back to Council of Europe's portal homepage back to Site's homepage

General description
Pilot Group
Public policies and legislation
Good Practices
Awareness raising seminars

Joint publications with Alternatives Economiques


L'Economie Politique n°39 Pour un nouveau modèle de consommation - 2008

Special edition of the French monthly magazine Alternatives Economiques

Series Trends in Social Cohesion
Methodological guides

Good practice sheets
Responsible consumption
Initiatives in Europe by country
Germany Belgium Spain France Italy Switzerland
c/o Agentur NetzWert Weinbergstrasse 26 68259 Mannheim
Tel.: (00 49) 0621 718 81 67

Heidelberg’s eco-plus card

Informed consumers in the city of Heidelberg, in the Land of Baden-Württemberg, now have access to a card for purchasing “sustainable” goods and services: the or “eco-plus” card. Launched in August 2002, this card was instigated by the Institute for Research on the Ecological Economy (Das Institut für ökologische Wirtschaftsforschung, or IOW), the municipal department responsible for Agenda 21 and various local NGOs grouped together within the Weitergeben association. The card, which has been available since May 2003, now has more than 1700 users.

Fostering social cohesion
. For 15 euros a year, clients receive 3-10% discounts from distribution networks offering ecological or social goods or services. These include shops selling organic produce, a car-pooling service, a DIY tool exchange service, small craft businesses, a language school and a museum.

. Although the card is not electronic, it entitles the holder to discounts on purchases. Above all, it puts a whole network of local solidarity organisations into contact with one another, and publicises their activities. The card is distributed by the NGO Ökostadt Rhein-Neckar. Founded in 1992 and a member of Weitergeben, this NGO specialises in exchanges of consumer goods and the promotion of environmentally-friendly forms of transport. An advertising agency, ID-Kommunikation, is responsible for communications for the operation, which receives 45,000 euros in funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The network also seeks to foster social cohesion and good neighbourly relations through these exchanges.

Tomas Meintrup
Wattstrasse 10
13355 Berlin
Tel. : (00 49) 030 46 78 130
E-mail: [email protected]
Berlin’s “Fair” Bus  

From October 2003 to June 2004, a responsible consumption information bus, the MUTZ, (Mobilen Umwelttechnik Zentrum, or Mobile Centre for Environmental Technology), drove around Berlin streets.

Raising awareness.
It presented different brands and labels, such as Rugmark rugs (guaranteed to be free of child labour), FSC wood (from sustainable forests) and organic textiles. Passengers were given cups of fair trade coffee, and members of the MUTZ association talked to them about “sharing practices”, such as carpooling. They used the guide Der nachhaltige Warenkorb (The Sustainable Shopping-basket), published by the Council for Sustainable Development (Rat für Nachhaltige Entwicklung, or RNE) set up by the German government in 2001. MUTZ has received financial backing from the Bundesrat (German Senate) and support from numerous sponsors, including Bahr Baumarkt and Deutsche Bahn. The guide Der nachhaltige Warenkorb is available at

Martin Müller
Vinckestrasse 89
45897 Gelsenkirchen
Tel: (00 49) 0209 95 92 444
E-mail: [email protected]

Fair trade coffee in the Ruhr

“In 26 municipalities in the Ruhr, there are now 400 outlets selling fair trade coffee. When we launched our campaign to promote fair trade in the Ruhr in May 2000, we didn’t expect this kind of result”, explains Martin Müller, who runs the fair trade shop Weltläden-Basis.

A Colombian co-operative.
Thanks to the fair trade importer El Puente, coffee produced by the Colombian co-operative Nuevo Futuro is sold in specialty shops, churches, supermarkets and tourist offices. Religious organisations and bodies such as Weltläden-Basis, grouped together within One World Initiatives, market the coffee and lobby municipalities in order to expand this project.

The campaign was developed with the support of local authorities, as part of the Ruhr’s Agenda 21 programme. It is promoted by municipal departments within the region, particularly those responsible for Agenda 21 (the “Agenda offices”), and the packets of coffee feature logos specific to each town or city. It has enabled the Nuevo Futuro co-operative, which provides incomes for 80 families, to increase its profits, says Martin Müller. Nuevo Futuro produces 18 tonnes of coffee a year, all of which are sold thanks to the campaign.

Renate Hechenberger
City of Munich - Rathaus
Marienplatz 8
80313 Munich
Tel.: (00 49) 89 233 92 475
E-mail : [email protected]
Munich takes a stand against child exploitation

In July 2002, the Munich municipal council in Bavaria passed new public purchasing regulations as part of the campaign “Made by Kinderhand, Munich against Exploitative Child Labour”. The municipality, which has been run by a Red-Green coalition for the last fifteen years, already applied environmental criteria in its purchasing policy and set up integration projects recruiting unemployed people and people with disabilities. In the wake of discussions with numerous NGOs within the Agenda 21 working group, however, it wished to “go a step further in the social field”, says Renate Hechenberger, a member of mayor Hep Monatzeder’s staff.

