Co-operatives put people first

As member-controlled businesses co-operatives employ democratic principles that put people first. By placing human need at their centre, rather than profit, co-operatives overcome short-termism and introduce real choice in how business is done.

Co-operatives promote the fullest possible participation in the economic and social development of all people, including women, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples.

Co-operatives innovate to meet the needs of their members, and may offer new products or services—ahead of competing businesses—because members ask for it.

Co-ops provide economic strength that is sustainable

Co-operatives’ diverse, values-based business a sustainable source of revenue for communities and individuals – which builds lasting, sustainable economic strength.

  • Co-operatives operate in a range of sectors – ranging from banking, credit, housing, health, retail, food, utilities and agriculture

  • Co-operatives are owned by nearly one billion people across the globe.

  • Co-operatives employ 250 million people.

Co-ops are a global economic force 

Co-operatives’ scalable and successful model of enterprise legitimises co-operatives on a global level and empowers them to be major economic forces within their countries

According to the World Co-operative Monitor (2016), the world’s largest 300 co-operatives and mutuals have a joint turnover of USD $2.53tn (2,533.1bn).

The Monitor is an initiative of the International Co-operative Alliance, and gathers data on co-operatives across all continents, demonstrating the important role of co-operatives in the world economy. It has become the major global report for analysing the world’s co-operative movement, providing information for research into co-operative business enterprises.

“Co-operatives are a reminder to the international community that it is possible to pursue both economic viability and social responsibility”, according to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon.



Signature by the Chair of the ICA Youth Network, Sebastien Chaillou, the Executive Director of Cooperative and Mutuals Canada, Denyse Guy and the Director General of the ICA, Bruno Roelants.
13 Nov 2018

There is no future without youth. The International Co-…

29 Oct 2018

Yesterday, 20 cooperatives and cooperative groups…