Co-operative experience: Mr Bancel is chair of Coop Fr, the national federation of French co-operatives. He also chairs Crédit Coopératif and the Alliance’s banking sectoral organisation – the International Co-operative Banking Association.
Prior to this he led two major French mutual insurance associations: GEMA (Groupement des entreprises mutuelles d’assurance) and FNMF (Fédération nationale de la mutualité française).
Agenda for the Alliance: He says that as president he would focus on three aspects: promoting the diversity of entrepreneurship within the movement; strengthening the linguistic and cultural diversity of exchanges; and promoting the co-operative model in regions lacking co-operative enterprises.
Mr Bancel thinks that the UN’s International Year of Co-operatives has helped raise the profile of the movement and more people see co-operatives as a positive force for good. But he warns that co-ops in different countries continue to face challenges and demutualisation.
He believes the organisation’s role in providing technical and judicial assistance to co-ops facing demutualisation is very important, as is the eradication of co-operative ‘deserts’ (countries where co-operative activity is low or exceedingly challenging).
He would also like to see a Global Co-operative Congress in the middle of the Co-operative Decade to reinforce and strengthen the role of the Alliance General Assembly as the major place for the expression and exchange of all co-operatives.
Governance is also on his agenda, and he sees transparency in co-ops as having paramount importance.
Sustainability: Mr Bancel sees co-operatives as an important agent in achieving the UN’s sustainable development agenda, particularly the goal to promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work. He thinks that another UN objective which co-ops could help achieve is ensuring sustainable consumption and production.
What the movement can learn from France: In France, co-ops of professionals are becoming more and more popular and Mr Bancel warns large co-ops not to ignore the contribution of smaller ones. He sees the Alliance having a role to enable inter-co-operation between the two.
He highlights work with renewable energy co-ops and engaging with young people as two of the most important issues in France.
On 3 December, Crédit Coopératif is hosting a fringe meeting at the centre of climatic transition at UNESCO. Participants will have the opportunity to explore the potential of renewable energy co-operatives, with speakers from the USA, France and other European countries.
After he was elected as chair of Coop Fr, Mr Bancel suggested establishing a group of young co-operators. “Many young people do not know this, but co-operatives can bring solutions to a number of problems.”
For more information: s.coop/bancel