IYC Key Messages

Co-operatives provide a sustainable business model that supports the social and economic development of economies, communities, and individuals around the world.

The United Nations International Year of Co-operatives is a monumental year, which will provide a platform to educate the public on the strength and socio-economic value of co-operatives.

1. This scalable and successful model of enterprise legitimises co-operatives on a global level and empowers them to be major economic forces within countries

  • According to the World Co-operative Monitor (2012), the world’s largest 300 co-operatives generated revenues of USD 2 trillion – which is comparable to the GDP of the world’s ninth largest economy (India).
  • This model is on track to become the fastest growing business model by 2020.

2. The diverse, values-based business provides a sustainable source of revenue for communities and individuals – which builds lasting 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 nearly 100 million people – 20 percent more than multinational enterprises.

3. As member-controlled businesses co-operatives employ democratic principles that put people first

  • 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.