Find out what is the cooperative movement in North America?

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This second article in a series of articles profiling the cooperative movement around the world looks at North America’s cooperative movement.

Cooperatives in Canada

History

  • • This movement first emerged in the 1830s with mutual insurance companies.
  • • Between 1860 and 1900, dairy producers in Quebec, Ontario and Atlantic Canada created over 1,200 cooperative creameries and cheese factories.
  • Canada’s first financial cooperative was created in the 1900s when Alphonse Desjardins founded his first caisse populaire in Lévis, Quebec.
  • Canada’s cooperative movement continued to grow after the Second World War through expansion and diversification, becoming the impressive and flourishing cooperative sector we know today.

Some statistics

  • There are over 9,000 cooperatives in Canada.
  • Canadian cooperatives have more than 18 million members.

Leading sectors

The Canadian cooperative movement represents:

  • 2,200 housing cooperatives that provide a place to live for approximately 250,000 people
  • 1,300 agricultural cooperatives
  • 650 retail cooperatives
  • 900 credit unions and caisses populaires with close to 11 million members
  • 450 cooperatives that offer child care or early childhood education
  • 600 worker cooperatives (employee-owned) with a total of over 13,000 members
  • 100 healthcare cooperatives

Other important information

  • Five Canadian cooperatives on the Global 300 list will be participating in the Summit:

Rank

Name

Sector

36

Desjardins Group

Finance

52

Federated Co-operatives Limited

Consumer/Retail

104

Coopérative fédérée du Québec

Agriculture/Forestry

120

The Cooperators

Insurance

144

Agropur

Agriculture/ Forestry

Sources :

http://www.canada2012.coop/en/cooperatives_in_canada/by-the-numbers

http://www.coop.gc.ca/COOP/display-afficher.do?id=1232131333489&lang=eng

http://www.thecanadianencyclopedia.com/articles/cooperative-movement

Cooperatives in the United States

History

  • The first American cooperative was created in 1735 in Charleston, South Carolina, but was liquidated five years later after a fire destroyed more than half of the city.
  • In 1752, Benjamin Franklin founded “The Philadelphia Contributionship for the Insurance of Homes from Loss by Fire,” the oldest mutual insurance company in the United States.
  • The majority of the 19th century cooperatives closed due to insufficient capital. It wasn’t until the beginning of the 20th century that cooperatives really began to have long-term success.

Some statistics

  • There are over 21,000 cooperatives in the United States.
  • American cooperatives have more than 127 million members.

Leading sectors

The American cooperative movement represents:

  • 7,500 housing cooperatives with more than 3 million members and 7,000 employees
  • 3,100 agricultural cooperatives with over 2.8 million members and 220,000 employees
  • Over 350 retail cooperatives
  • Close to 9,500 credit unions with almost 90 million members and 250,000 employees
  • 930 electric utilities cooperatives with 37 million members and 65,000 employees
  • 100 farm credit cooperatives with over 450,000 members and 10, 000 employees

Other important information

  • 90 American cooperatives are on the Global 300 list, which means approximately one third of all cooperatives on the Global 300 list are from North America
  • Three American cooperatives on the Global 300 list will be participating in the Summit:

Rank

Name

Sector

84

Thrivient Financial Lutherans

Insurance

155

National Cable Television Cooperative, Inc.

Utilities

198

Ocean Spray

Agriculture/Forestry

Sources :

http://www.uwcc.wisc.edu/info/stats/uscoopbus05.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_cooperatives_in_the_United_States

http://www.cdf.coop/history-of-cooperatives/

Cooperatives in Mexico

History

  • The first Mexican cooperatives began appearing around 1902. They were developed by the Catholic Church and inspired by the German system. The movement disappeared during the religious persecutions of 1926, but resurfaced in 1951 under the management of the Mexican Social Secretariat led by the priest Pedro Velásquez. Velásquez published leaflets about savings & loans (cajas populares), eventually leading to the creation of the first three cooperatives in Mexico City.
  • In 1991, the General Act on Credit Organizations and Related Activities marked the first time that savings & loans were recognized by the Mexican system.
  • In 1994, member consultations were held within the financial cooperative movement. As a result, 62 savings & loans decided to merge into a single national institution: the Caja Popular Mexicana. Established in 1995, it now has branches in 22 of the Mexican states.

Some statistics

  • Close to 15,000 cooperatives
  • Approximately five million members

Leading sectors

  • Agriculture
  • Banking/Credit Unions
  • Consumer/Retail

Other cooperative sectors include multi-service, housing, education, transportation and social services.

Other important information

  • One Mexican cooperative is participating in the Summit:

Name

Sector

Triunfo Verde

Coffee exportation

Sources :

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperativa#M.C3.A9xico

http://www.confe-coop.org.mx

http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooperativa_(M%C3%A9xico)

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About Martin LaSalle

To mark the united Nations’ International Year of Cooperatives, decision-makers and influential figures from the international cooperative and mutualist community will be meeting in Quebec City, Canada, to participate in the 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives. To find out more and book your place for the event from October 8th-11th, visit: www.2012intlsummit.coop