The annual Congress of the Mondragon family of cooperative businesses took place on Monday this week in San Sebastián – or, to give it its proper Basque name as we should, Donostia. 650 delegates were there, from across the whole range of cooperatives, to hear the incoming General Council president Javier Sotil call for Mondragon to reinforce its commitment to cooperative values but also to focus on running profitable and sustainable businesses.
The delegates welcomed Sareteknika, which provides after-sales servicing for domestic appliances, as a new member cooperative of the federation and approved the corporate budget for the coming year. They also discussed “The Mondragon of the future”, a document which has been prepared over recent months partly in response to the collapse of Fagor Electrodomésticos a year ago, the first failure of a federated Mondragon cooperative. (My Guardian story covering that event is here.)
Introducing “The Mondragon of the future”, Sotil stressed the need to be both a ‘cooperative enterprise’ and a ‘competitive enterprise’, operating successfully throughout the world. The need he said is for strong solidarity mechanisms between Mondragon companies and better early-warning of trading difficulties.
“The Mondragon of the future” strategic document now goes to member cooperatives for further discussion, before being discussed again at the 2015 Congress.