2012: The Year of the Cooperative

February 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

Here at MSCS we are big supporters and promoters of cooperatively owned businesses. From grass root cooperatives like the Riverwest Co-op in Milwaukee to institutionally financed cooperatives like the Evergreen Co-op in Cleveland we don’t discriminate based on scale. What we are drawn to is the embrace of democratic principles, equity of labor and the idea that businesses can create communities. 2012 just so happens to be the United Nations ‘Year of the Cooperative’ and I wanted to share with you an excerpt from an article discussing this very phenomena, as well as encourage you to read up on cooperatives as well.

Think you know what big business looks like? Think again. According to Charles Gould, Director-General of the International Cooperative Alliance, cooperatives are poised to be the fastest growing business model by 2020.

Values-based, community-supported and member-controlled, modern cooperatives have grown steadily since their inception in the late 1800s. Today, the top 300 cooperatives, or Global 300, generate as much revenue as the world’s ninth largest economy, or the economy of Spain. Meanwhile, new research shows that cooperatives worldwide have three times as many members as traditional businesses have shareholders — and provide 20% more jobs.

The United Nations has recognized 2012 as the International Year of the Cooperative. The honor is due in part to the efforts of International Cooperative Association (ICA), a multinational advocacy and development group that represents cooperatives in all parts of the world.

In honor of the International Year, the ICA has embarked on a massive campaign designed to raise awareness of cooperatives and promote their development around the world. That includes the formation of the Global Development Cooperative: a $50 million fund that will finance cooperative development in rural areas.



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