By Cláudia Pedra, Managing Partner.

Stone Soup Consulting’s first ever Honesty Report has to start, obviously, by explaining why it has such an outlandish name. Shouldn’t a social consultancy working on increasing impact be producing an Impact Report and not an Honesty Report? Is there a difference?.

We are borrowing the expression “Honesty Report” from Leonora Buckland and Caroline Fiennes’ work on reporting. We apologise for this, but it was too good to let it pass. Too good because when we were thinking of such a report we wanted it to be truthful and sincere, free of deceit, which is exactly how the Oxford Dictionary defines honesty.   

Our idea is to showcase the impact of Stone Soup Consulting‘s work. Impact on organisations and on people; all impact, not only the positive impact, which of course everyone loves to show. The tough reality is that to be honest you have to show the good, the bad and the ugly. In this report we try to do exactly that. We do not sugarcoat our lack of impact in such areas. We are even honest about what we did not track, although we are experts in measuring impact. From failure comes change, innovation and improvement. In eight years, from September 2008 to August 2016, we have worked on 89 projects with 66 clients. We have also given many trainings. We have developed a network of over 40 consultants in 10 countries and worked in Europe, Latin America and Northern Africa. We have worked with social entrepreneurs, small cooperatives, large and tiny NGOs, foundations, town halls, universities and companies.

What are the ingredients for faster change?
Original article published in Spanish on Diario Responsable, September 16th 2016

The 9th Convergences World Forum, held in Paris on 5-7 September, gathered approximately 7000 international professionals for exchanges and discussions on how to co-construct a Triple Zero world. Centered around the theme “Inventing Tomorrow’s Sustainable Cities and Territories”, the Forum aimed at deepening this objective by reflecting on the role of local actors and on ways to catalyse, support and replicate the most innovative initiatives. The ambitious commitments taken by the international community on sustainable development with the 2030 Agenda, on climate with the COP 21 on climate, and on humanitarian aid with the World Humanitarian Summit call for more action, more effectiveness and, crucial as well, for more entrepreneurship, creativity and convergence.

The power of converging

One of the major strengths of this Forum is its vision and ability to serve as a sounding board for a great diversity of initiatives and actors who want to move in the direction of a Triple Zero world. It should be noted that Convergences is mainly made by and participated by the French, but its effort to integrate voices from other more contrasting realities and thinking globally is undeniably central. For Stone Soup, it is a must go spot to meet, exchange and articulate with change makers for sustainable development and the social and solidarity economy.

At the forum, co-construction was the buzzword for action toward sustainable development. The size of the task ahead certainly requires engagement and a collective effort of all stakeholders. At Convergences, there is remarkable awareness and creativity at play to boost the power of convergence. It is not just another conference where exchanges hardly occur. Attendees and participants seem to agree that meeting and exchanging favours the identification and articulation of innovations that can be brought to the ground, not just in France and francophone countries but around the world as well. 

Stone Soup Consulting at the #BGoodDay in Barcelona

“This world doesn't lack intelligence, or science, nor even technology. This world lacks more humanity." 

These words were uttered by Joan Malé, founder of “Taller de Conciencia” and member of Triodos Bank’s advisory board. With a keen speech, he opened the #BGoodDay held in Barcelona on June 28th, an event promoted by 30 companies that founded the B Corp movement in Spain. We, Marian Torres and Rosa Ricucci from Stone Soup Consulting, were there amongst hundreds of participants, and we would like to share some reflections on this experience.

B Corp is both a certification and a global community that redefines “success in business”: Benefit Corporations voluntarily agree to meet high social and environmental standards, following a rigorous method to assess the entire company’s operation and measure the impact of different business areas including governance, human resources, relationships with the community and environmental practices. The movement originally started in the USand arrived in Spain just two years ago, with Alma Natura as the first certified company. Indeed, the #BGoodDay event was an occasion to officially launch B Corp Spain as a local sound community.

It was a really interesting opportunity for us to reflect upon the role of businesses in contributing to sustainable development, and we have been truly inspired by a mix of “benefiting” ingredients.

Stone Soup Consulting works with Zaragoza Activa, the public institution that leads La Colaboradora, in the internationalisation of its social innovation projects.  

Por: Pilar Balet

La Colaboradora, un proyecto de innovación social de Zaragoza Activa en el que 200 emprendedores se organizan alrededor de un banco del tiempo, es finalista a los Premios Eurocities 2016, una red de 130 ciudades europeas fundada en 1986 cuyos gobiernos representan a más de 130 millones de personas. 

“La Colaboradora es un espacio real de inteligencia colectiva donde una comunidad de más de doscientos miembros trabaja en proyectos empresariales, sociales y creativos y donde intercambian ideas, servicios y conocimiento a través de un banco del tiempo”. Estas fueron, más o menos, las palabras que utilizamos para presentar este proyecto a los Premios Eurocities 2016  a principios del mes de junio. Y parece que les gustó.

En ese mismo par de folios también escribimos sobre lo fácil y lo difícil que han sido estos tres años de trabajo, sobre los errores y los aciertos en la gestión de un proyecto público de estas características. Hablamos del dinero que cuesta, de la crisis económica, de su sostenibilidad, de las elecciones locales de 2015 y del riesgo de depender de los presupuestos públicos. Pero, sobre todo, hablamos de lo más importante: del por qué este proyecto público es necesario y de lo que hace que La Colaboradora despierte la curiosidad de todos los que se asoman a su puerta de cristal. Hablamos de la comunidad, de la gente que la conforma y de lo importante que son el contacto humano y la confianza para que un proyecto de innovación social e inteligencia colectiva, como lo llaman, despegue y empiece a volar. Y además, del reto de lograr que la gente que ya lleva años compartiendo su tiempo y conectando quiera quedarse.

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We are very happy to announce that Stone Soup Consulting recently joined the Portuguese Diversity Charter.  This charter is composed by multiple signing organisations and has diversity as its principle, understood as the acknowledgement, respect and appreciation of the difference(s) between people, including particularly the differences related to gender identity, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, faith and beliefs, country of origin, culture, language, nationality, birthplace, ancestry, age, political, ideological or social orientation, marital status, family structure economic situation, health, disability, personal style and training.

Recognizing diversity in an organisation enables innovation. It can have a positive impact in attracting, retaining, and promoting diverse sets of skills and it represents an added value by making the organisation itself a mirror of the society in which it operates.

Valuing the characteristics, skills and talents of each person promotes equal treatment and opportunities, fights prejudice and discrimination, and fosters a culture of inclusion based on respect for individual human beings.

A culture of Diversity contributes towards personal and professional development, efficiency and competitiveness of an organization, as well as towards the improvement of social and economic standards.

The signatory organisations of this Charter commit to diversity as an ethical imperative, as a basic principle guiding all its activities, both internally and externally, as part of its core values and its institutional identity.