Local entities founded “La Città Verde” to promote social/labor inclusion. Public-private investments created a circular economy process and a competitive SE
In 1991, the psychiatric service of the Local Health Authority (LHA) founded a cooperative with the aim of offering job opportunities in a protected work environment. Local municipalities entrusted the cooperative with the rehabilitation of social & work abilities of vulnerable people in accordance with the law. The problems faced by the LHA & by Municipalities derive from 2 main needs: 1) create & maintain work for disadvantaged people beyond the resource capacity of their social services; 2) organize the treatment of organic & non-organic waste in a simpler and cheaper way. Therefore, the creation of a social cooperative (SE) has mainly responded to the need for job inclusion;secondly, to the need of workers for ecological assistance and waste management and disposal. Local institutions have created an entity that has had the ability to develop more and more to ensure its livelihoods until it becomes a true enterprise at the service of the community. The born SE has therefore generated a virtuous process of innovation that in turn has responded to 2 needs. The first was that of remaining economically beyond the insufficient public resources, the second of earning income to maintain its activity at the service of the community. The role played by the public sector has been fundamental for the start of the cooperative and for promoting the entire innovation process, but the entrepreneurial ability combined with the sense of community of the managers has given success

Resources needed

Investment capital:5,100,000 €. Public participation quota:Regional funds for research & development for the biofuel production(100,000 €). A pool of banks granted a loan(mortgages/leases)for €4,000,000.The equity value of the cooperative through reserves/personal loans of shareholders is 1,000,000€

Evidence of success

Employment Increase/job inclusion within a local community that embraces 3 provinces (87 people employed in the cooperative of which 55 disadvantaged); Development of entrepreneurial skills in the management/treatment of urban waste and in the ability to find sources of funding both public and private. Development of an entrepreneurial logic & model starting from a social service carried out for the community. Research and innovation development regarding the implementation of a composting plant

Difficulties encountered

Capital: € 4,000,000 bank loan-mortgages, leases. Essential for the guarantee: have a cash revenue deriving from incentive contributions for 194 KWp photovoltaic plant integrated into the waste management plant

Potential for learning or transfer

It represents a good practice in terms of: 1) social innovation (a very modern plant based on research and development activities, employing disadvantaged people therefore at the service of the community). 2) access to market to increase competitiveness. 3) development of managerial/organizational skills to give targeted answers to the needs of the surrounding territories. 4) social and public/private finance; use of different social finance tools – own capital/equity fund/loan & public tender. 5) circular economy which generates a social impact: waste management/recycling as a service for the community. 6) environmental sustainability/efficiency: a photovoltaic system with a power of 194 KWp supplying energy to the electrically powered grinder and sieve is located on the roof of the prefabricated building of the composting process.
Transferability depends on investment capacity and managerial skills.

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Main institution
Local Health Authority of Cento (Ferrara) and Municipalities of Bologna, Ferrara, Modena
Emilia-Romagna, Italy (Italia)
Start Date
January 1991
End Date


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