Toys, sports equipment, rugs, etc
. The campaign, launched in July 2002 in conjunction with associations such as the Munich North-South Forum, Terre des Hommes Munich and Agenda 21 Co-ordination One World, was promoted by more than 270 organisations. It raised awareness of child labour issues among both Munich citizens and – above all – large companies, particularly those supplying the municipality.

The city council allocated a budget of 14,500 euros to the campaign, primarily for educational materials and background papers. At the same time, it introduced new purchasing criteria for toys, sports equipment, rugs, textiles, leather and wooden goods and agricultural produce.

When the municipality’s purchasing department finds that a product is manufactured in Asia, South America or Africa, it asks its supplier to fill out a form (drawn up by the department) designed to establish whether the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions on child labour are observed. These conventions do not demand the abolition of child labour (straight boycotts of goods manufactured by children have often had terrible consequences in Southern countries, with the youngsters concerned being dismissed and finding themselves on the streets or turning to prostitution as a result), but guarantee them shorter working hours than adults so that they can attend school.

The municipality also requires a guarantee from an independent organisation: certification from a fair trade body, such as the Rugmark seal of approval for rugs. However, the company may also simply undertake to set up projects aimed at combating child exploitation, particularly among its subcontractors. Failing such an undertaking, it is excluded from the tender process, although this scenario has not yet arisen.

Where no certification exists.
Renate Hechenberger acknowledges that “the requirements imposed on companies may seem mild, in that it is easy to sign an undertaking”. However, the municipality has had to contend with a lack of social seals of approval and national legislation on the subject, “although there are national or European environmental seals of approval,” says Renate Hechenberger, “and environmental safety is sometimes included among product quality requirements”. Likewise, it is difficult to assess the social impact of responsible purchases, “more difficult than putting figures on energy savings, for example”.

Raise one's expectations.
However, she says, “NGOs, trade unions and companies are currently making a real effort – which we are following closely – to develop monitoring and social certification procedures. We shall step up our requirements according to the progress made in this area.”

A number of the municipality’s suppliers have in turn started to make their subcontractors aware of child exploitation issues. Munich banks and religious organisations have decided to follow the municipality’s example, as have councils in three other German cities: Bonn, Konstanz and Mainz. A Munich NGO, EarthLink, is providing information to other city councils in Germany and lobbying them. Its website contains a great deal of information on the subject:
Ullrich Sierau Cityhall of Munich Südwall 2-4
44122 Dortmund
Tel. : (00 49) 0231 50 22 035, E-mail : [email protected]
Fair Trade Week in Dortmund

In Dortmund, a city of 590,000 inhabitants in North Rhine-Westphalia, Fair Trade Week 2002 lasted several months – from March to December – as part of the “Dortmund eine Hauptstadt, die Handelt” (“Dortmund: a Trading Capital that acts fair”) campaign.
A tram promoting fair trade travelled around the city for three months; a regional guide to fair trade products and networks was produced; a petition demanding improvements in working conditions in the sportswear industry was launched; neighbourhood parties were organised; and numerous other initiatives took place, particularly in relation to fair trade toys in schools. More than 200 activities were implemented.

. Dortmund has its own fair trade coffee, featuring a logo specific to the city. At the instigation of the One World Network (Eine Welt Netz, or NRW), this coffee was served to passengers on a train travelling from Hamm to Wuppertal, passing through Bonn and Düsseldorf. Pupils at a partner high school explained the coffee industry for them during the trip.

Fair trade capital.
Schools, consumer organisations, the Third World Information Centre, fair trade shops (Weltläden), churches and the municipality’s “Agenda Office” joined forces to promote fair trade, together with many other groups. A Dortmund advertising agency designed campaign leaflets and posters. The REWE group, a leading company in the European food trade, also took part, as did Karstadt Warenhaus, a large conglomerate of department stores that has supported fair trade since 1991. Some activities, which were highly publicised by the local media, even took on a regional dimension, involving the Land Environment Ministry in particular.

In 2003, the city was named Germany’s fair trade capital. At the end of this campaign, some forty members of the network formed an association called “Dortmund: a Trading Capital that acts fair”. It organised many other activities in 2004, including the promotion of fair trade products in front of 83,000 spectators at a Borussia Dortmund match run by the Federal Football League.


