The co-operative movement boasts a shared identity and unity of purpose as the only organisational model with internationally recognised definition, values, principles, and a social movement behind it. Nevertheless, the co-operative model of enterprise is versatile and flexible. It can be adapted to any sector of economic activity and takes the form of small and locally restrained businesses, as well as multi-national conglomerates. Co-operative enterprises serve, first and foremost, member needs – globally: 1 billion individuals.
Governance is a key component of the co-operative difference. The co-operative values and principles call for an open, voluntary, and democratic process of decision-making, and co-operative governance is an essential tool in applying those values and principles. In an increasingly regulated, complex, and inter-dependent global economy, where market pressures are high, a current reference on the basic tenets of co-operative governance is required.
This exercise aims to help establish the tenets of co-operative governance and tease out its delimitations. As co-operatives innovate in their sectors of activity and in their typologies, the Alliance gathers leading thought from around the world and across sectors to reflect on the balance between rigidity and flexibility we must achieve in our governance strategies and practices in order to continue building a better world.