On Thursday 12 January, countries around the world held events to celebrate the launch of the International Year of Co-operatives (IYC 2012).
Live web casts from Ecuador, Portugal, Canada and the UK maximised the opportunity for people to feel involved in these significant occasions.
In the UK a debate with the title “Can co-operation rebuild British business?” was hosted by The Guardian newspaper. Panellists included Ed Mayo, Secretary General at Co-operatives UK; Dame Pauline Green, President at the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA); Len Wardle, Chair of The Co-operative Group; Charles Leadbeater, economist and author, and Li Chunsheng, Vice-President at the All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Co-operatives. You can still watch the debate here.
The audience at the UK debate consisted of 100 co-operative, social enterprise and sustainable business leaders and included ICMIF’s CEO Shaun Tarbuck who took part in the debate.
During the wider debate Ed Mayo highlighted the fact that co-ops outperform private businesses in the UK economy by 20%. “There are also more members of cooperatives than there are shareholders in the UK,” he said. These figures are expanded on in a special report, ‘Global Business Ownership 2012’, written by Ed and launched on Thursday 12 January as part of the celebrations.
In Canada there were 14 launch events in 14 locations and these included many of ICMIF’s Canadian members; in particular The Desjardins Group and The Co-operators. Again, the Canadian web cast is still available to watch online.
Monique F Leroux, Chair of the Board, President and CEO of the Desjardins Group and recently appointed Advisor to the UN for the IYC 2012 spoke during the live web cast and highlighted her hopes for this special year stating: “I am convinced that each and every one of us will be able to make a major contribution to further the public awareness of cooperatives. “
Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators, ICMIF Board Member and also ICA Board Member said: “I have had the privilege to work here in Canada within the cooperative system for the last 30 years and now, at an international level for the last 10 years and I have come to witness first hand how critical we are in both the developed and the developing world.”
Kathy went on to say that models and forms of institutions that we have come to rely throughout the 20th century may no longer be appropriate for what the world needs in the 21st century.
She explained: “In this era when so many people are dissatisfied with an economic system, dominated by short sighted institutions and enterprises and systems that quite frankly are not working the time has never been better for the promotion and growth of the cooperative model. This is a very special year”.
In this article
- All China
- Business models
- Charles Leadbeater
- Co-operatives UK
- Consumers' cooperative
- economist and author
- Ed Mayo
- Housing cooperative
- International Co-operative Alliance
- Len Wardle
- Li Chunsheng
- Pauline Green
- Person Career
- Secretary General
- Shaun Tarbuck
- Social economy
- Social Issues
- Social systems
- The Co
- the Guardian
- North America
- South America