Navigating The Cost-Of-Living Crisis: Impact on the Re-use Sector and Social Enterprises’ response at the frontline

by | Jul 10, 2023 | Publications




The current cost-of-living crisis has had a significant impact on households across all Europe. With rising inflation, the cost of basic goods and services is increasing at a rate that outpaces wages, leaving households struggling to make ends meet. According to a European Parliament Eurobarometer survey, 93% of Europeans are worried about the rising cost of living. Higher prices contribute to general uncertainty. As a matter of fact, the threat of poverty and social exclusion has now become the second most pressing concern for 82% of Europeans, according to the same survey.

The cost-of-living crisis has presented social enterprises in the re-use sector with both challenges and opportunities. On the one hand, rising operating costs, such as energy and rent, threatens their economic viability and therefore their ability to provide services to the most vulnerable in our communities.

On the other hand, price hikes have led many to look for more affordable second-hand goods, which has resulted in increased revenues for some social enterprises. However, this is strongly influenced by the specific circumstances and dynamics of each country or region.

Still, social enterprises have been frontline responders in adapting their operations to help people in the midst of the cost-of-living crisis, for instance by offering low-cost (or free) second-hand goods to people on a low income.

This article explores the multifaceted impact of the cost-of-living crisis on social enterprises and the strategies they are using to mitigate its effects on households.