Marc Vandercammen
Chair of the Committee for Socially Responsible Production
18 rue des Chevaliers
B-1050 Brussels
Tel.: (00 32) 25 47 06 25 E-mail: [email protected]

Social Seal of approval

By an Act of 27 February 2002, Belgian MPs introduced the world’s first (and, to date, only) social seal of approval, guaranteeing socially responsible production conditions. This seal assures consumers that the company in question has complied with the ILO conventions, which cover eight main principles, including trade union freedom, a prohibition on forced labour, and action to combat discrimination and child labour.

A stringent procedure
. Companies requesting the certification must show that they deserve it by supplying a social report. An evaluation committee (the Committee for Socially Responsible Production), made up of representatives of the relevant ministries, employers, trade unions, consumers and development NGOs, verifies the evidence provided. Depending on its conclusions, the Belgian Ministry of Economic Affairs decides whether or not to award the seal of approval, which is valid for three years. Further government monitoring is undertaken at the end of this period. During the three years, accredited independent auditors are responsible for interim monitoring.
The aim is to ensure decent working conditions throughout the production chain, both within Europe and among subcontractors in the South. Accordingly, the Belgian social seal of approval provides that at least 85% of the production chain must be subject to monitoring.

Five companies awarded the certification
. The process is therefore far from being purely declaratory; should a company cheat on the report, its director risks a very heavy fine. Nor does it rely on coercion alone, but also, according to the website devoted to the certification, “on the concept of responsibility: that of companies, of course, but also that of the state, which guarantees the certification’s soundness, and above all that of consumers”.
The Belgian initiative is a world first, but is of limited application as yet: only five companies have received the quality stamp. Subcontractors working for these companies also benefit from the process, even if they do not receive the certification. For instance, Ethias, a home insurance company recently awarded the seal of approval, works with subcontractors in the building sector, which must satisfy the requirements for obtaining the certification. Undeclared labour – which is very common in the building industry – is thereby tackled throughout the production chain.


Albert Sales i Campos
Setem Catalunya
Bisbe Laguarda 4
08001 Barcelona
Tel.: (00 34) 93 44 15 335
E-mail : [email protected]

Ethical purchasing in Catalonia

Public purchasing by Catalan local government departments is to be ethical from now on. At present, this means social clauses are being incorporated into calls for textile tenders (for work uniforms) by three large city councils (Barcelona, Badalona and Manresa), and by the Barcelona provincial government.

SETEM Catalunya.
This operation was instigated by the NGO SETEM Catalunya, a federation of development associations founded in 1968 along the lines of the French collective De l’Ethique sur l’Etiquette. It is funded jointly by the Catalan Co-operation Fund (11,000 euros) and the provincial government (10,000 euros).

SETEM is continuing to lobby other local councils in the region to encourage them to engage in ethical purchasing. It has researched similar operations elsewhere in Europe, and is putting together a guide that will eventually be distributed to all Catalan local councils. Seminars are planned for local government technical staff. A monitoring committee made up of the groups involved, NGOs and local authorities meets twice a month.

El Bon Caf, Bisbe Laguarda 4
08001 Barcelona
Tel: (00 34) 93 44 15 335
E-mail: [email protected]

Fair trade coffee at the Barcelona city council

In November 2002, the municipality of Barcelona unanimously approved a statement in which it undertook to use fair trade products in its departments. Automatic drinks machines on its premises now sell fair trade coffee; this will soon be the case in cafeterias as well, and consideration is being given to incorporating fair trade criteria into municipal calls for tenders. An information campaign targeting municipal employees has also been conducted.

Agenda 21
. This operation is part of the city’s Agenda 21 programme, and has been set up with assistance from two NGOs: SETEM and Cooperacció, a human rights association. These independent bodies certify the coffee used by the council, and guarantee that it does actually come from fair trade. The project also includes a programme promoting fair trade in Barcelona’s municipal schools and 44 municipal civic centres (council welfare offices).

Juli Silvestre Martinez
Fondation Un Sol Món
carrer Provença Barcelona
Tel.: (00 34) 93 484 89 05
E-mail : jsilvestre@  

Compra Social in Catalonia

In Catalonia,, the Compra Social (social purchasing) portal, now puts the goods and services offered by the region’s social enterprises online as a means of developing their economic activity. The latter include workers’ societies (see box) and Catalonia integration and fair trade enterprises. The Un Sol Món (One World) foundation and the Caixa Catalunya (Catalonia Savings Bank) are behind this project, launched in 2003.

One of its objectives is to penetrate the local government market; since 2000, some public authorities have been obliged to include social clauses in their calls for tenders (they may be substituted for the obligation to employ a certain proportion of people with disabilities). “But in many cases,” explains Juli Silvestre Martinez of Un Sol Món, “they don’t know where to look, and give up even before making contact with a social provider.”

