International Day of Co-operatives theme announced

The day is celebrated every year on the first Saturday of July

‘Cooperatives build a better world’ is the theme of this year’s International Day of Cooperatives.

Celebrated on the first Saturday of July, the annual day promotes awareness of the co-operative business model. This year’s theme is the same as that of the International Year of Co-operatives, which was celebrated by the United Nations in 2012.

In choosing this theme, the UN General Assembly aimed to highlight the contribution of co-ops to socio-economic development, particularly their impact on poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration.

The International Day of Cooperatives has been celebrated by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) since 1923. In 1995 the UN also proclaimed the first Saturday of July to be International Day of Cooperatives to mark the centenary of the establishment of the ICA.

Since 1995, the theme for the day has been chosen by the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC), made up by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Labour Organization (ILO), the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the International Trade Center (ITC) and the ICA.

Spanish co-op Granissat celebrates the 2021 Day

The ICA is encouraging co-ops from around the world to use this year’s theme to showcase how human-centred business models, inspired by the co-operative values, are building a better world. The apex will prepare a range of tools for co-ops to use, including a logo, key messages and other digital resources.

“Co-operatives are answering the wake-up call of UN secretary general Antonio Guterres, who warned that the world is ‘on the edge of an abyss — and moving in the wrong direction’, and exclaimed that ‘to restore trust, and inspire hope, we need co-operation, we need dialogue, we need understanding’,” said ICA director general Bruno Roelants.

“For nearly two centuries, co-operatives have been pulling in this direction. This was amply highlighted at the 33rd World Cooperative Congress, held by the International Cooperative Alliance in December 2021, which focused a spotlight on how their shared identity is moving co-operatives to take action to address the world’s problems.

“Co-operatives are the only enterprise model with globally agreed principles that rest on a foundation of shared ethical values.”

More information about the International Day of Co-operatives is available at

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