The social economy

Maintaining work opportunities for people marginalised in today’s labour market

RREUSE primarily represents so-called Work Integration Social Enterprises (WISE) which use the economic activity of re-use, repair and recycling to provide job and training opportunities for people often distanced from the mainstream labour market. The benefits to society are potentially huge, but hard if not impossible to value in purely economic terms.

Our aims

Often social enterprises operate in economic niches which might not, at first, seem profitable. If this changes, however, the competition from different actors can push them out of the market and destroy their social value. As such RREUSE aims to make sure social enterprises are well represented in the relevant legislation through:

  • Advocating for the inclusion of social clauses within tendering procedures and EU legislation affecting re-use
  • Working with EU member states to ensure the environmental and social clauses of the new EU Public Procurement Directive are used to their full potential
  • Linking social clauses more strongly to the review of the Waste Framework Directive
  • Cooperation with other partners in the promotion of social clauses and awareness raising of best practices

EU policy agenda


RREUSE is working to ensure Member States make use of new environmental and social clauses proposed by the Public Procurement Directive, which is currently being translated into national laws around Europe. In particular we are encouraging EU Member States to make use of reserved contracts in tendering procedures for social enterprises (article 20 of Public Procurement Directive). To this end, RREUSE is cooperating with the Network of Sustainable Public Procurement and Development (NSPDD) on a guidance document for national transposition of the Public Procurement Directive, especially social partners and the ENSIE network.

Further reading on social enterprise

EESC recommendations on social enterprise

A map of social enterprises and their eco-systems in Europe

The impact investment: the invisible heart of markets

The Social Business Initiative of the European Commission

Policy meets practice – enabling the growth of social enterprises

Lorry for transporting goods prepared for re-use by a social enterprise in Spain.
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