SKI.F.T. Newsletter #1

SKI.F.T. news


Call for applicants : Free advisory and coaching services for micro and small social economy enterprises wishing to engage in or deepen green transition processes

Combining environmental impact with core principles of the social economy – Second meeting of the SKI.F.T project in Bologna

Interview: Green transition challenges for small social economy enterprises


Capacity-building for green transition – Good practices from SKI.F.T. partners and beyond:


FISE Eco-Auditing

Legacoop : Training programme for Cooperative Sustainability Managers

Demetra Formazione : Green Traffic Light Coaching Activities

ANEL (ES) : Diagnosis tool regarding the implementation of six Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by social economy

VALORESS – a free online tool to support micro and small social economy enterprises (FR)

Groupe ONE /Brussels-Capital Region (BE): EXPLORE Programme

City of Ghent (BE): Social-Circular Hub Ghent


EU News


EU Waste Framework Directive

Call for applicants : Free advisory services for micro and small social economy enterprises wishing to engage in or deepen green transition processes

The SKI.F.T. Consortium has launched a call for micro and small social economy enterprises interested in receiving free advisory services and coaching with the aim to get a deeper understanding of the possibilities linked to green transition and to increase success and impact of their transition projects.

You will be able to access it HERE (EU Funding&Tenders Portal) as well as on the SKI.F.T. webpage :

The objective of the services offered is to contribute to strengthening the resilience, innovation capacity, competitiveness, and sustainability of small and micro cooperative and social economy enterprises (SEs) with a social mission or impact across Europe, enabling them to embrace green transition. Services will be provided in Danish, Italian, Polish and English language.

Applications must be submitted by a single applicant.

The expected total number of micro and small social economy enterprises to be selected is at least 60.

Furthermore, for a selected number of applicants that will successfully take part in the Advisory and Coaching Activities, there is the opportunity to apply in a following call for social economy enterprises to receive financial support for purchasing capacity building services (to be launched in October 2024) and the opportunity to participate in one transnational seminar on green transition at European level planned for January-February 2025.

Combining environmental impact with core principles of the social economy: Second capacity-building meeting of the SKI.F.T project in Bologna

Sustainability development, planning, implementing, measuring and communicating processes of green transition –  what does or should this mean from the perspective of a micro or small social economy enterprise? How should it be put in practice, allowing for a combination of both – environmental considerations and the values and principles of the social economy?

Partners of the transnational project SKI.F.T. « Skills for Transition – Increasing the impact of micro and small social economy enterprises » had the occasion to dive deeper into these and related questions during their second transnational capacity-building seminar which took place on 23 and 24 April 2024 in Bologna (IT).

The objective of the event was to give further inspiration as well as to share knowledge and know-how for the upcoming advisory and coaching activities SKI.F.T. partners – social economy intermediary organisations from Denmark, Italy and Poland – will provide to micro and small social economy enterprises wishing to (further) engage in green transition processes.

The agenda included discussions on tools and procedures that might be used in the different stages of green transition-related initiatives within the enterprise. One of the key questions raised here concerned ways and means to adapt existing instruments such as those provided for example by the Open -ES platform to the reality and capacity of micro and small social economy structures, integrating concrete indicators and questions that would relate more specifically to the characteristics of the social economy. Partners also highlighted the necessity and discussed possibilities to move from mere reporting processes to real (long-term) strategies and concrete action for change. All these elements finally also led to reflections on how to better involve stakeholders all along the value chain in these processes.

Local experts and representatives of social economy enterprises and intermediary organisations from Emilia-Romagna shared valuable insights into their own (transition) practices, related challenges and opportunities : How to combine green transition strategies of an enterprise, SDGs and territorial sustainability plans ? How to involve cooperators, employees and other stakeholders in transition planning and the realisation of related strategies and actions ? How to use the development and implementation of green transition-related actions as an opportunity to better connect with different actors in a territory, set up new partnerships, contribute to the development of social green value chains and therewith strengthen the impact of the enterprise ? How to communicate the efforts and positive impact of an enterprise to the outside world ?

SKI.F.T. partners intend to launch the first advisory activities related to the project in early summer.


