Workshop 5: Building a democratic economy for a just transition

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16 March 2022 – 14:00-16:00

Organised by: Social Economy Europe (SEE), SOLIDAR, Cooperatives Europe and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) in cooperation with the EESC Section on Agriculture, Rural Development and the Environment (NAT) and the Sustainable Development Observatory (SDO)

Live streaming:

Draft programme

14:00 - 14:10      Welcome and opening remarks by Katy Wiese (EEB) and Andrea Casamenti (SOLIDAR)

14:10 – 14:40     Opening panel: What is the EU doing to achieve a Just and Democratic Transition to climate neutrality?

  • Cillian Lohan, EESC Vice President
  • Maravillas Espín, Director-General for Social Economy, Self Employment and CSR of the Spanish Government
  • Aleksandra Tomczak, Member of Cabinet of the Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans

14:40 – 15:35     Second panel: What constitutes a democratic economy for a just transition and how to scale up positive initiatives?

  • Josh Roberts, Senior Policy Advisor at RESCOOP 
  • Simona Fabiani, Environment and Territory Manager at the Italian General Confederation of Labour (CGIL)
  •  Monika Sadkowska, Coordinator of the Secretariat of the Forum of Mayors for Just Transition
  • Jana Žůrková, Network Development & Innovation Manager at RREUSE - Reuse and Recycling European Union Social Enterprises

15:35 – 16:00     Closing remarks:

  • Oliver Röpke, President of the EESC Worker's Group 
  • Suzanne Westhausen, President of Cooperatives Europe
  • Mikael Leyi, Secretary General of SOLIDAR
  • Juan Antonio Pedreño, President of SEE


Concept note

To achieve the objective of reducing EU greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 and to reach climate neutrality by 2050, it is both urgent and vital to take fast, bold and transformative action at all levels of society, in all sectors and in every region of the European continent. This transition or transformation starts with re-shaping our economies to be more democratic, equal, diverse, collaborative, circular and sustainable. A socio-ecological well-being economy, in which the well-being of people and the planet, and not the pursuit of profit, constitutes the framework for all policies, is a precondition for a socially and gender just and fair transition to climate neutrality. In this sense, social economy enterprises and organisations – such as cooperatives, mutuals, associations, foundations and social enterprises –, as well as trade unions and social movements are already providing collective and citizen-led solutions to the climate emergency and for the ecological transition. But how do we achieve this? What kind of economy and alliances exactly do we need? This workshop will tackle these (and other) questions.

This workshop is addressed mainly to civil society, citizens, entrepreneurs, change-makers, trade unions, foundations, etc. who wish to join forces to truly achieve an economy that works for people and the planet, making sure that Europe leads the green and digital transitions, leaving no one behind, and ensuring that citizens actively participate in the transitions and can be supported by the EU institutions and other public authorities. 

This workshop aims to

  1. build meaningful alliances of diverse stakeholders aiming to achieve a just transition (including stakeholders from other regions of the world); 
  2. find concrete ways to cooperate and join forces; 
  3. showcase citizens-led and inclusive solutions to the climate and environmental crisis;
  4. explore ways to scale up these solutions and establish cooperation with EU institutions.