Putting the movement on the map: Recognition for co-ops in 2017

Many prominent organisations and people external to the co-operative movement highlighted its value last year

European Parliament: Social Contribution

The European Parliament passed a resolution that recognises the important role of co-ops in the social economy. Adopted on 19 January, the Resolution on a European Pillar of Social Rights states that co-operatives, together with other social economy enterprises, “provide a good example in terms of creating quality employment, supporting social inclusion and promoting a participatory economy”.

Ethisphere: World’s most ethical companies

Several mutuals and customer-owned businesses have been placed on a list of the world’s most ethical companies. The list is compiled annually by the Ethisphere Institute, which rates companies on ethics and compliance; corporate citizenship and responsibility; culture of ethics; governance; and leadership, innovation and reputation. The list includes US mutuals Cuna Mutual Group Financial Services, TIAA Financial Services, USAA Insurance, and Massachusetts Mutual Life. Australia’s Teachers Mutual Bank also made the list, as did US worker-owned engineering company CH2M.

Palestine prime minister: Development strategy

Palestine co-ops are on a new development phase after the launch of a sector strategy by prime minister Rami Hamdallah. The sector plays a key role in agriculture, housing, services, handicraft and retail. Agricultural co-operatives alone account for 1.4% of GDP, based on 2012 data.  Mr Hamdallah said co-operatives made an important contribution but there was a need to improve the regulation and administration of the sector.

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A co-ops fair in Palestine, where a new development phase is beginning for the sector

New Zealand: Economic contribution

Simon Bridges, minister for economic development, transport and communications, and associate minister for finance, told a group of co-operators they are “a really big part of the economy and you’ve stayed very strong for a long time. You’re responsible for 20% of our GDP and those profits and value
stay local”.

People magazine: Caring companies

Navy Federal Credit Union, outdoor leisure co-op REI and employee-owned Publix Supermarkets have been included on the Companies That Care list, published by People magazine. The list of 50 companies is for “the top US companies with 1,000 or more employees that have succeeded in business while also demonstrating respect, compassion and concern for their employees, their communities and the environment”.

B20: Employment, growth and education

The final set of policy recommendations of the B20 Summit includes mentions the role co-operatives have in employment generation, fostering small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and promoting entrepreneurship. The aim of the B20 Germany summit was to identify and then recommend elements that could help innovation, economic growth and job creation.

Emmanuel Macron has been vocal in his support for co-ops

Emmanuel Macron: Support for social economy

French president Emmanuel Macron has committed to growing the social and solidarity economy. In the run-up to the election, he published a letter pledging support for the social and solidarity economy, including co-operatives. He highlighted the challenges facing France and pledged to help grow the sector for more co-ops to emerge to address these issues.

Fortune: Top companies

Leisure co-op giant REI and armed forces credit union Navy Federal have been listed as two of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. Navy Federal Credit Union entered the rankings at 47 – its seventh year on the list. Founded in 1933 to serve members of the armed forces, it is the world’s largest credit union, employing 14,153 people across 273 sites, with revenues of $4,720.4m. Retailer REI is placed 28 in the ranking. The six million-member co-op scooped the accolade for its 20th consecutive year, and is one of just 12 companies to be included since the annual list began in 1998.

• More from 2017 at 2017 In Review

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