The social cooperative Ambiental (COSAM) was created in 2012 as an environmental service enterprise for the Comuna Canaria in Uruguay; it is specialized in trash collection, bin and public parks cleaning in the cities and hubs in the outskirts of La Paz, Las Piedras and Progeso. 210 000 people use their services.
A part of COSAM’s worker formerly worked for multinational providing environmental services, and the rest of the workers were employed through job or social rehabilitation programs. This creation of cooperative work has had an important sociopolitical impact in this zone: 73 individuals were rehabilitated in the social and productive network. Today, these people’s situation has been regularized; they pay their taxes, contribute to their family’s social security and keep their children in school. Out of the total of workers, 69 live in the Canaria department in Uruguay; this greatly impacts the level of local employment.
In its 3 years of life, the cooperative has tried to professionalize the work of cooperators, by supporting work on the practical sector in order to keep its best men and women within the organization, by working on operative, shared and self-management, by education new members year after year and teaching them the basis of cooperativism as well as its principles and values. The cooperative has proven that it is one of the strongest young cooperatives mainly due to its great economic management. Additionally, it is a pioneer in terms of environmental public services offered to a department’s municipality.
The municipality, the social development ministry, the cooperativism national institute (INACOOP) and the union Fuecys, the Uruguayan production cooperative federation have all helped COSAM along its journey and at different levels, from technical to political.
Organización Internacional de las Cooperativas de Producción
Industrial, Artesanal y de Servicios
Secretaría: C/O European Cooperative House - avenue Milcamps 105
1030 Bruselas, Bélgica
Tel: +32 2 543 1033, fax: +32 2 543 1037