Achieving sustainable development for all through cooperative ownership and participation

On the eve of the International Cooperative Day, CICOPA, the voice of worker, social and artisans’ cooperatives, wishes to underline the large potential of social inclusion of those cooperatives as a result of their ownership and participation pattern, which is inherent to their mission. This capacity to include people goes hand in hand with equal redistribution of wealth and the fight against poverty, which are essential elements to achieve sustainable development for all. That is to say: cooperatives help integrate individuals socially and economically into society.

4 July 2014

In the document “The Future We Want”, adopted in 2012 at the United Nations Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, the vital role played by a “dynamic, inclusive, well-functioning, socially and environmentally responsible private sector” was recognized as a valuable instrument offering “a crucial contribution to economic growth and reducing poverty and promoting sustainable development”. Cooperatives, one of the key components of the private sector, are particularly well-adapted to meet these objectives because their identity and functioning rely on two key and inter-related concepts: namely the involvement of producers, consumers, users or workers who are member-co-owners of their cooperatives on the one hand, and concern for the surrounding community on the other. Indeed, these key stakeholders logically tend to opt for enterprise strategies which respond to local community needs that the cooperative aims to satisfy.

In this respect, it must be underlined that cooperatives from the 10 biggest world economies generate an aggregate turnover slightly lower than the GDP of Italy, they amass a membership of at least 15% of the world’s adult population and are fundamental actors in development. In particular, industrial, artisanal and service producers’ cooperatives directly contribute to development through the creation and maintenance of long-term and locally-embedded jobs and economic activities as well as providing community services such as health, social or education.

Today, as part of the answer to the UN Post-2015 Development Agenda, CICOPA is publishing the results of the study “Cooperatives as builders of sustainable
development”, showing the state-of-the-art of worker, social and artisans’ cooperatives in contributing to sustainable development. The document concludes that equal wealth creation and redistribution resulting from stable jobs and an equitable access to goods and services should be among the main goals to achieve sustainable development. CICOPA underlines that the promotion and development of cooperatives should be pursued in the Post-2015 Development Agenda and applied in all UN Member States, together with the strong developmental role of cooperatives which was recognised last year by the UN General Assembly Resolution 68/133. Download the report “Cooperatives as builders of sustainable development”, launched by CICOPA today here

This year, the cooperative movement is celebrating its International Day on the theme “Cooperative enterprises achieve sustainable development for all”. Read the messages of the International Cooperative Alliance and the address by United Nations at the occasion of the 2014 International Cooperative Day.

International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and
Service Producers' Cooperatives

Secretariat: C/O European Cooperative House - avenue Milcamps 105
1030 Brussels, Belgium
Tel: +32 2 543 1033, fax: +32 2 543 1037
E-mail: cicopa[at]

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