Complying with social clauses
. Other potential clients include companies, which are increasingly concerned about their social responsibilities, and bodies within the social sector themselves. Catalonia has several thousand such bodies, but they are not always in contact with one another. “A bit like the Yellow Pages, this website brings together all the goods and services supplied by the region’s social sector,” says Juli Silvestre Martinez. The site has been available for consultation since November 2004. It was designed by the enterprise Diskanet, which employs people with (motor or mental) disabilities and works in the computing sector. 500 goods and services are currently available on the portal.

Domingo Prenda
Navidades Verdes
Consejería de Medio Ambiente
Dirección general de Educación Ambiental y Sostenibilidad
avenida Manuel Siurot 50
41013 Sevilla
Tel.: (00 34) 95 50 03 496
E-mail : [email protected]

Green Christmases in Andalusia

Andalusia held its third Green Christmases programme on 21 and 22 December 2004. Each year, the programme takes place simultaneously in the cities involved in the “Making Christmas Cheaper for the Planet” campaign: Cadiz, Cordoba, Granada, Huelva, Jerez, Malaga and Seville. These municipalities took part, together with the Andalusian Directorate of Environmental Education and Sustainable Development, the Andalusia Federation of Organisations of Consumers and Producers of Organic and Craft Products and associations such as Friends of the Earth, which put together information material.

Marquees and street performances
. Organic and fair trade products are displayed in marquees, with people available to answer questions from the public. Leaflets containing Christmas cards are also distributed in the middle of street performances. Educational DVDs are screened, and alternative transport routes (by bicycle) set up. The Andalusian Directorate of environmental education and sustainable development covers the cost of Green Christmases. The campaign enabled participants to strengthen their relationships, and they are considering what follow-up action to take.


Max Havelaar France
41 rue Emile-Zola
93107 Montreuil
Tel.: (00 33) (0) 1 42 87 70 21
E-mail : [email protected]

Max Havelaar cotton

After coffee and fair trade bananas, Max Havelaar has for the first time awarded a seal of approval to a non-food item: cotton. Cotton originating from four African countries (Mali, Senegal, Cameroon and Burkina Faso) will carry the FLO quality stamp. It is used in socks, tee-shirts, cotton wool and household linen made by brands such as Kindy, Armor-lux, Bocoton and La Redoute. This initiative is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (610,000 euros over three years) and the Enterprise Development Centre, a co-operation programme between the European Union and countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (which is contributing 500 000 euros over three years).

An iconic product.
The Max Havelaar France association is thereby tackling an iconic product. In 2004, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) criticised the subsidies granted by the United States to its cotton producers, following a complaint laid by Brazil in 2002 and the protests of African states at the Cancún conference in 2003. Subsidies amounting to 3 or 4 billion dollars are shared among 25,000 American cotton producers, making the United States the world’s second-biggest producer and resulting in overproduction and falling prices. Notwithstanding the WTO’s decision, the drop in prices has very serious repercussions for small West African producers, who have to sell their cotton at prices 40% lower than those practised by the Americans.

A complex process.
The price of fair trade cotton carrying the Max Havelaar certification is 0.41 euros per kilo. This is 46% higher than the current price of Senegalese cotton, and 26% higher than that of Malian cotton. Of this amount, 0.36 euros goes to the producers, and 0.05 euros towards a development bonus paid to the producers’ grouping to fund education, health and sanitation projects approved and managed by its members. Producers who grow organic cotton are also paid a bonus of 0.05 euros per kilo.

Because the manufacture of cotton is a longer, more complex process than that of coffee, Max Havelaar has joined forces for this initiative with the cotton company Dagris, a state-owned enterprise that puts the association into contact with producers and provides them with technical support. Cotton from twelve groupings, involving 3,300 producers, has thereby been certified. As regards the rest of the chain, textile factories will eventually be audited to ensure that they comply with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions.

Maud Lelièvre ou Guillaume Cantillon
Ville de Saint-Denis
2 place Victor-Hugo 93200 Saint-Denis
Tel.: (00 33) (0) 1 49 33 71 38
E-mail : [email protected]

Saint-Denis and sustainable purchasing

Paper, photocopiers, ink cartridges, school supplies, sorting of waste, fair trade and agricultural products: in contract after contract, the Saint-Denis municipal council has been incorporating social and environmental clauses into its public purchasing since 2001. This municipality of 93,000 inhabitants in Seine-Saint-Denis, north of Paris, which is run by Communist reformers, has introduced an ambitious policy.
Technical clauses in its stationery supply contract, for example, require suppliers to provide paper containing at least 50% recycled fibres. The photocopier contract consequently has to follow suit: a clause stipulates that the models provided must accept this type of recycled paper.

