The cooperative world in 2014

The folk at the European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprise who each year labour to produce the World Co-operative Monitor have taken advantage of the Quebec coop summit to launch the 2014 edition there today.

The Monitor is best known for bringing together turnover data on the largest 300 coops and mutuals in the world, and the league tables at the back are likely to be the part of the report which most readers turn to. The Monitor also includes, as it did last year, a set of short profiles of a selection of coops from different parts of the world which help put some colour into what might otherwise be a dry document.

I wonder how many of the companies listed in the league tables might be embarrassed to find that they’re there – or in other words, how many businesses with cooperative or mutual structures there are who don’t identify at all with the cooperative movement.  Certainly the top twenty companies by turnover include quite a fair number of firms (including for example some mutual insurers and agricultural coops) who seem happy to hide their roots.

But maybe the loss is theirs, not ours.  Because it’s interesting how coops and mutuals are increasingly beginning to realise that the public might actually like the fact that they are not a standard plc.



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