#CoopIdentity Discussion Paper

03 Dec 2021

The purpose of the present document is to launch a re-examination of the ICA’s Statement on the Cooperative Identity. Adopted in Manchester in 1995 at the 31st World Cooperative Congress, the Statement set out for the first time the cooperative and ethical values that lie behind the principles elaborated by the founders of the cooperative movement, provided a clear definition of the cooperative business model, and updated the cooperative principles to reflect the contemporary features of the movement.

Since its adoption 25 years ago, the need to deepen an understanding of and improve the utilization of the cooperative business model has grown steadily. For this reason, it was agreed at the 2019 ICA General Assembly in Kigali, Rwanda to hold the 33rd World Cooperative Congress on the theme of ‘Deepening our Cooperative Identity’. The Congress, which takes place in Seoul, Korea and online from December 1-3, 2021, explored the implications of the Statement on the Cooperative Identity in today’s complex global environment and will mark the start of an intensive examination of the Statement.

This document is intended to support a review of the three components of the Statement on the Cooperative Identity—the definition of a cooperative, the ten values that undergird the cooperative business model, and the seven cooperative principles—and to open a continuing global dialogue on the relevance of cooperatives and the applicability of the cooperative principles in the remainder of the 21st century.