Selective sorting
. When it comes to collecting waste paper for recycling, the council goes beyond the statutory requirements which classify local and regional authorities’ waste as industrial waste that does not have to be sorted. The 1998 Voynet law made the selective sorting of household waste mandatory from 2002, but not that of industrial waste. It puts local and regional authorities’ waste in the same category as industrial waste. In Saint-Denis, however, every office has been equipped with a special bin since 2003, allowing daily collection of paper and other recyclable waste in special containers. The contract also provides that the job of collection must go to people on employment integration schemes. Accordingly, the company holding the contract subcontracts this activity to a sheltered workshop. All paper-related contracts – including purchase, use and collection – have therefore been made subject to social and environmental clauses.

This “greening” of public purchasing is part of a wider environmental management plan, which, in 2005, may lead to the very stringent EMAS certification introduced by the European Union in 1993.
Environmental and social concerns are not always compatible, however. “We want our departments to use recycled ink cartridges,” explains Maud Lelièvre, the deputy mayor responsible for sustainable development. The problem is that 80% of the refilled ink cartridges sold in France have been recycled in China in dubious social conditions. The council consequently wishes to combine an environmental clause and a social clause in the same contract, and to assign this service to an integration enterprise.

Both social and ecological goals
. In order to identify supplies that comply with both social and environmental clauses, as well as satisfying price and quality requirements, Saint-Denis has worked in partnership with Greenpeace. Its wood contracts, for instance, include a requirement for the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification, which guarantees that forests are managed sustainably. The NGO helped the council draft its clauses and analyse the tenders received.

In addition, the municipality belongs to several networks of local and regional authorities. At European level, it has joined the Buy It Green Network run by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), which brings together 400 local authorities adopting sustainable development approaches. As such, it is involved in a European network set up by the ICLEI’s European secretariat in Freiburg, Germany.

At local level, Saint-Denis is a member of the Ile-de-France Network for Ethical Purchasing, set up in September 2003, as are the Seine-Saint-Denis département council and the municipality of Champigny-sur-Marne. Modelled on the scheme set up by ten or so local and regional authorities in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region, this network brings together towns and cities within the same region to draw up identical specifications so as to put pressure on their suppliers – which they sometimes share – to provide supplies that comply with social and environmental clauses.

Commercial penalties
. Lastly, at national level, the council is a member of Cités Unies France, an association bringing together 400 local authorities. Within this organisation, one of the aims of the national ethical purchasing network (comprising 40 or so members) is to develop a European system for verifying working conditions. “Aside from the prohibitive cost, we do not believe it is appropriate to use international auditing companies. It is no longer a case of grading a producer from time to time, as happens in the financial sector, but rather of conducting long-term monitoring,” says Maud Lelièvre. “Setting up a network enables us to send a strong market signal to our suppliers. Should production patterns fail to change, the penalty is not a legal one – we are all aware of the scope of international law – but a commercial one.”

Ofretic 38
15 rue Georges-Jacquet
38000 Grenoble
Tel.: (00 33) (0) 4 38 21 05 11
E-mail:[email protected]

La Métro
3 rue Malakoff
38000 Grenoble
Tel. : (00 33) (0) 4 76 59 59 59
E-mail : [email protected]

Ofretic in Isère  

The Grenoble fair trade association Equi’sol 38 launched a local solidarity purchasing portal in January 2005, aimed at both private individuals and, above all, local authorities and workers’ councils: On offer are foodstuffs, craft products, local services and trips to Africa, South America and Asia. The tour operators – Couleurs Sensations, Vision du Monde and Souffle de l’Inde – are solidarity tourism associations based in Isère. For local community-based services, the partner is Vivial, a departmental platform of associations providing services to private individuals.

Using service job vouchers (subsidised vouchers giving access to services), members of workers’ councils and local government employees can take advantage of services such as help for the elderly or home-based school remedial classes. Catering is provided by an integration enterprise, L’Arbre Fruité, which sells tray meals made from local organic produce for 12 to 15 euros.

In conjunction with local businesses
. This scheme is part of the Partnership Project for the Development of the Social and Solidarity Economy set up by La Métro (the Grenoble conurbation committee) in 2003. Launched after an 18-month diagnostic process, the project has been implemented by a collective representing the 250 organisations involved in Grenoble’s social and solidarity-based economy, together with Schneider, ST Microelectronics and the Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). La Métro has also funded another website,, an information portal on the conurbation’s social and solidarity economy. In total, it has allocated more than 500,000 euros to the partnership project from 2003 to 2005.

