International Cooperative Day: "Cooperative enterprise remains strong in times of crisis"

Today, cooperative enterprises all around the world celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives, proclaimed by the United Nations and the International Cooperative Alliance. CICOPA, the International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and Service Producers’ Cooperatives, is joining the celebration by sharing the experience of those enterprises, which have been displaying a stronger resilience to the crisis compared to other types of enterprises: indeed, this year’s theme is “Cooperative enterprise remains strong in times of crisis”.

6 July 2013

In a crisis-hit country like Spain, despite more than six million people being unemployed, studies from the Spanish Confederation of Worker Cooperatives, COCETA confirm that the employment in worker cooperatives in 2012 has grown by 300% comparing with the previous year. It is also estimated that between 2007 and 2011, employment in Italian cooperatives has increased by 8%, compared with a decrease of 2.3% in all types of enterprises. Nowadays, cooperatives contribute to 7.2% of the total employment created by enterprises in Italy, and regarding the sectors of activity, the most significant contribution is in the service sector [1]. In France, the latest figures for 2012 reveal, a total of 248 new cooperatives have emerged. 82.5% of French worker cooperatives established three years ago are still pursuing their activities today (compared with 66% for all French companies, according to the French Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, INSEE) [2]

Not only have European cooperative enterprises shown a higher resilience to the crisis: a study [3] produced by CICOPA reveals a stable or even improved economic situation among those outside Europe, compared with the previous years (particularly in the USA, China, Argentina, Brazil, South Korea, Japan and Canada). The report is based on the results of the successive surveys carried out since 2009 in order to gauge measures put in place by CICOPA members in response to the economic crisis, which flared up in 2008.

The regional organisation of CICOPA in Europe, CECOP – CICOPA Europe, has recently made public several publications about cooperatives in industry and services analyzing their resilience to the crisis. 2012 study “The resilience of the cooperative model” [4] and the documentary “Together” [5] have revealed, through extensive research and exclusive interviews, why cooperatives in the industry and services sector show a higher resilience to the crisis and its consequences in Europe.

Today’s 19th UN International Day of Cooperatives is also the 91st International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) International Cooperative Day. Indeed, the first time that the ICA celebrated the International Day was in 1923. Since 1995, the ICA and the United Nations have been setting the theme for the celebration of the International Day through the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC).

[1According to the “Annual Report on Cooperation in Italy” published by the Alliance of Italian Cooperatives, 2012:

[2Les chiffres-clés”, CG Scop, French Federation of Worker Cooperatives:

[3“How have cooperatives active in industry and services performed at the global level?”, CICOPA, 2012:

[4The resilience of the cooperative model”, CECOP – CICOPA Europe, 2012:

[5« Together. How cooperatives show resilience to the crisis », CECOP – CICOPA Europe, 2012:

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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