A call to ‘disruptive capitalists and market agitators’ has been Social Business Australia’s call to action for the upcoming 2012 International Conference on Co-operatives 24-25 October at the Glasshouse, Port Macquarie, NSW.
We, the general public, tend to be quite ignorant of the amazing power and wealth of co-ops around the world.
Bank Mecu – Australia’s first customer-owned bank – has sent out the following quite fascinating info released from a study by the Institut de recherche et d’éducation pour les coopératives et les mutuelles de l’Université de Sherbrooke (IRECUS).
The study attempts to quantify the social and economic contribution of cooperatives and deals with three specific areas of contribution:
The total annual revenues of the world’s 300 largest co-operatives reach $1,926 billion – equivalent to the world’s 9th largest economy.
In Canada, four of six best corporate citizens are co-ops
40% of the largest 300 global cooperatives are more than 70 years old.
There is currently US$867.5 billion held in customer reserves, safe from speculation.
Japanese cooperatives were the first (and the primary ongoing) source of support for victims of the March 2011 tsnami
Co-operatives are active in meeting fundamental needs in the real (non-speculative) economy. The top five sectors are:
Co-operatives meet the needs of regional and remote populations – for example utility co-ops in Alaska villages, Maine islands or Nevada desert and 75% of French coops have their headquarters in a rural area.
As much as $66.4 billion are given back annually to members of the 300 largest co-operatives through pricing benefits.
With a billion members worldwide, the co-operative movement represents the world’s largest democracy.
In developing countries co-operatives play a crucial education role, providing learning in democratic processes, management, accounting and negotiation.
Many co-operatives also promote and protect cultural heritage in their communities, for example co-operatives in the First Nations of Quebec.
A more detailed summary of the report can be found on the Summit website.