Governance system

TESS is a European Economic Interest Grouping with its headquarters in Herstal (Liège Province, Belgium).

The General Assembly, the sovereign body of TESS, is composed of all its members, where decisions are taken on the basis of

1 member = 1 vote

A managing board is elected by the General Assembly to ensure the implementation and the follow-up, on the field, of the decisions taken by the General Assembly.

Annual audits on the 7 TESS criteria

The first step in setting up an ethical and transparent approach is to submit to an audit to ensure that each member respects a certain number of criteria which are the very essence of the players of the Social and Solidarity Economy.

The members of TESS are therefore audited every year by an external body on the 7 criteria of the Social and Solidarity Economy.

The criteria and indicators audited below are the subject of a report on their compliance by the members.


Criteria Indicators

Primacy of the individual and the social objective over capital

  • Primacy of the individual and the social objective over capital
  • Social, societal and general interest utility of the enterprise
  • Respect of the environmental legislation
  • Respect of the social legislation
  • Compliance with tax legislation
  • Limitation of the returns on capital to a dividend of max 6%

Voluntary and open membership

  • Possibility for salaried workers to become members of the GA
  • Possibility for salaried employees to follow training courses for decision-making participation

Democratic governance by members (except for foundations, which do not have such control)

  • Decision-making in the general assembly according to the "one person = one vote" rule
  • Existence of a democratic process (information - debate - decision)

Combination of the interests of members and users, on the one hand, and the general interest, on the other hand

  • Prioritize reuse over recycling and other forms of valorisation and use short circuits

Defence and application of the principles of solidarity and responsibility

  • Prioritize local employment for people excluded from the labour market as specified in the European regulation 2204/2002.

Autonomous management and independence from public authorities

  • No holding of the majority of shares or votes in the general assembly by one or more partners from the public sector and/or the private capitalist sector
  • No holding of more than 50% of the capital by a natural or legal person

Reinvestment of most of the surpluses to carry out sustainable development objectives, services of interest to members or of general interest

  • Allocation of the surplus primarily to the reserve fund or equity, to investments for the maintenance of the production facilities and to the improvement of working conditions
  • No remuneration (including legal and extra-legal benefits) higher than 7 times the legal minimum wage

These criteria are those proposed by the European Standing Conference of Co-operatives, Mutual Societies, Associations and Foundations