Christiane Bouchart
Deputy Mayor responsible for the Solidarity-based Economy
Mairie de Lille
place Augustin-Laurent
59800 Lille
Tel.: (00 33) (0) 3 20 49 50 18
E-mail : [email protected]

81 bis rue Gantois
59000 Lille
Tel.: (00 33) (0) 3 20 30 98 25 
E-mail:[email protected]
Freedom to do business differently in Lille

Making Lille a “testing ground for new practices”: this is the aim of Lille’s plan for the development of the social and solidarity-based economy, renamed “Liberté d’Entreprendre Autrement Lille” (Freedom to Do Business Differently in Lille, or LeaLille) in 2004, explains Christiane Bouchart, the deputy mayor responsible for the solidarity-based economy. This plan, adopted by the municipality in 2002, brings together nearly a hundred organisations, including the Standing Assembly for the Solidarity-based Economy (APES), Finansol (which awards seals of approval to solidarity-based finance products) and the Nord-Pas-de-Calais Organic Farmers’ Grouping (GABNOR).

A budget of 1.2 million euros
. In practical terms, LeaLille is divided into four thematic sections: consuming and producing differently, trading differently, doing business differently and saving differently. Each section is led by an association. The plan has a budget of 1.2 million euros over three years, half of which is funded by the city council and the rest by the regional council, the state, the Nord département council and the Deposit and Consignment Office. Its activities include: setting up a fifth Club d’Investisseurs pour une Gestion Alternative et Locale et de l’Epargne Solidaire (Investors’ Club for Alternative Local Management of Solidarity Savings), or CIGALES, in the conurbation to increase the availability of solidarity financial products; holding a two-day event in the city centre, with a marquee and caravans hosted by 42 organisations within the social and solidarity-based economy, which attracted nearly 10,000 visitors; and distributing the three-monthly publication L’Echo Solidaire, which outlines new initiatives.

Ethical purchasing.
The municipality is setting an example with its purchasing policy by using employment integration organisations; since 2003, it has also targeted six procurement contracts focusing on environmentally friendly products: building, painting, cleaning and hygiene products, street lighting, paper and envelopes. Lastly, the Lille city council has joined forces with nine other local and regional authorities in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region (including Dunkerque and the Nord département council) to draft common specifications, incorporating social clauses, for procurement contracts such as those for textile products, most of which are manufactured in South-East Asia. In 2005, the focus will be on contracts for work clothes for municipal staff (smocks, overalls and so on), in co-operation with the Yamana fair trade certification association, which is launching the Fibre Citoyenne (Civic Fibre) programme suggesting agreements on objectives for textile and clothing companies.


Cristiano Calvi ou Enrico Reggio
CTM Altromercato
Ufficio Ristorazione
Mura del Molo 2r
16128 Genova
Tel: (00 39) 010 25 18 194
E-mail : [email protected]

CTM Altromercato Solidarity Catering

26,000 Genoa schoolchildren now consume fair trade bananas, rice, cocoa, chocolate and fruit juice at least once a week. The Solidarity Catering project was set up in 2001, based on a concept devised by the Genoa Solidarity Shop. This fair trade association, which is a member of CTM Altromercato, the main Italian grouping of fair trade NGOs, suggests that fair trade products be included in municipal calls for tenders for school canteens.

30 other towns and cities.
CTM Altromercato then conducted a national campaign, and thirty or so other towns and cities followed suit (including Alessandria, Florence, Brescia, Rome and Gorgonzola), reaching some 280,000 children. The project has also been extended to hospitals and universities. The various municipalities’ purchasing departments have come on board, as have their finance departments, in view of the higher cost of fair trade products. In each case, the municipalities have approved specific budgets.

In the wake of the December 1999 Act on the promotion of organic farming, Italian local and regional authorities are already demanding organic produce in some of their calls for public catering tenders. “This has prepared the ground for fair trade products”, explains Cristiano Calvi of CTM Altromercato. It affords an opportunity both to put some ethics into school catering and to give it an educational role, as the municipalities run food education activities for children and school caterers, along with globalisation workshops.

Antonio Parma
Parco nazionale Aspromonte
via Aurora 9
Santo Stefano in Aspromonte
Tel.: (00 39) 09 65 74 30 60
E-mail : [email protected]
Eco Aspromonte

From 1 November 2003 to 30 November 2004, tourists and residents of the fourteen municipalities within the Aspromonte national park were able to pay for their purchases using “ecos”. This currency, which complemented the euro and was of equivalent value, remained in circulation for a year, at the park’s instigation and with support from the Banca Etica.

Combating unemployment.
“The purpose of Eco Aspromonte is to strengthen the region’s identity and boost the local economy,” explains Antonio Perna, director of the national park. The Calabria region faces a difficult economic situation: in 2004 it had an unemployment rate of 23.8%, one of the highest in Europe; half of its young people were unemployed. This resulted in a flourishing parallel economy, undermining the image of the region, which suffers from a lack of tourists.

