CRIES Association – Resource Center for Ethical and Solidarity Initiatives

The CRIES Association – Resource Center for Ethical and Solidarity Initiatives was born in 2009 as a result of the implementation of the pilot project Territories of Co-responsibility, developed by the Council of Europe in partnership with Timișoara City Hall, Mulhouse City Hall, and other territorial actors in Trento and Paris.

The organization aims to promote a sustainable economy, facilitating the development in Romania of several pilot initiatives in the field of social and solidarity economy. Thus, the CRIES association has developed as a resource center for the social and solidarity economy, having as main areas of action participatory democracy, community-supported agriculture, fair trade, social enterprises, responsible consumption and ethical financing. CRIES is a founding member of the International Network of Social and Solidarity Economy, RIPESS Europe and a member of the RISE Network – the Network of Social Insertion Enterprises in Romania.

Among the main steps piloted and multiplied by the CRIES association, we mention:

  • Timișoara – Territory of co-responsibility (2007-2013), which involved the participation of over 500 citizens from different socio-professional categories in a broad consultation process in order to develop welfare indicators, in collaboration with the Council of Europe. In the period 2010-2013, the approach was piloted in 7 other cities in Romania, along with Timișoara (Arad, Brasov, Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Iasi and Sibiu), facilitating the involvement of over 1500 citizens in the consultation process and 8 groups action plans that have contributed to the development of pilot projects to promote co-responsibility and social welfare.
  • Community-supported agriculture (2007) – development of the first model of community-supported agriculture in Romania: ASAT solidarity partnerships. More than 10,000 consumers and 40 small food producers have so far participated in ASAT, creating a short food chain based on solidarity.
  • Step Program (2018) – promoting a culture of sustainability, the organization being involved in organizing sustainable cultural events, sustainable tourism and promotion of gastronomic heritage. Organizing, in partnership with the association Timișoara – European Capital of Culture, the festival LA PAS: Festival of artisanal gastronomy, which aims to become the first slow food festival in Romania.

The CRIES association addresses a heterogeneous public, such as:

  • Young people and teachers, participants in educational programs;
  • People interested in starting a social business;
  • Community members (consumers, entrepreneurs) interested in alternative models of economic development;
  • Civil servants and staff from non-governmental organizations, interested in deepening information on the social economy;
  • Policy makers, which we consider through advocacy campaigns.

The economic activity carried out includes a wide range of activities, among which:

  • Training in the field of social and solidarity economy – organization of training programs, information workshops, study visits and mentoring for social entrepreneurs, teachers, staff from non-governmental organizations and public institutions.
  • Education for responsible consumption – implementation in high schools and universities of programs to promote responsible consumption, fair trade and sustainable development among young people. Over 3,000 young people participated in organized educational activities;
  • Research and production of specialized materials – research and resource materials on the social & solidarity economy, responsible consumption, fair trade, ethical financing, such as: studies, guides, brochures, textbooks, films. Among the materials we mention: Be part of CSA! Guide for community-supported agriculture (2016), Social economy for young people (2018), Guide for responsible cultural events (2018), Handbook for promoting responsible consumption (2018);
  • Advocacy and networking – participation in local, national and international advocacy campaigns on the social economy, fair trade and community-supported agriculture.

The main challenge of 2021 for CRIES was the health crisis, which is accompanied by an economic and social crisis. Some of the organization’s activities, especially educational activities, had to be reprogrammed or rethought in online format. In some of the implemented projects there were payment delays, which were reflected in cash flow difficulties at the organization level.

Contact information CRIES Association – The Resource Center for Ethical and Solidarity Initiatives