different limitations to expand beyond their traditional national boundaries, our findings illustrate how these organizations can successfully operate on an international scale and simultaneously generate financial, social, and environmental value. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Socially Active Aging and Self-Reported Health: Building a Sustainable Solidarity Ecosystem
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2665; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072665 - 27 Mar 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Senior volunteering is associated with improved welfare, in addition to contributing to social development. Thus, the involvement of seniors in non-profit organizations (NPO), the third sector, or the social economy is encouraged by European national governments. At the organizational level, the situation for [...] Read more.
Senior volunteering is associated with improved welfare, in addition to contributing to social development. Thus, the involvement of seniors in non-profit organizations (NPO), the third sector, or the social economy is encouraged by European national governments. At the organizational level, the situation for older volunteers in the third sector has improved in recent years, mainly due to European legal regulations. Despite a certain degree of homogenization across European countries, significant national differences persist in the adoption and promotion of volunteering. The present study examines the link between self-reported health and participation in volunteering activities among European seniors, stratified by sex and generation (the Silent Generation and the Baby Boomer Generation). We focus our analysis on seniors living in Germany, Poland, Romania, Russia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and Ukraine. Analyses were conducted using empirical micro data from the World Values Survey (WVS; 1994/98, 2005/09 and 2010/14). Our results demonstrate the positive impact of volunteering on health status among the elderly, although we observed marked differences in the associated benefits between sexes, generational cohorts, and countries. Public policies should be developed with this important source of social capital in mind, but should also seek to address existing inequity. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Digitalization of Agri-Cooperatives in the Smart Agriculture Context. Proposal of a Digital Diagnosis Tool
Sustainability 2020, 12(4), 1325; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12041325 - 12 Feb 2020
Cited by 5
Abstract
The use of digital technologies has been recognized as one of the great challenges for businesses of the 21st century. This digitalization is characterized by the intensive use of information technologies in the different stages of the value chain of a sector. In [...] Read more.
The use of digital technologies has been recognized as one of the great challenges for businesses of the 21st century. This digitalization is characterized by the intensive use of information technologies in the different stages of the value chain of a sector. In this context, smart agriculture is transforming the agricultural sector in terms of economic, social, and environmental sustainability. In some countries, cooperatives, as the most common legal form of the incumbent companies, in this rather traditional low-intensive technology sector, are going to develop a relevant role in the process of adoption of these technologies. In this context, this paper provides, first, a review of the evolution of the main digital technologies, such as Internet of Things, robots, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, and Blockchain, among others. Second, a description of the digital innovation process in agri-cooperatives in order to help them in the decision-making process, and third, a digital diagnosis tool for measuring cooperatives’ digital innovation. This tool is initially applied to two cases of agri-cooperatives in Spain. All of this contributes to a better understanding of digitalization of agri-cooperatives in the context of smart agriculture. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Labour Inclusion of People with Disabilities: What Role Do the Social and Solidarity Economy Entities Play?
Sustainability 2020, 12(3), 1079; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12031079 - 03 Feb 2020
Cited by 3
Abstract
Economic theory presupposes that the Entities of the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) should exhibit a greater sensitivity in the labour insertion of groups in danger of social exclusion than should the Capitalist Companies (CC). Therefore, it is expected that the SSE will [...] Read more.
Economic theory presupposes that the Entities of the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE) should exhibit a greater sensitivity in the labour insertion of groups in danger of social exclusion than should the Capitalist Companies (CC). Therefore, it is expected that the SSE will employ a greater number of people with socio-labour characteristics among its workers against whom the ordinary labour market discriminates negatively. In this context, the objective of this research is focused on the analysis of socio-labour characteristics, salary differences and the degree of inequality in the distribution of salary income of the group of workers with disabilities in the SSE compared to CCs in Spain during the Great Recession (2007–2013) and the beginning of the current economic recovery (2013–2016). Using the data from the Continuous Sample of Working Histories (MCVL, in Spanish), our results show a greater sensitivity from the SSE compared to the CC in labour inclusion of workers with disabilities as well as for most socio-labour characteristics against which the ordinary labour market discriminates negatively. A second conclusion of the results is that the SSE provides a more equitable distribution of salary income for workers with disabilities than the CC, although the wages are comparatively lower. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fostering the Sustainable Development Goals from an Ecosystem Conducive to the SE: The Galician’s Case
Sustainability 2020, 12(2), 500; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12020500 - 09 Jan 2020
Cited by 8
Abstract
The special alignment of the principles and effects of the social economy (SE) with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) renders this area especially suitable for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of these goals, favoring a paradigm shift towards a [...] Read more.
The special alignment of the principles and effects of the social economy (SE) with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) renders this area especially suitable for the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the achievement of these goals, favoring a paradigm shift towards a new economic system that reconciles growth and sustainability. In this context, governments and institutions can moderate or accelerate this path, with the implementation of a series of policies to promote and drive the social economy. In Spain, responsibility for the design and implementation of such policies is transferred to sub-central governments, known as autonomous communities. Galicia is the first Spanish autonomous community to have its own Act on SE. This article explains the promotion strategy established in this region, which has resulted in an ecosystem favorable to the development and consolidation of the Galician SE, based on a combination of public policies with synergistic effects. The outcome of this ecosystem could have a significant impact on the achievement of several of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially the promotion of equal opportunities (SDG 5), the promotion of decent work and economic growth (SDG 8), and the reduction of inequalities (SDG 10). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Capturing the Invisible Wealth in Nonprofits to Overcome Myopic Perceptions
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12010048 - 19 Dec 2019
Abstract
Since nonprofits use third-party funds for their activities, they are often perceived as resource managers or spending units, instead of being considered as social wealth generating entities. The aim of this study is to help to overcome this myopic perception by showing how [...] Read more.
Since nonprofits use third-party funds for their activities, they are often perceived as resource managers or spending units, instead of being considered as social wealth generating entities. The aim of this study is to help to overcome this myopic perception by showing how the invisible wealth generated by these organizations can be made visible. We use the SROI methodology to do so, by identifying stakeholders, outcomes (tangible, intangible) and social impacts in a drug addiction treatment centre. The results show that social impact in monetary terms exceeds that of the inputs used, confirming the idea that addiction-based nonprofits are social wealth generating units. The conclusion drawn is that social impact measurement should be widely used as a management tool and a mechanism for reinforcing the social image of nonprofits. Full article
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