2012 is a landmark year for the co-operative movement, with hundreds of years worth of effort being recognised by the United Nations with the International Year of Co-operatives. It would be easy to see this just as a celebration for the movement, an opportunity to (justifiably) celebrate all that is great and good about co-operation and the co-operative model of enterprise. The International Co-operative Association (ICA) is committed to fully exploiting the opportunities 2012 will present, using the recognition as a springboard to launch initiatives, not just to reflect and rest on their laurels.

One of the key policy areas for the ICA in 2012 is placing the co-operative model of enterprise in a modern context, one that reflects the history and successes of it and also defines the model in terms of its key features. Co-operatives are one of the most misunderstood forms of enterprise in the world (referred to as the “Invisible Giant” in our office!) and the ICA seeks to address this lack of knowledge by defining a co-operative in terms of three key metrics:

  1. Co-operatives are a serious business model
  2. Co-operatives are values-based
  3. Co-operatives are member controlled

These concepts might seem obvious to those within the movement but we  must realise that much confusion still abides amongst policy makers and the general public conerning what a co-operative actually is and how it functions. At CETS we hope to contribute to the ICAs educational aim by producing a set of resources that define and explain co-operatives using the ICAs metrics.

2012 is the perfect opportunity for the co-operative movement to raise public awareness of co-operatives through principle 5.

Charles Gould, Director-General of the ICA discussess 2012 and the ICAs hopes for the year.

“Co-operative enterprises build a better world”