The International Labour Organization’s Cooperatives Unit has launched a co-operative history timeline, which navigates milestones of the international co-op movement and the ILO’s work on promotion of co-operatives.
As the only specialised agency of the United Nations with an explicit mandate on co-operatives, the ILO produced the timeline to reflect on the milestones of the organisation’s work on co-operatives in the lead up to its centenary in 2019.
Starting with the Fenwick Weavers Friendly Society beginning to sell select food items to its members in 1769, the timeline travels through the life of co-operative pioneer Robert Owen (1771-1858) and the establishment of the Equitable Society of Rochdale Pioneers, right up to 2012 UN International Year of Co-operatives and the co-op conferences of 2015.
“The timeline project was started as a partnership with the ILO’s Century Project,” says Simel Esim, chief of the co-operative branch of the ILO. “They had developed a timeline with two streams. One on key events in world history in the past 100 years and the other on the key events pertaining to landmark dates marking ILO’s interface on the world of work and social justice issues.
“We wanted to do something similar for co-operatives, marking the key dates in co-operative history of the past 150-plus years as one stream, and reflecting on the ILO’s work on co-operatives and engagement with the co-op movement in the other stream.
“The idea is to learn from the past in order inform and understand the future. We feel this is a good time to take stock of the past as we think of how co-operatives will fare as labour market institutions in the future.”
The timeline can be viewed in full here.
In this article
- Consumer cooperative
- Equitable Society
- Fenwick Weavers Friendly Society
- international co-op movement
- International Labour Organization
- Ontario Co-operative Association
- Robert Owen
- Simel Esim
- The Co-operative brand
- The Co-operative Group
- United Nations Development Group
- United Kingdom
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