Co-operatives UK and the Co-operative Group have announced plans to mark next year’s United Nations-backed International Year of Co-operatives.
On Saturday, co-operatives around the world will start the 100-day countdown until the start the International Year in 2012.
Internationally, the campaign is being co-ordinated by the International Co-operative Alliance under the theme ‘Co-operative Enterprises Build a Better World’ and the year will be officially launched at the United Nations headquarters in New York on October 31st and November 1st with the launch for the global co-operative movement taking place in Cancun, Mexico, in mid-November.
The UK, as the birthplace of the global movement, will feature prominently in the celebrations.
Co-operatives UK is working in partnership with the Co-operative Group to co-ordinate a programme of national activity.
This includes the use of a singular graphic mark across the sector and will revolve around four key themes to highlight:
• The local impact of co-operatives on a global scale
• How co-operatives share
• That co-operatives are owned by ordinary people
• The vibrancy of the co-operative sector.
Co-operatives UK will be supporting its members with a year-long programme of activities and materials aimed to raise awareness of the UK sector and to support co-operative organisations in the celebrations.
A 2012 website will act as a focal point for UK activities and a host of supporting materials will be available to members, including images, films, case studies and social media content. A series of major communications initiatives are also planned.
Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, told the News: “This is an opportunity for the UK co-operative sector to shine in the global spotlight and to welcome the international audience back home to the birthplace of co-operation.
“We will be supporting our members in their celebrations and delivering a series of initiatives to demonstrate just how co-operatives in the UK pursue economic visibility and social responsibility.”
The Co-operative Group will be leading a programme of activities aimed at raising awareness of the co-operative difference both with external and internal audiences. The year’s messages will be rolled out across the Group’s retail network and internationally-themed members’ events will also take place across the whole of the UK.
Among the Group’s other plans are a photographic street gallery that will tour the country highlighting international co-operative achievements and the remaking a modern version of the classic ‘Men of Rochdale’ film.
UK activities will culminate during the last week of October when, in addition to Co-operative Congress, the sector plays host to the international co-operative movement in a major week-long event at Manchester Central Convention Complex.
The event is anticipated to attract 10,000 visitors from across the world and will be underpinned by ICA Expo, a co-operative trade fair where hundreds of exhibitors will showcase their co-operative products and services to a diverse international audience.
ICA President Pauline Green said the International Year of Co-operatives offers co-ops a unique opportunity to promote the co-operative business model and demonstrate that they are part of a global movement. “They will also be able to contribute to a step change in the awareness of co-operatives and the difference they make in every corner of the globe,” added Dame Pauline.
Len Wardle, Chair of the Co-operative Group, said: “This is a great opportunity for all co-operatives to show just how effective they are in meeting the many economic and social challenges we face in today’s tough world. We look forward to playing a major part in the year’s activities.”