Interview: Green transition challenges for small social economy enterprises


Micro and small social economy enterprises, in their efforts to contribute to green transition and transform activities accordingly, might rely even more than others on a strong network of partners, including intermediary organisations and public authorities. In the context of the second transnational meeting in Bologna, the SKI.F.T. team met Vincenzo Cangiano, Sustainability Manager of Arbizzi cooperative , Rosaria Mastrogiacomo, Sustainability Officer at Legacoop Emilia-Romagna and Gabriele Marzano, Senior expert on VET, Employment, Regional development and Innovation policies at the Emilia-Romagna Region.

Packaging – how to make it more sustainable or how to reduce it… – is one of the topics in discussions around the environmental impact of an enterprise. It is also the main area of activity of Arbizzi, your cooperative. Could you tell us a bit more about your cooperative and how it did develop/adapt its activities over the years?

Vincenzo Cangiano:

Arbizzi was established as a cooperative in 2014 (even though it existed before, but as a completely different type of enterprise). It has 30 employees and 10 freelance sales professionals.  As a small enterprise, Arbizzi does in theory not have the obligation to carry out ESG and sustainability reporting in general, and to set up related strategies and actions. However, given that its main sector of activity – selling packaging – means mainly selling plastics the cooperative decided that information of different type of stakeholders is fundamental. Plastics are for sure not good for the environment. However, the solution is not to demonize it, but to reflect – including to reflect on what is currently in my view the biggest problem: the way our society deals with plastics.  We conduct thus a number of activities to inform all our stakeholders about our activities, but beyond that also to contribute to educational activities at schools, universities and enterprises on the topic “sustainability”. Something I could state whilst teaching for example in schools and universities is that youngsters are nowadays well informed for example about circular economy and possible recycling practices in their daily life. However, they do not know how to translate this also to spheres such as the labour market and the world of enterprise and what sustainability means in all its complexity. Here, we as social economy entrepreneurs can and should share our experience, explaining concepts such as due diligence against the background of our own practices.

Rosaria Mastrogiacomo:

Legacoop made similar experiences – for example when realizing its “Coopstartup” initiative which had the objective to simulate the set-up of cooperatives in secondary schools. Pupils were invited to think about specific challenges they wished to solve, specific needs they wanted to respond to with entrepreneurial activities. We helped them in setting up the business model and plan, etc., but could see that they were not aware of what sustainability means taking a 360° perspective, i.e. applying it in different spheres thinking in terms of environmental and social sustainability, etc.

Vincenzo Cangiano:

Coming back to our sustainability-related policies and actions: All these initiatives have their costs – especially also for a rather small cooperative such as ours. However, this investment will be rewarded – we already notice it in our rising recognition by a number of stakeholders and partners, including partner enterprises, associations or banks.

Also: Under current regulations our cooperative is not obliged to carry out sustainability reporting. Yet, regulations might change rapidly. Moreover, our clients – many of them large enterprises – already request this type of information from us.

How do you involve cooperators, employees, clients and other stakeholders in the (re-)planning of activities, policies and strategies of the cooperative?

Vincenzo Cangiano:

This is not an easy question and we started to work on this rather recently.

We try to understand the needs of all stakeholders outside of the enterprise – the needs not only of clients or suppliers, but also of politics, voluntary organisations that often cooperate with us and others. A part of them thus do not necessarily have a direct economic contact, but rather a social contact with our enterprise…

We try to find out about their needs and try to involve them in the construction of our vision.

Here you have to keep in mind that we are a commercial enterprise, not a manufacturing enterprise. Therefore we have to focus more on the innovation of the process and related technologies allowing for example to reduce material whilst improving also social aspects linked to the production process (e.g. safety at work).

At the same time we also need to work with stakeholders on the manufacturing side and their needs. Then, it is necessary to create links between needs of producers and those of consumers (including large retailers with which we work as well).

Yet, involving all stakeholders in this parcours is complicated, as unfortunately not all of them might be willing to listen and learn, as no immediate economic rewards are linked to this.

Many small and micro social economy enterprises do not have/cannot afford a sustainability manager? What would be your recommendation to them regarding the development and implementation of green transition processes?

