Speaking at the ICMIF conference in Manchester today, ICA President Dame Pauline Green said the investor-led model of business has failed.
Dame Pauline, keynote speaker at the event, called for the mutual and co-operative sector to demonstrate its size and strength.
"The collapse has led to a flight to the co-operative and mutual sector, for example in banking as well as insurance,” she said. The co-operative and mutual sector must recognise the opportunities present by “the increase in trust and confidence in the co-operative and mutual sector”.
Dame Pauline added that the wider social environment was changing the operating environment for businesses, favouring member-owned businesses. “Social media and social protests, such as Occupy Wall Street and outside St Paul’s in London have the potential to change the social and business environment around the world,” she said.
Dame Pauline explained that the turnover of the largest 300 co-ops was $1.6trn, equivalent to the ninth largest economy in the world. She asked for all mutual and co-operative businesses – including ICMIF members – to use the United Nations’ logo for International
Year of Co-operatives, 2012, to show the size and diverse role of the sector. "We ask you to help us to drive up the visibility and strength of the sector, to create a decade of co-operative growth,” she said.