2012 Int’l Summit of Cooperatives concludes in QuebecSouce:Xinhua Publish By Thomas Whittle Updated 12/10/2012 12:02 pm in World / no comments
OTTAWA, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) — The 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives ended in Quebec City Thursday with a declaration that coops and mutual businesses represent a social, human and economic global powerhouse and play a significant role in the global economy while ensuring a sustainable development.
Despite trying economic conditions, the cooperative movement has been able to sustain jobs and companies of all sizes, said Dame Pauline Green, president of the International Co-operative Alliance.
Nearly 2,800 participants from 91 countries gathered in the capital city of the Canadian province of Quebec for the summit to look at ways of socio-economic contributions coops make to communities around the world.
“With Spain’s youth unemployment rate at 53 percent and 25 million young people unemployed across the eurozone, and with 17, 000 children dying every day from hunger-related causes in the developing world, the cooperative movement wants to get behind the plans of Jim Yong Kim, the World Bank’s new chief, to end poverty by promoting private-sector partnerships and ensuring the benefits are shared throughout a developing society,” said Green in a statement.
She explained that over the last four years, more than one million people around the world have moved their bank accounts from the commercial sector to cooperatives, which are owned by nearly one billion people on the planet, employing over 100 million people.
Green said “widespread disenchantment with the corporate business sector and the political status quo as demonstrated by the Occupy Wall Street and Arab Spring movements” has placed the cooperative-enterprise model in the global spotlight.
During the conference, former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright told delegates that cooperatives are “vehicles of socially constructed values” that are passed onto future generations, which is why coops “must have a long-term vision for development.”
The summit was also marked by the release of several studies on coops.
One, by the University of Sherbrooke in Quebec, found that the 300 largest cooperatives and mutuals represent the world’s largest democracy and ninth largest economy, generating nearly 2 trillion U.S. dollars in revenues.
Another study, conducted by the University of Quebec in Montreal and market research firm, Ipsos, found that consumers often consider coops as serving the agriculture sector and rural localities and that these business models are rarely technologically advanced, according to the feedback received from more than 200 people who participated in focus groups in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Japan and Argentina this past May.
While coops have a unique approach to balancing conventional profit goals with broader principles, they must demonstrate they are equipped to thrive in a rapidly growing economy, concluded a study by Ernst & Young.
Meanwhile, a study by Deloitte found the world’s largest coops are using a more diverse array of funding options and pursuing the use of non-traditional funding instruments.
Only 35 percent of those surveyed said they planned to use member capital as an equity lever in the future compared to 50 percent today. Fifty-three percent are planning to issue equity instruments to external investors compared to 38 percent today, while funding via international debt markets is set to grow from 24 percent to 53 percent.
Summit organizers indicated a second global meeting could be held in 2014.
The United Nations declared 2012 the International Year of Co- operatives.