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In 1844 the Rochdale Pioneers founded the modern cooperative movement in Lancashire, England, to provide an affordable alternative to poor-quality and adulterated food and provisions, using any surplus to benefit the community. Since then, the cooperative movement has flourished, extending across the globe and encompassing all sectors of economy.
Establishing the International Cooperative Alliance
The Rochdale Pioneers
An independently formulated cooperative model developed in Germany by Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen and Franz Hermann Schultz-Delitsch. Raiffeisen and Schultz-Delitsch originally formed credit unions in 1862. Since then the model has grown into other sectors and inspired the growth of financial cooperatives across the world.Back to top
Celebrating 125 years: evolving to meet changing needs
The achievement in forming the ICA 125 years ago and the continued strength of the cooperative model is a testament of its relevance and contribution & around the world. New forms and kinds of cooperatives are being invented all the time. Social cooperatives, a noteworthy and impactful experiment in itself, were invented in Italy in the late 1970s, and are now extending all over the world. We have recently seen the emergence of freelancers’ cooperatives, community cooperatives, and different types of multi-stakeholder cooperatives around innovative cooperative entrepreneurial models. It is clear that new forms of cooperatives will continue to emerge as the socio-economic needs of human beings evolve and common aspirations manifest into a collective will to build a better world.Today, the ICA is now represents 313 member organisations in 110 countries—more than at any time in these 125 years.
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Milestones in ICA's journey