Local cooperatives are the driving force of our great movement. Over the past few days, I have had a chance to visit Chinese, Japanese and Korean cooperatives. I see just how innovative and forward-looking the cooperative movement is, and that it has a real power to act while staying close to people and communities. I was especially impressed by the contribution that Japanese cooperatives made to rebuilding Fukushima in the wake of the 2011 disaster. The principle of “think globally, act locally” makes perfect sense and is at the heart of my beliefs.
I also had the pleasure of visiting the China E Coop Center during my stay in China. With a strong focus on innovation, this cooperative offers an electronic trading platform to members and consumers. After visiting the facilities, I saw and realized that the use of digital technology accelerates change, strengthens and promotes the connection between Chinese cooperatives and their members, and paves the way for new practices that have tangible benefits to offer to everyone. As mentioned during my discussions with Ms. Wang Xia, President of All-China Federation of Supply and Marketing Co-operatives, the digital wave forces us to rethink how we do things and how we should be interacting with our members.
The presence of National Agricultural Cooperative Federation (NACF) marketing centres in South Korea also speaks to the innovative power of cooperatives. With a multifrequency daily distribution system, the NACF adopts practices focused on a dynamic approach that help improve the social and economic status of its members and consumers, in addition to promoting balanced development of the national economy.
Asian cooperatives have truly embraced the digital revolution for the benefit of their members, consumers and communities. They are an example of innovation of which we can be proud!
Monique F. Leroux
International Co-operative Alliance