Group Agreement

GeneralCommunicationFoodsavingFoodsharing Points (FPs)OnboardingPolitical WorkWorkshops

This document is a translation of the original group agreement in German [PDF]. In case of ambiguities or mistranslations, the original document in German is the valid reference for the group functioning.

1. Our DNA

Vision

All edible foods in Luxembourg are consumed.

Mission

To fight food loss and food waste

Aims

  • Facilitating the speedy redistribution of food that would be thrown away, but is still edible to people irrespective of their financial or social situation
  • Raising awareness on the issue of food loss and waste and its impacts on the climate, environment, and society
  • Pushing for a systematic change so that food loss and waste are dramatically reduced

Values

Respect

For us, respect includes acceptance, openness and justice.

Reliability

Reliability results from one’s own motivation.

Responsibility

For us, a sense of responsibility includes sustainability, transparency and the money-free handling of rescued food. In the sense of responsibility towards the rescued food, a fast processing of the food stands for us before a charitable transfer.

Community

Through the structure and the course of our meetings, as well as the formal responsibility, an attempt is made to prevent conflicts. If possible, feedback is given through non-violent communication.

2. Membership

Responsibilities of a member

  • Registration on our communication platform, with photo and real name
  • Best possible and active support of Foodsharing Luxembourg

How do I become a member?

  • Fill in the membership application with legal agreement and privacy policy and acknowledge the statutes and group agreement by signature
  • Be present at an information meeting
  • The Onboarding Circle confirms that there is no expulsion.

How do I resign as a member?

Send an e-mail to the onboarding working group explaining the resignation.

How can I be excluded as a member?

See Article 11 of the Statutes.

3. Structure

3.1. Circles

A circle is a semi-autonomous and self-governing group of equal persons who are jointly responsible for a sphere of work, decision-making and influence and can make decisions. In accordance with sociocracy, each circle may, if necessary, create temporary roles or circles whose responsibilities are clearly defined and dissolved after fulfillment.

3.2. Roles

  • Each member can take on several roles.
  • Each elected role in the circles must be redefined at the meeting of the circle after the General Assembly.

3.2.1. Leader of a Circle

Every Circle has a Leader; Only the Circles Council (see below) and Administrators (see below) have none.

Responsibilities of the Leader of a Circle

  • Carrying the parent Circle’s matters into the Circle
  • Making sure all actions serve to carry out the Circle’s aim
  • Acting as contact person for their Circle

How do I become a Leader of a Circle?

Sociocratic election at a meeting in the parent Circle. Redefinition every year at the first Circle meeting after the ordinary General Assembly.

How do I give up my role as a Leader of a Circle?

  1. Announce resignation to all members of your own Circle and the parent Circle
  2. Wait for the sociocratic election at the next Circle meeting
  3. Handing over the role with the new person
  4. Communicate the change to all members of your own Circle and the parent Circle
  5. Four weeks to be available for inquiries

3.2.2. Representative of a Circle

The Council (see below) does not have this role; For all other Circles, this role is optional.

Responsibilities of the Representative

  • Reporting from their Circle to the next higher Circle what decisions have been made, how the sub-Circle is going, the impact on the Circle of decisions made in the parent Circle, etc.

How do I become a Representative of a Circle?

Sociocratic election at a Circle meeting. Role Foodsaver as a condition for Representatives of a Regional Circle. Redefinition every year at the first Circle meeting after the ordinary General Assembly.

How do I give up my role as a Representative of a Circle?

  1. Announce resignation to all members of your own Circle and the parent Circle
  2. Invite those interested in the role to the next Circle meeting
  3. Sociocratic election at the next Circle meeting
  4. Handing over the role with the new person
  5. Communicate the change to all members of your own Circle and the parent Circle
  6. Four weeks to be available for inquiries

3.1. Roles

  • Each member can take on several roles.
  • Each elected role in the circles must be redefined at the meeting of the circle after the General Assembly.

3.2. Circles

A circle is a semi-autonomous and self-governing group of equal persons who are jointly responsible for a sphere of work, decision-making and influence and can make decisions. In accordance with sociocracy, each circle may, if necessary, create temporary roles or circles whose responsibilities are clearly defined and dissolved after fulfillment.

