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.



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