The report on the World Cooperative Congress outcomes is out!

17 May 2022

The International Cooperative Alliance has released its report on the World Cooperative Congress outcomes, which took place in Seoul, the Republic of Korea, on 1-3 December 2021.

Written by Ann Hoyt, Professor Emerita at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the report summarises the discussions that took place at Congress under the theme of ‘Deepening our cooperative identity’. The ICA plans to make a full-fledged report on Congress during the second part of the year. The Congress outcomes report will be one piece of the overall report.

These were centred on four sub-themes related to examining, strengthening, committing to, and living the cooperative identity. The sessions related to examining the cooperative identity explored a range of issues, including advertising, governance, education, heritage and partnerships with governments, and the cooperative marque.

The conversations carried out under the second sub-theme of strengthening the cooperative identity included ethical value chains, entrepreneurial innovation and networks, capital needs, sustainable development and digital technology.

The sessions on committing to the cooperative identity focused on efforts to address climate change, promote peace, self-help and solidarity, drive social cohesion and equality, and support local communities, including those most vulnerable in society.

On the last day, Congress discussed living the cooperative identity, with a focus on employment, food security, health care, housing, energy, and multilateral cooperation with the Social and Solidarity Economy (SSE).

Consistent themes were woven through the discussions based on the challenges facing the international cooperative movement. These included climate change, sustainability, inclusivity, new technologies, capital resources, ethical value chains, work life, organisational collaborations, positive peace, multilateralism, and research, training and education.

The discussions produced several recommendations for action. While delegates wanted to keep the core elements of the cooperative identity, some said it should engage more firmly with global challenges such as climate change. Other proposals included a new principle of inclusion and equity, increasing the cooperative brand’s visibility, aligning with consumers’ social, environmental, and cultural identities, fostering legislation and government policies that recognise co-ops, developing targets and metrics to demonstrate the sector’s contribution to the SDGs, and providing funding, capacity building, and technical assistance for cooperatives.

The report on Congress outcomes is available here.

Watch the Webinar on the Global Consultation on the Cooperative Identity here!