This is Co-operatives United

Co-operatives United was held in Manchester from October 29-November 2, but you can follow the conference as it happened here.

Co-operatives United was held in Manchester from October 29-November 2, but you can follow the conference as it happened here. With day-by-day written, video and photographic coverage you can catch up on sessions you missed or experience the event if you didn’t attend.

There were three exhibitions at Co-operatives United to celebrate various parts of the worldwide movement. ICAEXPO hosted a showcase of products from co-operatives around the world and encouraged co-operatives to inter-trade.

Co-operative Living, organised by the Co-operative Group, brought a life-size village to the event, which showed the flow of co-operation from farming to retailing to education to finance.

Co-operation Street brought delegates together by celebrating co-operative business and discussing big ideas.


The Opening Ceremony heard from various speakers from around the Movement including keynote speak José Graziano Da Silva, the Director General of the Food and Agriculture Organization. The ICA General Assembly looked back on the International Year of Co-operatives and discussed the Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade.

The Gender Forum, organised by the Co-operative Womens Challenge, heard from renowned journalist and Guardian columnist, Polly Toynbee, and Agnes Bolsø, from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.


The second day of the conference focused on the world of co-operative finance. The co-operative sector’s premier event, Co-operative Congress 2012 brought together those with a passion in co-operative action to share ideas, learn and be inspired; exploring the future of co-operatives in the Country.

This year’s event featured presentations and discussion around ‘Growing the co-operative economy’.  Following a keynote address from Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, there were keynote speeches from Monique Leroux, Chief Executive of Desjardins, and Kristen Christian, Founder of Bank Transfer Day.

The final event of the day saw the premiere of the Rochdale Pioneers Film, which captures the spirit and struggle of the men who founded the worldwide modern Co-operative Movement.


The closing day of the week saw speakers gather for the Values and Principles Conference, which brought together co-operative representatives from the Co-operative Group regions and independent societies to share, discuss and explore the work in engaging members, promoting diversity and delivering social goals.

The Practitioners’ Forum brought together co-operative workers from around the world to discuss challenges and to promote best practice in their field of expertise. While the Fairtrade Conference heard how co-operatives are helping sustain communities in developing countries through Fairtrade.

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