An ethical local currency is a positive development tool in such circumstances. It was used in about a hundred approved shops involved in sustainable development, such as organic restaurants and bars, which offered clients a 5% discount. The equivalent of 2 million euros were printed by the National Polygraphic Institute, at a cost of 90,000 euros, covered by the park. In addition, a sum of 10,000 euros was spent on advertising. One-, two-, five- and ten-eco notes, designed by artists, were made available to the public by the Aspromonte municipalities.
Caterina Zanin ou Marisa Furlan
opératrice Stilinfo
direction Mag Venezia
Via Trieste 82/ c
30175 Marghera, Veneto
Tel.: (00 39) 04 15 38 14 79
E-mail: [email protected]
Stilinfo office in Venice

The two Stilinfo offices were opened in Venice in May 2004, one right in the historic centre and the other in the suburb of Mestre. Following a survey of consumption patterns, the municipality and the Veneto provincial council decided to make addresses offering alternative forms of consumption available to the public, along with a mine of information on various good practices: renewable energy sources and the installation subsidies available, ways to save water, sustainable architecture, ethical and solidarity-based finance and so on. A map of the area is also available, showing the network of organisations involved in the solidarity-based economy.

500 contacts.
The offices are run by the Mag Venezia co-operative. In the first few months, they recorded 500 contacts (90% of them in person and the rest by e-mail or telephone). Stilinfo is part of the “Cambieresti? Consumo Ambiente Risparmio Energetico e Stili di Vita” (“Would You Change? Consumption, Environment, Energy Savings and Lifestyles”) project, and is funded by the Environment Ministry under its Agenda 21 programme. The municipal council, which provided premises for the offices, contributed 20,000 euros to cover management costs in 2004. The provincial council contributed an identical sum to cover operational costs.
Simona Isidorin
Agenda 21 Comune di Sesto San Giovanni
Staff del Sindaco
Via Benedetto Croce 28
20099 Sesto San Giovanni
Tel.: (00 38) 02 24 121 240
E-mail:[email protected]
Guide to sustainable consumption in Sesto San Giovanni

In Sesto San Giovanni, a city of 80,000 inhabitants near Milan, a Practical Guide to Sustainable Consumption was distributed to 35,000 families in 2003. This initiative was part of the city’s Agenda 21 programme, which also covers many other areas such as selective sorting, water and energy savings and mobility. As part of a participatory approach, the municipality set up a solidarity buying group for consumers thinking about ways to promote sustainable consumption there.

To launch its campaign, the city council also commissioned a 2003 survey, which showed that 35% of the municipality’s residents already bought sustainable products sporadically, 44% of them young people. The main reason the others did not (yet) consume such products was the fact that they were not aware of them (55%), hence the idea of distributing this free guide to residents. Next came a desire not to change their consumption habits (44%), higher prices (20%) and a lack of confidence (14%). A similar survey is to be conducted at the end of the Agenda 21 programme, in 2007.
Roberto Cerrina
coordinator Pagine Arcobaleno
Via Riva di Reno 104
40121 Bologna
Tel.: (00 39) 051 22 27 89
E-mail: [email protected]


Luca Masi
Project Tutor
Via Legnano 2
40132 Bologna
Tel.: (00 39) 051 40 69 26
E-mail: [email protected]
Pagine Arcobaleno (“Rainbow pages”) in Bologna

Pagine Arcobaleno is a group of five associations that publishes a Bologna guide to responsible consumption, bearing the same title. These associations include civic Internet organisations (Avvio and Bologna Free Software Forum) and NGOs working in the international co-operation or social fields (Amici dei Popol, Rete di Lilliput and La Madia). They work with a network of social co-operatives and organic agricultural producers. The group sets out both to draw attention to what the province’s solidarity economy has to offer and to develop links between the various organisations.

5,000 copies
. The Pagine Arcobaleno project comprises a number of aspects: putting together and publishing the paper version of the guide, the second edition of which (the first dates back to 2002) will have a print run of 5,000 in May 2005, and distributing it throughout the province; managing and updating the website of the same name (; and organising and co-ordinating various initiatives to promote the solidarity economy network within the province, such as the Bologna Solidarity Economy Fair in May 2005.

Financial arrangements
. The project’s finances are managed by VolaBO, the Voluntary Service Centre for the Bologna province. This association promotes the activities of voluntary organisations. Pagine Arcobaleno does not receive any money, but finds service providers for the project; VolaBO approves its selection and pays for the services. This financial arrangement was developed out of a wish for transparency, “even though it can be rather cumbersome”, says Roberto Cerrina, the group’s co-ordinator. Pagine Arcobaleno received a total of 35,000 euros in funding in 2005. The Bologna provincial council funds it through both its Agenda 21 office and its environment division. It is also supported by the management committee of the Emilia-Romagna regional council’s Special Voluntary Service Fund.

