I hope by now you’ve all heard about the upcoming year, 2012 (and I’m not talking Mayan calendar here), as being an important one for co-op enterprises worldwide. It is sure to be a turning point in the course of co-operative development and in the awareness of the co-op advantage for all the peoples of the world.
In 2009, the United Nations declared the year 2012 to be the International Year of Co-operatives (IYC). In this declaration, the UN praised co-operative enterprises, not only for their economic viability, but also for their unique social development capacity. The year will be dedicated to co-operatives doing what they do best – bringing together people and organizations with common needs in order to meet a specific goal. Co-ops around the world will be using the IYC as a launch pad for various initiatives unique to their communities, regions, or countries.
The theme, “Co-operative Enterprises Build a Better World,” aims to deliver a common message to the rest of the world. This includes three key messages that all co-ops involved in IYC activities seek to demonstrate:
– Co-ops are a serious business model.
– Co-ops are values-based businesses.
– Members are in control – they are the democratic voice of the business.
There are many activities being planned for the year, in Canada and around the world. The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) has a calendar that is being filled in with IYC events from around the world. On their website, theICA also has plans to share the story of 366 co-operatives, one for each day of the year – FYI: 2012 is a leap year.
Here in Canada, the Canadian Co-operative Association (CCA) has a space for Canadian co-operatives to submit and share their IYC events and ideas throughout the year. This will be a forum for finding ways to participate and for letting others know what your co-op plans to do. Also, if you have yet to see the video released by CCA, take a look and spread the word.
Ultimately, my question to you is: how are you planning on participating in IYC 2012? I know that not all of us will still be working in a co-op at that point, but now is a great time to get involved in the planning. And if you are no longer immersed in the co-op world by 2012, then wherever you are, continue to share the news and spread the message!
Here are some things YOU can do NOW to get the momentum going:
- Include the IYC slogan in your email auto-signature – “Co-op Enterprises Build a Better World”
- Include the IYC logo on all internal and external communication produced by your organization, i.e.; letterhead, brochures, newsletters, website, Facebook, annual reports, etc. (IYC Logo available on the On Co-op website.)
- Join the IYC Ontario Taskforce and get involved in the province-wide planning.
- Read the ‘IYC Tips’ in the On Co-op e-Newsletter; it is a list that has been growing with every issue.
However you choose to participate in IYC 2012; whether you take big or small steps to get the word out there and to celebrate what co-ops bring to our communities. Everything we do will impact what the world remembers about co-operative enterprises by the end of 2012.