4. Work in Working Circles (WC)

4.1. Working Circles 

Name
Communication
Foodsaving
Foodsharing Points (FPs)
Onboarding
Political Work
Workshops

Each of the above-mentioned Working Circles may change its part of the Group Agreement itself, must include a history of changes at the end and must communicate these changes to all members.

4.2. How do I become a member of a Working Circle?

Each member of the association may join as many working or sub-working groups as he or she wishes. The new member shall inform all other members of this circle of his or her accession.

5. Connecting structure

5.1. Administrators

Responsibilities

  • Election of one representative and two treasurers
  • Representation of the association in all legal and administrative acts
  • Organize regular meetings, e.B. if forgotten to determine the facilitator role for the next meeting

How do I become a member of this circle?

  1. Determination by sociocratic election at the annual ordinary general assembly

How do I withdraw my membership?

  1. Announce their resignation to all members of the association. See Statutes for Procedure.

Or:

  1. Let their term of office expire and not stand for re-election.

5.1.1. Treasurer

Responsibilities

  • Manage your cash accounts
  • Preparation of financial reports for the General Assembly and the public.

How do I become a treasurer?

  1. Sociocratic election at district meetings of administrators

How do I hand over my role as treasurer?

  1. Announce resignation to all members of your own circle and the circle in which you worked
  2. Invite those interested in the role to the next circle meeting
  3. Sociocratic election at the next district meeting
  4. Handing over the role with the new person
  5. Communicate change to all members of your own circle and the circle in which you worked
  6. Four weeks to be available for inquiries

5.2. Council (Rat)

This circle consists of the Leaders and Representatives of the Working Circles, the Representative of the Administrators and the Representative of the Circle of Well-Being Managers.

Responsibilities

  • Exchange on the organisation of events or other awareness-raising actions
  • Exchange of current membership and foodaver numbers
  • Optimization of the organizational structure

How do I become a member of the Council?

See the role description of the Leader and of the Representative.

6. Organization chart

Organization chart: CRegional Circles (see Foodsaving) in green ⬤, Working Circles in red ⬤, Council in violet ⬤, Administrators in orange ⬤

7. Meeting

A distinction is made between the organizational meetings, general assembly and district meetings, as well as the information meetings. The General Assembly is described in the Statutes. District meetings take place at least once every other month and information meetings at least once a month. Our meetings are non-alcoholic.

7.1. Organizational meetings

Course of meetings

  1. Agreement on one or more languages in which the meeting will be held
  2. Check-in round
  3. Round for sharing unpleasant things
  4. Recognition and gratitude round
  5. Round to share progress, announcements and ideas in brief
  6. Next meeting, including setting its facilitator
  7. Agenda presentation and adjustment, including prioritization of topics
  8. Processing of agenda items
  9. Feedback round: Feedback on roles and evaluation of our cooperation
  10. Check-out round

You can always pass when it is your turn.

Roles

The following roles should rotate each meeting:

  • Facilitator: This person is determined at each meeting for the next one. She sets a date on which most members can, as with framadate.org, creates an agenda with time management, as with framapad.org, to which any other member can add something, and moderates the meeting.
  • Keeper of the memory: This person writes a report of the meeting, including the names of the people present. It will send it to all members within 5 days of the meeting.
  • Keeper of the time: This person looks at the clock and tells the facilitator if there is a risk of deviating too much from the agenda.
  • Keeper of the heart: This person observes the mood of the individual members, pays attention to the individual needs and is allowed to interrupt the meeting in case of a crisis or conflict. She is also welcome to guide one or the other Energizer to ground, refresh or calm the group.

Decisions

Decisions are made sociocratically at the members’ meeting, according to the principle: “Safe enough to try, good enough for now”. Only members are entitled to make decisions. The procedure is as follows:

  1. Ask others for advice.
  2. Prepare a proposal.
  3. Present a proposal.
  4. Clarify comprehension questions without starting discussion.
  5. Others ask for objections. Objections are justified if they credibly show how the association or its members would be worse off as a result of the decision. Best of all, the objection includes a suggestion for improvement.
  6. Incorporate suggestions for improvement.
  7. Repeat point 3 until there are no more objections.

