Mondragon congress debates its future strategy

The Mondragon Corporation, the federal body of the autonomous cooperatives in the Mondragon family, held its annual congress last week in the Basque city of Donostia (San Sebastián). The federation’s President Javier Sotil gave an upbeat account of Mondragon’s progress, reporting that in 2015 the group had created 1,300 new posts. A new coop, engaged in the delivery of residential services, joined the federation.

The most interesting part of the event for those of us outside looking in was the discussion of the progress of Mondragon’s strategic review, launched after the failure of the white goods cooperative Fagor Electrodomésticos in 2013, a very painful experience for the cooperative group. The review, entitled Mondragon of the Future, was first discussed at the 2014 congress. As far as I’m aware documents are not yet public, but Mondragon has had task groups working on developing proposals in three areas and their proposals are now being discussed at individual cooperative level.

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The first issue being addressed relates to Mondragon’s cooperative values and principles, with the aim of reinforcing them and encouraging a culture of ‘self-reliance and responsibility, solidarity, social transformation and cooperation between cooperatives’. The second is concerned with Mondragon’s organizational structure and on ways in which the various Mondragon coops can improve their competitive trading position. The third part of the strategy looks at the way that the financial framework behind the Mondragon federation can be structured – or in other words how much the cooperatives themselves contribute to the central pot.

“We are now in the phase of consulting with the cooperatives. After that, with the feedback received, we will draw up the final reports, to be delivered, debated and agreed at the 2016 Congress,” Javier Sotil told the 650 delegates. Congress next year may be held during the Summer, he added.

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