October is co-operative month and 2012 has been designated International Year of the Co-operative by the U.N. The following article was written for the Fair World Project’s Fall 2012 Issue.
The United Nations has declared 2012 the International Year of the Co-operative “highlighting the contribution of cooperatives to socio-economic development, particularly their impact on poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration.” At a time when national economies are failing, corporate influence is becoming more concentrated, and workers are losing economic and political power, what better moment to uphold the co-operative values of self-help, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity?
The contribution of co-operatives couldn’t be more evident – and their involvement more critical – than the role they’ve played in Fair Trade. Small farmer co-operatives in the Global South, and worker-owned and consumer co-operatives in the North, have been three invaluable links in a co-operative supply chain that has helped shape and build an empowering and activist model of trade that supports small farmers, democratic organizations, and engaged consumers.
Read more here.