7.2. Information meeting

During the information meetings:

  • a attendance list is created
  • visitors are introduced to our association by explaining our projects
  • the process is explained to potential members in order to become a member 
  • is made aware of our group agreement

8. Well-being

8.1. Netiquette

The following guidelines help to ensure that our values are upheld when we interact with each other online. If you observe a person not following these guidelines online, then you as a member are empowered to post the below guidelines as a reminder:

  1. Be respectful, kind, courteous and clear in your communication. We’re all in this together to create a welcoming environment. Let’s treat everyone with respect.
  2. Simple. If you wouldn’t say it face to face, don’t say it online. Is your message best posted online? Could you talk to the person/people by direct message? Is it better discussed in a face to face/online meeting? Consider – what you want to achieve and who needs to know.
  3. Read again what you have written to ensure it says what you want and will not be misinterpreted. Do not use All caps (“I’M SHOUTING / ANGRY”) or multiple exclamation marks (“Give me a break!!!”).
  4. Write your post in two languages when possible. Then as many people as possible will understand. Deepl and Google Translate can support you.
  5. Make sure everyone knows who you are and your role, as well as who you are writing to. For example, I am the Cooperation Manager of XXXX. Be clear who you are writing to (“All” or “Hi John”) and end with your name, role (“Name, Communications Leader”).
  6. Use emoticons. Emoticons can help convey feelings that may otherwise get lost in translation, including humour, exasperation, celebration, exhaustion and even confusion. Use at maximum three emojis per message.
  7. Give them the benefit of the doubt. If you are offended by something someone says online, keep in mind that you may have misunderstood their intentions. Give them the benefit of the doubt. You can also contact them directly to resolve the issue.
  8. No bullying or hate speech. Make sure that everyone feels safe. Bullying of any kind isn’t allowed, and degrading comments about things such as race, religion, culture, sexual orientation, gender or identity will not be tolerated.
  9. Foodsharing Luxembourg is a sociocratic organisation. No one person has all the power. Decisions are made in consultation with the circles.

8.2. Conflict Resolution

At a certain point, conflicts and tensions arise in every relationship or group. People affected by a conflict can feel a wide variety of emotions. The attitude should be to take the conflict as a gift, an opportunity to grow oneself, the relationship between all people affected and maybe even the whole group. Being part of this group involves a commitment to attempt to resolve any conflicts which arise, not to avoid or ignore them. The purpose of this is to keep the group healthy so that it can be effective in achieving its goals. A refusal to do this can mean that whoever refuses to do it may be asked to leave the group.

The following steps should guide you:

  1. Make a genuine attempt to resolve the conflict between the individuals involved, by themselves.
  2. Familiarise yourself with the basics of Nonviolent Communication (NVC). In fact, going through the following steps is helpful:
    1. What do you see happening? (observations)
    2. How do you feel about it? (feelings)
    3. What do you need in this situation? (needs)
    4. What do you want to happen? (specific requests)
    5. What can we agree to do about it? (agreements)
  3. If things get tense, difficult or conflictual, any group member is encouraged to suggest a “Time out”, a break where people step back and reflect on what is going on and how they might have been contributing to the situation. Then people can come back together to work it out then and there, and they begin by saying the ways in which they may have been contributing to things becoming tense or difficult. Alternatively, a dedicated meeting to talk about this can happen, if everybody affected agrees to it. (see also “Keeper of the heart” role in meetings)
  4. If a conflict arises outside of a meeting, then whoever is in conflict tries to sort it out with each other directly in a face-to-face meeting, with respect for differences and within the rules of our group agreement.
  5. If this conflict occurs online we urge you to refer to the Netiquette Guidelines (see above) and to remind all parties involved of its contents.
  6. If the conflict can not be resolved between the individuals themselves, then it should be reported to the relevant parties of the circle involved.
  7. If everything else has failed, or if any of the misconduct falls under the list of offences that may lead to exclusion from Foodsharing Luxembourg as a whole (see below), approach a member of the Administrators. The Administrators must respond to the report of an offence and must deal with it within 2 weeks. If deemed necessary, an independent external mediator may be used at this stage in order to move forward and help resolve the conflict. The Administrators will call on the parties involved to discuss the incident(s), will make a decision and communicate this decision directly to the parties involved.

