30 Jun 2016
Distinguished guests, It is a great honor for me to be here at the United Nations in New York as we celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives.Today, by our presence at the United Nations, the cooperative movement is taking a pledge to contribute actively in reaching the UN’s goal to ensure a sustainable future for all of us.With our values and principles of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity, co-operatives are strong and lasting businesses that bring communities together.Cooperatives are created from a collective need making them true builders of sustainability as they help people reaching their aspirations and offer access to goods or services without exploitation. Cooperatives are significant economic and social actors. Across the world, there are more than: - 1 billion members of cooperatives.- 2.6 million cooperatives businesses that generate more than 3 trillion USD in annual revenues and creating more than 250 million jobs. In Canada, my home country, there is more than 18 million co-operative members and we count close to 155 000 jobs in Canada’s co-operative movement. According to the Financial Post magazine, La Coop fédérée based in Quebec is the 2nd most important agri-food business in Canada with more than 18 000 employees with 7,4 billion USD in annual revenues. The Desjardins Group, also based in Quebec, is the leading financial cooperative in Canada with more than 7 million members and clients, recognized by Bloomberg as being the most solid banking institution in North America.
Dear co-operators, dear partners,
- In Mongolia, agricultural cooperatives are a fundamental structure to ensure revenues for rural communities.
- In Brazil, agricultural cooperatives are involved in 50% of all agricultural trade and export 5.3 billion USD of their products to 143 countries. Also, 35% of all Brazilians with a health plan are served by health cooperatives.
- In Germany, 65% of the population is member of a cooperative, getting financial services, consumer goods and energy.
- In Sweden, cooperative members represent almost half of the population and the 100 largest cooperatives have annual revenues of more than 40 billion USD with more than 70 000 employees. Cooperatives have been at the center of economic and social development for many years providing food, housing, financial services and jobs to a large part of the Swedish population.
- In China, the All China Federation of Supply and Marketing to Farmers, represents and provides services to more than 85 million members and jobs to over 2 million employees.
- Cooperative economic success and democratic governance ensures that no one is left behind and therefore contributes to eradicating poverty.
- Cooperatives are instrumental to achieve food security and help end hunger by allowing farmers to produce more and better quality food through the power of the collective.
- Cooperatives help to empower women in the world, especially in countries where they are vulnerable. In particular, cooperatives provide women with employment opportunities, and contribute to financial inclusion and literacy efforts.
- Another example in the insurance sector is the project 5-5-5 launched by the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation. This global cooperative initiative aims to reach 5 million people in 5 countries for a total of 25 million uninsured low-income households that will be covered with micro-insurance plans for risk and resilience.