Co-ordination of the various participants takes place through meetings, a mailing list and a shared interactive Internet site, into which the necessary tools for producing the guide are inserted using open-source software. The ethical criteria adopted and presented in the paper version of the guide have thereby been decided on a joint basis. Members of the network help with publication and printing.
Antonella Turci
General Directorate of Economical Development
Social resposibility Sector
Region of Tuscany
via di Novoli 26
50127 Firenze
Tel.: (00 39) 554 38 31 78
E-mail: [email protected]
Social and environmental responsibility in Tuscany

Is Tuscany the region with the highest number of socially responsible enterprises in the world? Of the 430 enterprises having received SA 8000 certification, which guarantees quality environmental management, 48 – or more than 10% – are based in Tuscany. This is no coincidence, of course, but rather the fruit of a joint effort by the Tuscany regional council and the region’s various economic, social and solidarity players since 2002.

Fabrica Ethica
. In order to help enterprises reconcile economic competitiveness and sustainable development, in 2002 the regional council launched the Internet site, which explains to the many local SMEs how to adopt socially and environmentally responsible approaches. In 2003 the regional council went a step further by setting up the 25-member Regional Ethical Committee, comprising trade unions, employers’ associations, including employers within the social economy, the Tuscan branch of the Association of Italian Municipalities and NGOs representing the solidarity-based economy or consumers. According to Antonella Turci, head of the social responsibility department within the regional council, “this is an opportunity for dialogue between circles that do not often come into contact. Although it is chaired by a local elected representative, it lies outside the institutional framework, and its members can discuss the real problems.”

Leather goods sector
. In response to requests from business associations, which emphasised that socially responsible approaches could entail significant costs for SMEs in terms of training and internal restructuring, the regional council covers 50% of the costs of obtaining SA 8000 certification. In April 2004, the Regional Ethical Committee also commissioned a survey of the 48 certified enterprises, focusing on their practices in relation to globalisation. “The aim is to ascertain whether subcontractors in ‘at-risk’ countries uphold human rights,” says Antonella Turci.

Lastly, in 2005, the Regional Ethical Commission launched a pilot project for the 619 Tuscan enterprises in the leather goods sector, in which working conditions are similar to those found in the textile industry: that is, difficult. Information and training sessions on social and environmental responsibility are to be held in 30 municipalities, bringing together, for the first time, such diverse players as the labour inspectorate, religious communities, immigrants’ associations and environmental NGOs.


Annina Kramer
Spiezer Agenda 21
Postfach 314
3700 Spiez
Tel.: (00 41) 33 655 02 58
E-mail: [email protected]
Spiez recipe book

The association responsible for implementing Agenda 21 in the town of Spiez is about to publish a recipe book based on seasonal local produce. The publication follows on from a three-year project: each month, the association suggested recipes to food shops and hotels in the town. These recipes, classified according to the four seasons, are now being recorded, highlighting the culinary heritage of the Spiez area. “The book encourages sustainable cuisine and presents the area as an attractive tourist destination”, says co-ordinator Annina Kramer. The local printing house, Weber AG, is contributing to the project by assisting with layout. The project, which has a budget of around 22,800 euros, has also received financial support from Spiez Aktiv, a body bringing together public and private players seeking to enhance the region. The book, which will run to between 112 and 128 pages and cost 25 Swiss francs (about 16 euros), is to come out in September 2005, and will be distributed in the Spiez area.
Karin Hungerbühler
Fachstelle Umwelt und Energie
Vadianstrasse 6
9001 Saint-Gallen
Tel.: (00 41) 71 224 56 90
E-mail: [email protected]
Ökomarkt in Saint-Gallen

Since 1995, the annual Saint-Gallen market has sold ecological and fair trade products to responsible customers. This project was launched by the municipal environment department as part of the city’s Agenda 21 programme. A platform, named Ökomarkt after the annual market, brings together businesses and associations offering their products and services, along with the environment department within the Saint-Gallen municipal council.

The platform manages the project and organises the markets, which feature food, clothing, toys, crafts and information stands, including a stand for the Clean Clothes Campaign. In order to take part, businesses and associations must satisfy a number of social and economic criteria set by the platform, or boast seals of approval or ecological certification.

The market has a budget of 14,000 Swiss francs (9,000 euros); the project is funded from grants and fees paid by participants, ranging from 32 to 64 euros. Ökomarkt made a small profit in 2004, which will be reinvested in the organisation of the next market in 2005.