Vincenzo Cangiano:

A Sustainability Manager has to combine a number of transversal competences. Knowledge on environmental sustainability alone is not enough. Competences needed include enterprise strategy development, management, economy. IN my case also health&security, integrated management systems combining environment, quality and security. Time is needed to develop them and this process should start ideally in universities. All this is a big challenge for small cooperatives and their limited (human) resources. Appointing and training a sustainability manager has a significant cost. Yet, in my view it is – for different reasons – absolutely necessary to develop these profiles and to start with this now, as it takes time. A number of stakeholders, including banks, show an increasing interest and related requests in this respect. As a small player – but not only – it is therefore also important to be part of associations and develop a network of persons with which it is possible to cooperate on these topics and in the exchange of knowledge and expertise.  Organisations such as Legacoop, of which we are part, are therefore crucial and important platforms to jointly learn in a challenging context and period in which laws and technologies change rapidly.

Rosaria Mastrogiacomo:

Yes, as Legacoop Emilia-Romagna we have the objective here to put in touch persons, enterprises and organisations. Working on sustainability is not something that should be done individually. It is a way of living, working and doing business you need to do together with other actors.

Rosaria, as Legacoop you accompany (member) cooperatives providing different type of services, training, opportunities for networking, etc. What are the type of tools and support you offer to cooperatives so far regarding green transition? Which capacities would you like to develop more as an intermediary organization – what are your hopes in this regard when taking part in initiatives such as SKI.F.T.?

Rosaria Mastrogiacomo:

Legacoop has identified sustainability as a priority theme. We have the objective to help our cooperatives to advance here. This is done in different ways: through skills development (training courses and workshops) linked to environmental and social sustainability, through advisory services helping our members very practically to transition to more sustainable practices (for example in the field of energy) – delivered also by our service company Innovacoop, through opportunities for networking and knowledge exchange or through information and support (e.g. in accessing project financing, etc.).

At the same time we find ourselves in continuous training on these subjects. It is a challenge to stay updated on the regular changes regarding regulations, technologies, practices. We make a lot of effort to organize on a regular basis occasions for knowledge exchange within the association – linking the national, regional and local level, involving member enterprises from different sectors and different parts of Italy.

Gabriele Marzano, in our initial SKI.F.T. screening of tools that could help promoting green transition of social economy enterprises we discovered a surprising lack of instruments combining environmental impact and social economy principles. How could policy-makers stimulate the development of appropriate tools and capacity-building processes? What are the challenges policy-makers and administration might be facing here?

Gabriele Marzano: It is true that we do not really cross both themes – environmental sustainability of enterprises and the promotion of social economy principles/social impact. But this is not due to a lack of interest, but related to the fact that, if we plan an intervention regarding the environment, we address all type of enterprises. One also has to keep in mind that, in our region, the social economy in itself is a large sector and exists in different forms and throughout a diversity of sectors of activity. Social enterprises as such are diffused in the general economy.

This does not mean that we do not have specific interventions targeting specifically the social economy. However, in the case of the promotion of sustainability-related competences these targeted measures are rather rare. Sometimes they might exist in cases where specific service contracts with (social) cooperatives operating in green transition-related fields of activity, to give just an example, exist.

What is needed also with regard to sustainability is the development of other transversal competences such as management. We promote this in the framework of programmes addressed to a diversity of enterprises, including the social economy.

Coming back to the topic of local green social value chains and the place also of micro and small social economy enterprises here: How could they be further promoted, how could inter-cooperation be fostered?

Gabriele Marzano:

In Emilia-Romagna, social policies are implemented very much through the activities of cooperatives, in particular social cooperatives. In the context of public contracts related for example to recycling services many administrations impose a specific quota of these services which has to be attributed to social cooperatives.

How could the role of micro and small social economy enterprises further be improved? First of all, the revenue streams of this type of enterprises – particularly if they are active in the work integration sector – have to strengthened (e.g. through diversification of activities and the already mentioned capacity-building regarding management in general). Moreover, public administration could more strongly use compliance standards obliging for example a profit firm to cooperate with the social economy in the provision of the services. Cooperation between mainstream businesses and the social economy in a perspective also of value chain creation can also be fostered further through imposing CSR-related reporting. Such obligations might stimulate profit firms to establish partnerships with the social economy. This, however, is mainly the role of local administrations.

FISE Eco-Auditing (PL)


A specific Eco-Auditing tool has been created and implemented by FISE on the basis of a grant from Masovian voivodship for the development of green transition-related advisory services for social enterprises.

The tool focuses on environmental management processes within a company, i.e. on actions to be taken by management and staff of the company regarding the management of space, use of different type of equipment, waste management, etc.

