EcoTransFaire, a member of the SuNSE project, participated in numerous meetings in 2019 with SuNSE members. Whether in Wales or Luxembourg, the exchanges and visits to social entrepreneurs were rich in teaching and reflection.
During a very hot month of June, the partners met in Luxembourg City for a seminar organised by EcoTransFaire. EcoTransFaire hosted the visit, offering a unique insight into the development of the social enterprise sector in Luxembourg and across the border in France, Germany and Belgium.
During this visit, SuNSE members were received at the Pall Center, a company rooted in a transnational ecosystem with apparent sustainable goals. The commercial village of Pall Center was established in 1982 and has evolved from a simple petrol station to a shop concept nestled in a natural landscaped project on a 70ha green space with a footpath around the river Pall. The Pall Center works directly with suppliers from Luxembourg and the Greater Region, offering local, organic and sustainable agricultural products
On this occasion, the members met Christiane Wickler, founder of the Pall Center, to discuss her entrepreneurial career and her ambitions. Christiane explained that being “different” has been the key to success and that this difference has been motivated by her desire to serve the community and be environmentally sustainable.
The Pall Center supports independent traders and retailers – which are in short supply today – by encouraging innovation and real local commerce. Christiane is committed to involving local actors and being active in the fight for sustainable development. This visit highlighted the different existing “social business” models. Although the Pall Center model has generated profits for its shareholders without direct reinvestment of income for social purposes, the main ambition remains to support traders, producers and local communities (job creation and business opportunities), while being as environmentally friendly as possible (with solar panels, bees…), thus creating obvious social and environmental impacts.
The identification of social enterprises is not as striking when looking at a structural review. It should be done on a case-by-case basis, focusing attention on the impacts an enterprise has on its social and environmental environment.
Article from the 2nd SuNSE Newsletter (December 2019)
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