Actively engaged in the struggle against poverty and exclusion since 1949, Abbé Pierre’s movement has once again demonstrated its ability to innovate and counteract the logic of social and economic exclusion by creating a cooperative society that serves the common good (SCIC) called “Label Emmaüs”. First and foremost an online solidarity marketplace, Label Emmaüs is an innovative digital project and above all a social adventure.
The movement’s solidarity promoting economic activity is evolving to become more modern whilst keeping the project’s original promise to give people a second life and objects a second chance. Label Emmaüs is Emmaus’s bet on living by its own name and embracing its own values in the e-commerce environment.
Digital technology has become commonplace and all organisations need to make use of it. This is especially true for the third-sector organisations because it can serve as a means of overcoming exclusion: the Bocage workshops, Tri-Rhone-Alpes, ADB Solidatech, Connexions solidaires, We Tech Care: Emmaus has been present in the digital world for some time now.
In an online landscape increasingly dominated by giants, Emmaus is resisting with freedom and the pioneering spirit of those who created the internet, to design a more inclusive online environment that fosters social interaction.
The latest of these innovations, the solidarity marketplace Label Emmaüs, supplement’s Emmaus’s online presence.
Some 20 local Emmaus organisations sell goods on our site. New sellers are integrated as and when the general assembly approves them.
Each seller has their own e-shop space on our site, with practical information, news and lists of the products uploaded.
Each Emmaus organisation can advertise their products on their e-shop just like in a shop window, without selling them online, to inform consumers of what they have in their physical shop. Each week they can also choose products to be sold online and collected from the shop and/or delivered, depending on how the organisation in question would like to operate.
The local Emmaus organisations choose the products, create the adverts for these products, reply to customers and deliver purchases. It is primarily companions and people on integration programmes who deal with the adverts and manage orders via a digital interface, for which they receive training. By placing people who have been taken in and are receiving support at the heart of the project, Label Emmaüs helps them to develop new skills which they can use within the movement, and creates new positions to integrate people.
Integration programme staff and other members of the Label Emmaüs team check the adverts before uploading them online to make sure that the overall catalogue of products available is coherent. Label Emmaüs also deals with customer services, complaints and refund requests via a single telephone number.
132 members: 10 founders of the cooperative 96 people supporting us, 17 Emmaus groups selling products, 5 Emmaus groups supporting us, 3 members of staff and one partner.
12 people have been elected onto our monitoring council.
Label Emmaüs chose the French service provider Izberg to manage its centralised information system. Izberg developed a central administration system using the saas (software as a service) model.
Ecédi, a web agency that specialises in the third sector, created a website that offers disabled access in line the the Qpquast label guidelines.
Label Emmaüs chose two other French partners for its purchasing site: Ecédi and Simplon, who are familiar with the charity and integration sectors. Simplon, an agency-school that trains web developers who’re reintegrating into society or changing jobs to programme. Simplon will be one of Label Emmaüs’s key partners and there are many possibilities to collaborate, from the platform hiring Simplon students, to companions receiving training at Simplon, to Simplon students getting involved in visiting Emmaus teams to give them IT training.
Finally, the site owes its very modern design and the name ‘Label Emmaüs’ to the communication agency Bear Ideas.
On 28 June 2016, the 10 co-founders of the Label Emmaüs cooperative met to sign the SCIC’s statutes. The Emmaus movement decided to set up an independent legal entity for the Label Emmaüs project, partly to comply with fiscal regulations governing e-commerce activities and partly to involve all the project’s stakeholders in its governance. This legal status as a ‘SCIC’ is halfway between that of an organisation and that of a business.
The Label Emmaüs cooperative’s first general assembly took place on 3 November 2016. 113 people from five of the cooperative’s voting colleges attended the event at Palais de la Femme. 122 members were elected by the cooperative’s 10 founders and 12 people were voted onto the monitoring council.
The site was officially launched on 8 December 2016.
The first monitoring council session was held on 10 January 2017. The council will meet every three months to ensure that the cooperative is being well managed and that the decisions taken by the general assembly are implemented.
Label Emmaüs will make it possible to create 30 jobs within the central platform in the next five years. Half of these will be reintegration positions for people suffering social exclusion.
The social impact of the project also comprises all the people who have been taken in (companions and people on reintegration programmes) who will work on this new project in the Emmaus seller groups. They will be able to develop new skills.
Over 500 orders have been placed on the site and 27,000 euros have been generated by seller groups via the site in one month.
When the site was launched, Label Emmaüs benefitted from a wave of media attention: articles were published and video reports were broadcasted by nearly all of the main local and national news outlets in France.
For the future, we would like to be able to offer all Emmaus organisations the opportunity to have an online presence that promotes their solidarity projects. Label Emmaüs will become increasingly well-known and efficient as we incorporate new seller groups from Emmaus France onto the platform. After this perhaps we could expand to international groups?