The 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives program manager, Joanne Lechasseur, attended the 5th Mont Blanc Meetings that took place recently in Chamonix, France. She was there to highlight the role cooperatives play in humanizing and democratizing the economy. Ms. Lechasseur pointed out how well the cooperative business model has withstood the worldwide ecological, food, financial and economic crises, and how relevant it is. She explained that because of their economic, social and environmental characteristics, cooperatives are part of the solution to the many global challenges we currently face. Ms. Lechasseur said that cooperative businesses have what it takes to deal with today’s challenges with regard to social cohesion, job creation and sustainable development. On this point, she said that the 2012 Summit will help “promote and gain recognition for the cooperative and mutual model as a sustainable solution to the current crises and develop a global network of cooperatives and mutuals to create a powerful source of influence in economic and political arenas in order to ensure sustainable development.” Since 2004, the Mont Blanc Meetings have been bringing together social economy leaders from every continent to give this sector more international visibility and recognition. The theme of the 5th Mont Blanc meetings was “The social economy: a new development model?”. The purpose of the meetings was to develop a common position for the social economy to bring to the second Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, which most heads of state will attend in Rio in spring 2012.