FISE Eco-auditing was applied for the first time in 2023. After six pilot tests in 2023, seven other enterprises will go through the eco-auditing in 2024. All test companies are micro and small social economy enterprises. FISE Eco-Auditing includes measurements/mapping (e.g. of the space used by an office, café, kindergarten…), the analysis of data as well as interviews with and a survey among members of the management of the respective company and staff. At the end of the process, a report, including specific recommendations, is provided to the company after a last exchange with the latter’s management and a meeting with the staff is held in which conclusions and recommendations are presented.

Legacoop (IT): Training programme for Cooperative Sustainability Managers


Legacoop, in cooperation with ALTIS, the graduate school of sustainable management of the University Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Milan), developed a specific training programme for the profile of a Cooperative Sustainability Manager .

The programme started in January 2024 and focuses on sustainability management from a cooperative perspective. It targets cooperatives from all different sectors of activity all over Italy.

The course, which has a duration of 6 months (84 hours) and is provided in a blended mode (in-presence and online sessions) contains modules on topics such as Strategic sustainability planning, Responsible human resource management, Community relations for impact generation, Environment and key management tools and systems, Reporting and communicating sustainability or Responsible finance and integration of ESG criteria in risk management.

In its first edition, the training was designed for medium-size and large cooperatives. At the same time, however, the objective of Legacoop is also to create a task force of sustainability specialists from these medium-size and large cooperatives which could then support smaller cooperatives in their green transition efforts.

Demetra Formazione (IT): Green Traffic Light Coaching Activities


Demetra Formazione carries out consultancy-related actions on green transition which are tailor-made to the specific needs of individual companies. Activities may include work on the environmental strategy of the enterprise, the establishment of a roadmap of the activities to be implemented and related support, the preparation of a sustainability report, or training of a sustainability manager. The coaching includes topics such as the meaning of environmental protection, green economy and circular economy, the concept of sustainability and carbon footprint, relevant public policies, the practical tools available to companies, impact finance, green marketing, etc.

The experts providing the coaching and accompanying the enterprises in the different actions of implementation of sustainability plans are most often externals with whom Demetra Formazione has specific agreements. Their feedback after the different coaching processes then also feeds training activities that are conceived and/or implemented by Demetra Formazione.


ANEL (ES) : Diagnosis tool regarding the implementation of six Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by social economy


ANEL, the Association of Social Economy Enterprises in the Navarra Region (ES), has developed and is currently testing a Diagnosis tool regarding the implementation of six Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The instrument was developed based on a survey among social economy enterprises in Navarra, the input of a specific working group involving different type of social economy enterprises as well as the support of an external expert.

The self-diagnosis tool consists of three complementary blocks  of questions: A first one focuses on actions taken by the enterprise to reduce negative impact in different fields, a second on actions realised by the enterprise to further promote positive impact, and a third on actions with specific ‘external’ impact in society at large (e.g. through inter-cooperation with other enterprises). It helps cooperatives to identify what they are doing on a day-to-day basis to contribute to the implementation of SDGs, also gives them a structure to order their actions in a logical and simple way, and provides them with a set of indicators to measure their progress.

ANEL boosts this tool with the idea that it will help identifying HOW cooperatives contribute to the SDGs for the simple fact of BEING a Social Economy company. For this reason the tool linked the SDGs with a management model that ANEL has developed for cooperatives based on the principles of Social Economy companies (people, governance, cooperation and society). It is called the GPES management model.

At this moment, the tool focuses on the six SDGs aligned most clearly with the social economy principles. It interlinks these SDGs with the main social economy principles and values  – democratic, transparent and participatory management ; social fairness ; human development/primacy of the person ; cooperation (including inter-cooperation between social economy enterprises) ; solidarity.

VALORESS – a free online tool to support micro and small social economy enterprises (FR)


VALORESS is a free online tool developed by UDES, the Union of Employers in the Social Economy (FR) specifically to support micro and small social economy enterprises in measuring their carbon footprint. When conceiving ValorESS, UDES and external experts took into consideration the limited resources micro and small enterprises have with regard to time, expertise, finance etc. The objective was to develop an easy-to-use tool.

