Co-operate to create a better future: co-operatives get involved

More than 2, 800 co-operators gathered in Quebec from 8 to 11 October to participate in the International Summit of Co-operatives of 2012.

More than 2, 800 co-operators gathered in Quebec from 8 to 11 October to participate in the International Summit of Co-operatives of 2012. The summit, organised jointly, in accrodance with co-operative principles, by Desjardins Group, the International Co-operative Alliance and Saint Mary University, gave co-operators from 91 countries the chance to meet up, exchange ideas and make business partnerships, whilst boosting the strength and visibility of the co-operative movement. For an overview watch this video of the opening ceremony.

The French co-operative movement was present at the Summit

Benoit Hamon, French Junior Minister for Social Economy was part of the French delegation. He spoke with Jean-Louis Bancel, President of Credit Cooperatif as well as with Quebec Prime Minister, Pauline Marois. The conferences and workshops were rich in information and Mckinsey and Deloitte, as well as universities and other external departments presented their research on co-ops, identifying strengths and weaknesses within the co-operative enterprise model.

Excerpts from these studies are available online on

Jacques Attali was interviewed and has expressed his view on positive economic actors, including co-operatives, an enterprise model which, according to him, will continue to develop, but one that needs to organise better and to increase its visibility in order to be more efficient within the global market.

This  view was also shared by Dame Pauline Green, ICA President, and Minique Leroux, Desjardins CEO, who called on co-ops to play a central role in the decision making process at global politics level. A new International Summit is to take place in 2014 with the aim of making the Summit a regular event, and also to increase its power of action.

This Summit is a departing point, rather than a point of arrival, a great event that has managed to gather members of the entire, diverse co-operative movement. The participants reunited in Quebec have seen economists and various experts presenting different views and asking questions on the magnitude of co-operative enterprises, possible development patterns and partnerships, members’ services, governance and co-operative education in schools (from primary education to trade, management and administration).

The Summit concluded with the Declaration of the International Summit of Co-operatives, which will be presented by Dame Pauline Green at the ICA general Assembly in Manchester, at Co-operatives United on 2 November.  You can watch various videos filmed throughout the International Summit by a video production co-operative of Montreal. Handing over to the participants: 

An inspirational Summit

We can get our inspiration from Quebec or other countries, which place co-operation at the centre of their economic, environmental and social life. In France, we have a wide variety of co-operatives, in various sectors, which makes it possible for us to develop a spirit of co-operation. We take a look at the World, but the world also pays attention to us. Let us use our multiple qualities and most importantly, the best practice implemented by foreign countries, and adapt them to our own reality. This is how we re-invent the World in which we live, in order to make it evolve towards more sharing, co-operation, economic, environmental and social efficiency.


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