8.3. List of offences

The following offences can lead to exclusion from Foodsharing Luxembourg and is valid for all its members. This list is not exhaustive. The sanction and the duration for non-respect of one of these rules will be decided by the Administrators.

  • Criminal offence in the context of one of our activities
  • Serious breach of a rule of the group agreement
  • Collection or sale of saved food from our cooperations on behalf of another organisation
  • Not adhering to our values
  • Damage to the image / defamation of Foodsharing Luxembourg
  • Intimidation / Threats / Harassment / Defamation
  • Embezzlement of money or sale of material belonging to our association

9. Distribution

Food is passed on unconditionally. This means that no one is preferred. Everyone receives as much as desired. Nothing is picked up or put back. If you come at a later date, you can choose from what is left. Everyone decides for themselves whether and to whom he/she passes something on.

10. Money

  • Basically, the principle applies: As little as possible, as much as necessary.
  • The work of Foodsharing Luxembourg is basically voluntary.
  • No food may be sold or used as barter, even those for which rescued food has been processed.
  • Donation boxes may not be placed at a foodsharing point, as Foodsharing Luxembourg could otherwise be classified as a food company for accepting the sale of food.
  • Donations for the association are allowed at events if it is clear that the food is free of charge. For this purpose, signs with the inscription “Donations for the association Foodsharing Luxembourg” and “Food to give away” can be written.
  • There is no permanent cash register.
  • Any transport costs incurred are to be borne by yourself.
  • Financial reports should be publicly and transparently accessible to foodsharing.lu.
  • Each Working Circle represented in the Council submits a budget in March and September of each year with planned income and expenditure for the coming 6 months.
  • The Council distributes a maximum of 75% of the available money to the Working Circles based on these budgets, the real income and expenditure of the last years and the current account balance.
  • Only expenses approved by the Council can be reimbursed by the Working Circle representative requesting reimbursement from the treasurers.

11. Review

Each year, this group agreement is reviewed before the Assembly so that any suggestions for improvement can be submitted to the Assembly. For this purpose, an administrator establishes a working group.

History of changes
  • 03.07.2023
    • Changed: Adapted “Course of meetings”
  • 07.03.2023
    • Changed: Adapted organigram
    • Added: Netiquette, Conflict Resolution and list of offences under “Well-Being”
    • Removed: Well-Being Manager system
  • 31.01.2023
    • Removed: Distribution Days
  • 09.01.2023
    • Added: added expulsion check to “How do I become a member?” under “Membership”
  • 19.11.2022
    • Added: mission and aims
    • Changed: order: “Circles” comes before “Roles” under “Structure”
    • Added: description of “Leader of a Circle” and “Representative of a Circle” under “Roles”, within the scope of the introduction of double linking
    • Removed: “Representative of a Working Circle in the Council” under “Working in Working Circles (WC)” because of generalisation within the scope of the introduction of double linking
    • Added: complemented “Council” with Leaders, within the scope of the introduction of double linking
    • Removed: limit on the number of Circle you can be Representative of in the Council
  • 28.08.2022
    • Added: budget and reimbursement processes
  • 18.07.2022
    • Removed: closed Working Circle “Awareness” due to empty domain and inactivity
    • Changed: transferred domain of Working Circle “Awareness” to “Foodsaving”
    • Added: election of one representative as responsibility under “Circle of Well-Being Managers”
    • Added: expansion of the Council with representative person of the Well-Being Managers directly under “Council”
    • Added: explanatory note about Regional Circles directly under “Well-Being Manager of a Regional Circle”
    • Removed: moved “Breakdown of members into Regional Circles (RC)” into Foodsaving part of the group agreement