The top 300 co-operatives in the world are collectively worth $2.205 trillion – an increase from the previous year’s result of $2.097 trillion, according to the World Co-operative Monitor. The monitor – a partnership between the International Co-operative Alliance and Euricse – also reveals that 1,312 co-operatives across 50 countries had a turnover over $100m. Over 41% of the 2014 top 300 were active in the insurance sector, 27% in agriculture, 20% in retail and wholesale, 5% in banking, 4% in industry and utilities and 1% in health and social care, while 2% came from other activities or services.
While global unemployment has risen above 200 million, co-ops provide jobs for a quarter of a million people across the world, according to a report published by CICOPA, the International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and Service Producers’ Cooperatives. The report, presented at the 2014 International Summit of Cooperatives, said more than 250 million people work in co-ops, either as employees (15 million) or worker-members (11 million), while close to 224 million producers are members of co-operatives. It gathers data from 74 countries and covers 79% of the world’s population.
The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) started the process to create a harmonised legislative framework for co-operatives in the region through a new East African Community (EAC) Cooperatives Bill.
The bill seeks to improve national co-operative legislations within EAC’s five partner states by sharing best practices. With this law, EALA seeks increase co-operatives’ independence from governments and promote different types of co-operative enterprises. It also proposes the creation of an East African Co-operative Society.
Members of the EU parliament showed commitment towards the social economy and credit unions with the establishment of two groups that will work across various political sections. Eighty MEPs re-established the Social Economy Intergroup, which covers co-operatives, to ensure a regular dialogue between the enterprises of the social economy and the European Parliament.
Separately, MEPs launched the European Parliament Credit Union Interest Group. In total, 15 MEPs from Austria, Finland, the Republic of Ireland, Luxembourg, Poland and the United Kingdom form the initial membership of the interest group.
For the first time in the history of the G20, a co-operative representative participated in the business advisory group in charge of providing recommendations to the world leaders – the B20.
Dr Andrew Crane, CEO of CBH Group of Australia and member of the International Cooperative Alliance, represented the global movement in this group.
Rodrigo Gouveia, director of policy for the Alliance, said: “It is not to be expected that, all of a sudden, this will dramatically change the orientation of global politics, which have been dominated for so many years by the views of a single type of business model based on maximisation of profit, such as large multinational corporations.
“However, the moment is now ripe for co-operatives, as world leaders start recognising the shortcomings of such an approach, for example in terms of income inequalities.”
Consumer-operated and oriented plans (CO-OPs) have been changing the managed care sector in the USA. With the passing of the Affordable Care Act, more than $3bn in federal loan money has been made available to provide start-up and solvency capital to organisations seeking to establish CO-OPs.
So far, 23 health insurance CO-OPs have set up under the Affordable Care Act. These are consumer-owned, though not all of them work as co-operatives.
An analysis by the Decision Resources Group found that, in the first year, 460,000 people in 23 states joined CO-OPs and, in New York, CO-OPs enrolled more members than their competitors. CO-OPs offer the lowest price in a third of the markets where they operate, according to an analysis by the Times. Furthermore, states with CO-OPs have premiums that average 8.5% lower than states that do not have them.
At the closing ceremony of the World Conference on Youth 2014, held in Colombo, Sri Lanka, youth and governments from over 160 countries released a joint declaration on the post-2015 youth agenda. The International Cooperative Alliance’s youth committee for the Asia and Pacific region highlighted the values-based model throughout the conference. Committee chair Dr Sukesh Zamwar participated at the round-table plenary on employment and entrepreneurship.
The outcomes of these plenary discussions were then used by the national delegates nominated from various governments to work jointly to bring out the Colombo Declaration.
In this article
- African Co-operative Society
- African Legislative Assembly
- Andrew Crane
- Anne Murphy
- Brian McCrory
- British co-operative movement
- CBH Group of Australia
- Consumer cooperative
- European Parliament
- European Parliament Credit Union Interest Group
- European Union
- Georgina Friedrichs
- Health insurance
- Housing cooperative
- insurance sector
- International Co-operative Alliance
- Marian Harkin
- Matthew Bland
- Michael Edwards
- Rodrigo Gouveia
- Social Economy Intergroup
- Sri Lanka
- Sukesh Zamwar
- the Times
- United Kingdom
- United States
- World Council
- North America
- United Kingdom