MANCHESTER, England, Nov. 1, 2011 /CNW/ - To mark the United Nations'
(UN) International Year of Cooperatives 2012, the worldwide cooperative
movement today (1 November) launched a new initiative designed to
provide much needed finance to cooperatives in developing countries.
The Global Development Cooperative (GDC) aims to support cooperative
businesses in developing countries by raising $50m to provide access to
low cost loans for capital and infrastructure projects. It will target
investors with an interest in international development and extending
the reach and benefits of the cooperative model.
The GDC was unveiled at a special ceremony in New York last night for
leaders from many of the largest 300 cooperatives in the world
organised by the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) which
represents the global movement. It is the first time these individuals
have been brought together and marked the launch of the International
Year by the UN.
The Year recognises the role the cooperative business model has played
in improving social and economic development in communities across the
world by creating and sustaining jobs and reducing poverty.
However, funding for such businesses is often scarce because traditional
lenders are either not active in this market, do not sufficiently
understand the cooperative business model, or because businesses have
limited collateral to put forward.
The new investment concept has been developed by the UK's The
Co-operative Bank - part of the world's largest consumer cooperative -
and the ICA.
Amongst those who have pledged support to the initiative are the All
China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives, Credit
Cooperatif of France and IFFCO of India. Mid-Counties Co-operative as
well as The Co-operative Bank from the UK have also committed support.
Paul Flowers, Chairman of the Global Development Cooperative*, said:
"Against a backdrop of a financial crisis exacerbated by corporate
greed and speculation, the cooperative model has proved to be one of
the most enduring and successful ways of running a business for the
last 150 years.
"Despite the tough economic times, cooperative members across the world
want the movement to maintain support for international development.
It's important we use our influence to support communities across the
Dame Pauline Green, President of the ICA, said: "This initiative is a
clear illustration of one of the founding principles of the movement -
self help among cooperatives.
"It will ensure that a positive and long-lasting legacy will remain from
the International Year, helping thousands of co-operators in the
developing world. It will also continue our work to develop
sustainable member-owned enterprises, and embed civil society across
"We urge those with an interest in furthering social and economic
development in developing countries to support the GDC."
The International Year of Cooperatives aims to raise awareness of
cooperatives and seek ways to leverage their contribution to
socio-economic development and foster more supportive regulatory
The sector is estimated to have around 800 million members in over
100 countries and account for more than 100 million jobs around the
Anyone interested in finding out more about GDC should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors
*Paul Flowers is also chairman of The Co-operative Bank
A cooperative is defined as an autonomous voluntary association of
people who unite to meet common economic, social and cultural needs and
aspirations, through a jointly owned and democratically controlled
enterprise. The top 300 global cooperatives have a combined turnover of
About the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA)
The ICA is the global voice for the values-based business model of the
cooperative, uniting cooperatives worldwide and providing a forum for
knowledge and concerted action.
Further information is available at http://www.ica.coop and http://www.2012.coop
About The Co-operative Group
The Cooperative Group is the UK's largest mutual business, owned by
almost six million consumers. It has business interests in food
retailing financial services funerals and farming. It has over 5,000
trading outlets, employs 110,000 people and an annual turnover of
Further information is available at http://www.co-operative.coop
SOURCE Co-operative Bank
For further information:
Kirsten Plonner, Weber Shandwick, Telephone: +1-212-445-8381, Email: email@example.com; Andy Hammerton, Andy.Hammerton@cfs.coop; +44(0)161-903-3835