Cooperatives are celebrated on the International Day of Cooperatives, recognizing their role in fostering economic growth, social well-being, and environmental sustainability. Learn more about their contributions to building a better world.
On July 1st(1st Saturday of July Month), cooperatives from all around the world come together to celebrate the 100th International Day of Cooperatives, also known as #CoopsDay. This special day commemorates the remarkable contributions of cooperatives in making the world a better place. The theme for this year’s #CoopsDay is “Cooperatives Build a Better World,” which echoes the overarching message of the International Year of Cooperatives, a UN initiative that took place a decade ago.
Cooperatives operate in various sectors of the economy across the globe and have proven their resilience in times of crises. They play a significant role in fostering economic participation, combating environmental degradation and climate change, creating sustainable jobs, ensuring food security, retaining financial capital within local communities, establishing ethical value chains, and enhancing people’s material well-being and security, ultimately contributing to positive peace.
The Power of Cooperatives
Cooperatives have a rich history dating back to the early days of industrialization. The earliest recorded co-operative emerged in Scotland in March 1761. However, it was in 1844 when a group of 28 artisans working in cotton mills in northern England established the first modern co-operative business.
The Co-operative Movement
The co-operative movement has gained recognition as an association and enterprise through which individuals can improve their lives while contributing to the economic, social, cultural, and political development of their communities and nations. It has emerged as a significant stakeholder both nationally and internationally.
Co-operatives follow an open membership model that provides access to wealth creation and poverty elimination. This stems from the principle of members’ economic participation, where they equitably contribute to and democratically control the capital of their co-operative. Unlike capital-centric systems, co-operatives prioritize people and distribute wealth in a more equitable manner.
Moreover, co-operatives promote external equality by focusing on the sustainable development of their communities, encompassing environmental, social, and economic aspects. They support local community activities, source supplies locally to stimulate the economy, and make decisions considering the impact on the communities they serve.
While co-operatives have a strong local focus, they aspire to bring the benefits of their economic and social model to people worldwide. The cooperative movement upholds principles of democracy, local autonomy, international integration, and self-help. It aims to achieve economic prosperity, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability, addressing issues such as poverty, unemployment, and social integration.
Facts & Figures
To grasp the magnitude and impact of cooperatives globally, consider the following facts and figures:
- Over 12% of the world’s population, which amounts to billions of people, are members of one of the three million cooperatives worldwide.
- The largest 300 cooperatives and mutuals generate a total turnover of 2,034.98 billion USD, demonstrating the economic significance of this sector.
- Cooperatives provide employment to approximately 280 million people globally, representing around 10% of the world’s employed population. (Source: World Cooperative Monitor 2020)
The International Day of Cooperatives is marked by numerous cooperative events taking place worldwide. These events showcase the diverse range of cooperatives and their impactful initiatives. To find out about specific events happening near you, you can refer to the event map.
Resources and Organizations
Various international organizations and bodies are actively involved in supporting and promoting cooperatives. Some of them include:
- International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD)
- Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC)
- International Labour Organization (ILO)
- Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
- World Council of Credit Unions
- International Cooperative Alliance (ICA)
The International Cooperative Alliance, founded in 1895, is one of the oldest and largest non-governmental organizations worldwide. With a membership of 1.2 billion cooperative members globally, it collaborates with governments and organizations to create legislative frameworks that facilitate the formation and growth of cooperatives.
Cooperatives adhere to a set of guiding principles that shape their operations and governance. These principles are:
- Voluntary and Open Membership
- Democratic Member Control
- Member Economic Participation
- Autonomy and Independence
- Education, Training, and Information
- Cooperation among Cooperatives
- Concern for Community
By embracing these principles, cooperatives create an environment of inclusivity, empowerment, and sustainable development.
As we celebrate the 100th International Day of Cooperatives, it is essential to recognize the immense contributions of cooperatives in building a better world. These democratic and people-centric organizations play a crucial role in promoting economic growth, social well-being, and environmental sustainability. By fostering cooperation, inclusivity, and fair distribution of wealth, cooperatives exemplify a path towards a more equitable and prosperous future for all.
What is the International Day of Cooperatives?
The International Day of Cooperatives, celebrated on July 1st(1st Saturday of July Month), recognizes the significant role and achievements of cooperatives worldwide.
Why are cooperatives important?
Cooperatives are vital as they foster economic participation, promote social equality, contribute to sustainable development, and distribute wealth more equitably.
How many people are part of cooperatives globally?
Over 12% of the world’s population, which translates to billions of individuals, are members of cooperatives.
What are the cooperative principles?
The cooperative principles include voluntary and open membership, democratic member control, member economic participation, autonomy and independence, education, training, and information, cooperation among cooperatives, and concern for the community.
How can I get involved in cooperatives?
To get involved, you can join existing cooperatives in your area or explore opportunities to start a new cooperative venture based on the needs of your community.