VALORESS focuses on 11 green house gas emission indicators (1. Energy ; 2. Business travel ; 3. Home/work journeys ; 4. Visitors, users, tourists ; 5. Freight transport ; 6. Inputs – Purchases ; 7. Fixed assets ; 8. Waste ; 9. Other greenhouse gases ; 10. Products ; 11. Investments). Moreover, when calculating its carbon footprint, the user enterprise or organisation has the possibility to choose between two levels, adapted respectively to « beginners » regarding carbon footprint reduction or those being more advanced and wishing to go more in depth in their actions and commitment. In addition to the online calculator, 11 practical guidance sheets proposing actions for each of these indicators are at disposal for those interested. Finally, UDES organises and will further organise training courses enabling interested enterprises not only to correctly use the tool, but also to develop action plans based on the results of their carbon footprint measurement.

Groupe ONE/Brussels-Capital Region (BE): EXPLORE Programme


Groupe One, a main actor for the promotion and support of sustainable entrepreneurship in the Brussels-Capital Region, is running the EXPLORE programme which was developed and promoted by the organisation since 2022 with the financial support of the Brussels-Capital Region.

The programme targets small enterprises in general, including social economy enterprises. In this framework, Groupe One accompanies approximately 500 entrepreneurs a year.

EXPLORE consists of the possibility to first of all measure the carbon footprint of the enterprise combined with a qualitative social impact assessment, as well as of several workshops (some compulsory, others optional). In a second step, the participating enterprise will develop a concrete action plan focusing on specific priority topics. These topics are identified based on the results of the previous evaluation and on decisions of the enterprise regarding its own priorities and feasibility of actions.

A dedicated transition coach will then accompany the enterprise for 20 hours in total plus an additional 4 days dedicated to work on a concrete action plan and its implementation.


Picture credits: Circulair Werkt

City of Ghent (BE): Social-Circular Hub Ghent


Social-Circular Hub Ghent is part of a network of 12 Social-Circular Hubs in different Flemish municipalities, financed by the Flemish Region and ESF. It brings together different local/regional actors, including the city of Ghent, social economy enterprises and organisations, a business hub, a research centre and a university of applied sciences.

A main point of departure for the activities of the hub is the creation of a network of companies that are already active in the field of circular economy. This is done mainly through the organization of events and with the help also of existing organisations and networks such as the Chamber of Commerce or employer organisations. In a second step, mobilized enterprises are connected to social economy actors. These partnerships are then accompanied in their efforts to work together and create new business concepts.

Picture credit: European Commission

EU Waste Framework Directive


In 2023, the European Commission proposed a revision of the Waste Framework Directive. The Directive originally came into force in 2008 and it laid down the basic principles of waste management with the goal to ensure that it does not endanger human health and that it does not harm the environment. The revision of this Directive is primarily focused on the textile and food sectors. These sectors, while among the top resource-intensive sectors, do not fully adhere to the fundamental EU waste management principles set out by the waste hierarchy which require the prioritisation of waste prevention followed by preparation for reuse and recycling. The proposal is favourable to social economy enterprises, as it sees them as partners in the collection of waste on equal footing with other actors in waste management, and it calls for their further involvement in waste management.  Although for-profit operators have been pushing for the removal of the specific provisions that benefit social economy enterprises, on 13 March 2024, the European Parliament voted in favour of the revision, keeping these provisions. The proposed revision is now tabled to be examined by the Council.



The transnational project « Skills for transition : Increasing the impact of small social economy enterprises » (SKI.F.T.), launched in October 2023, is co-funded by the EU SMP-COSME programme. It brings together social economy intermediary organisations and training providers from Denmark, Poland and Italy, as well as two European networks: Kooperationen (DK), FISE (PL), CSA COESI (IT), Demetra Formazione (IT), Legacoop Emilia-Romagna (IT), REVES aisbl and CECOP.

Through SKI.F.T. project partners will provide specific advisory and coaching services to micro and small social economy enterprises, enabling the latter to review their business model towards stronger environmental sustainability. Moreover, beneficiary enterprises will have the opportunity to receive direct financial support to purchase additional coaching and mentoring responding to their specific needs and fields of interest (e.g. creation of local social green value chains, communication, use of digital tools to facilitate certain type of processes, etc.). Specific attention will be paid to a collective approach, which will encourage stronger cooperation between micro and small social economy enterprises as such as well as between the latter and their different partners and stakeholders.

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Views and opinions expressed in this document are those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or EISMEA. Neither the European Union nor EISMEA can be held responsible for them.