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Co-ops prove more resilient through financial crisis, turnover reaches USD 2 trillion
World Co-operative Monitor launched at Co-operatives United
Manchester, United Kingdom. 31 October 2012; The global co-operative sector defied a general business trend and grew on average through the heights of the Global Financial Crisis, according to a new scientific report published today on the occasion of Co-operatives United.
The inaugural World Co-operative Monitor, ranking the 300 largest co-operative and mutual enterprises by turnover and collecting data on all sizes of co-operatives across the globe in categories, was launched today in Manchester by its partners the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) and The European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises (EURICSE).
“This new data demonstrates that not only do co-operatives have significant scale, but that this scale is sustainable even in the face of difficult global economic conditions,” said Charles Gould, ICA Director-General. “More than this, with USD 2 trillion in annual revenue among the 300 largest co-operatives alone, this is a sector that is no side-player, but a major, global, economic force.”
“This is only the first step in achieving the final goal of the World Co-operative Monitor. In fact, the World Co-operative Monitor will not be limited to this – its main goal is to give visibility to the largest co-operatives, in terms of economic and/or social impact, in their countries,” said Gianluca Salvatori, CEO of Euricse. “The World Co-operative team, therefore, intends to gradually collect data that can describe how the largest co-operatives in the world contribute to the welfare of the countries in which they operate in terms of employment, facilities, etc.”
These top 300 co-operative and mutual enterprises accounted for USD 1,975.6 billion (USD 2.0 trillion) in turnover of which USD 158,7 billion is derived from the banking and financial services sector and USD 977,2 billion from the insurance sector.
The World Co-operative Monitor is an ICA initiative with the scientific collaboration of Euricse and is a continuation of the work begun by the ICA through its Global 300 list.
“We aim at developing a more comprehensive scientific project. This is the first “exploratory” version. Our goal is a ranking based not only on turnover, but on numbers of members and employees, and impact in social terms,” said Mr Salvatori. “The idea behind this new project is to define a new process of data collection, integration, and analysis, culminating in the creation of a regularly updated database containing economic, but also employee and other social data, to monitor and demonstrate not only the economic, but also the social impact of the largest co-operatives worldwide.”
“Provisionally for this year, given the still limited availability of questionnaires, the rankings presented are purely economic in nature. The criterion adopted is the revenue that a company receives from its operating business activities, usually from the sale of goods and services to customers. The results are to be considered as exploratory, not exhaustive.”
The World Co-operative Monitor 2012 reports on 2010.
"At a time when the world is at risk of falling back into recession, this new data provides a great message for the general public: there is a way to pursue sustainable business and at scale," said Mr Gould.
The development of this new, statistical model for monitoring the size and health of the co-operative and mutual sector was overseen by a specially appointed steering committee of experts. The 13-member committee comprises experts including, from Japan, the head of the Robert Owen Association Akira Kurimoto; from Finland, Panu Kalmi, Professor of Economics at the University of Vaasa and member of the Academic Think-tank of the European Association of Co-operative Banks and Barry W. Silver, Executive Vice President at the National Cooperative Bank in Washington, DC, for over three decades in the Corporate Lending Division.
View an online version of the World Co-operative Monitor Explorative Report 2012