A cursory examination of global statistics pertaining to the international cooperative movement reveals an interesting picture regarding the popularity of cooperatives, the involvement of people therein and the impact of cooperatives on the global economy.
Facts and figures provided by 122-year old International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) indicate that “one in every six people are cooperators of any of the 3 million cooperatives on earth. The ICA further states that “co-operatives employ 10% of the employed population and generate 2.1 trillion USD in turnover while providing the services and infrastructure society needs to thrive.” No less significant are the assortment of noble motives which the ICA ascribes to cooperatives including their role as “enterprises based on ethics, values and principles that put the needs and aspirations of their members above the simple goal of maximizing profit” as well as utilizing the tools of “self-help and empowerment……and concern for the well-being of people” to nurture “a long-term vision for sustainable economic growth, social development and environmental responsibility.”
The ICA says, further, that “as member-owned, member-run and member-serving businesses, cooperatives empower people to collectively realize their economic aspirations, while strengthening their social and human capital and developing their communities.” There is more. “Cooperatives,” the ICA says, contribute to sustainable economic growth and stable, quality employment, employing 280 million people across the globe, in other words 10% of the world’s employed population. ….