Magazine article New Internationalist

How CO-OPS Are Building a Better World

Magazine article New Internationalist

How CO-OPS Are Building a Better World

Article excerpt

This is the UN International Year of Co-operatives. It couldn't have come at a better time. Co-ops offer an alternative way of doing business where profits are enjoyed collectively, not just by a small group of shareholders. They can be small, local businesses or huge global companies.

THE WORLD'S TOP 300 CO-OPERATIVES

In 2008 the world's largest 300 co-operatives had revenues of $1 .6 trillion, about the same as Canada's GDP last year.

GOOD JOBS

Number of co-op jobs globally:

100 million

20% more than multinationals.

2,000,000 in US

288,500 in Indonesia

1,000,000 in France

250,000 in Kenya

233,000 in Argentina

TYPES OF CO-OPERATIVES

PRODUCER Run by people like farmers, taxi drivers and fishers who provide similar goods and services. They can club together to buy supplies or market their businesses.

CONSUMER Provide goods and services to their members/owners. Can be huge or very small; anything from co-op supermarkets, housing coops or small-scale food co-ops.

WORKER Fire the boss! Often small businesses like print shops, daycare, or small manufacturing that are owned and managed by their employees.

FINANCIAL SERVICES Entities like credit unions and insurance co-ops offer banking, investment and insurance services to their members. …

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