QUEBEC CITY, Oct. 7, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - Day Two of the International Summit of Cooperatives was marked by the unveiling of a comprehensive, groundbreaking employment study by Bruno Roelants, Secretary General of the International Organisation of Industrial and Service Cooperatives (CICOPA). The Global Report on Cooperatives and Employment effectively quantifies the extent to which cooperatives act as economic drivers, providing 25% more jobs than multinationals.
According to the report, some 250 million people have jobs that are directly attributable to cooperatives. Of them, more than 15 million work within cooperatives themselves, 11 million are worker-members who have created their own cooperatives, and nearly 224 million are member-producers from sectors such as forestry, agri-food, etc.
"The cooperative business model doesn't know its own strength," says CICOPA Secretary General Bruno Roelants. "Not only is the cooperative sector growing, cooperatives are also an answer to endemic unemployment and a beacon of hope for unemployed young people all over the world."
The report provides plenty of fodder for discussion. According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), some 202 million people were jobless in 2013—up 5 million over the previous year—and the youth unemployment rate hit an all-time high of 13% globally. Says Monique F. Leroux, President and CEO of Desjardins Group and Summit co-host, "This study by CICOPA confirms that the cooperative business model is generating an unsuspected number of jobs worldwide: 250 million jobs, or one and a half times the active population of the 17 euro zone countries in 2010. In Quebec alone we're talking more than 92,000 direct jobs associated with cooperatives and mutuals."
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How will we feed 9 billion people in 2050?
Dame Pauline Green, President of the International Co-operative Alliance: "This year is the International Year of Family Farming and it is through agricultural co-operatives that small farmers are able to strengthen their bargaining power and livelihoods and to avoid being so vulnerable to price fluctuations. World Food Day is only around the corner and in keeping with the International Year's theme, family farming will be the focus. Smallholder farmers are the bedrock of good quality food production and it is essential that communities are able to provide adequate food for their own populations. This time last year, the International Co-operative Alliance signed a memorandum of understanding with the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) to empower agricultural co-operatives with yet a stronger negotiating position towards state partners, NGOs and agri-businesses. This agreement we hope will allow co-operatives to develop their enterprises in an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable way."
The food supply chain is part of a market that is becoming increasingly international. Attendees discussed alternatives offered by the cooperative business model to ensure food security in the North and South, limit land-grabbing, reduce speculation, and ready themselves to support the food supply over the long term with a view to sustainable prosperity. Cooperatives play a decisive role and will be integral to ensuring food security for all.
A better world according to the 2013 Nobel Prize winner in Economic Sciences
Robert J. Shiller, 2013 Nobel Co-Laureate and Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale University, gave a well-attended talk on best practices within business and finance for a better world. Attendees came away from Directing Business and Finance Towards Developing a Good Society with insight and solutions for organizations determined to make a positive contribution to society.
The Nobel co-laureate stressed the importance of improving oversight and regulation in the financial system, the 2008 crisis being a prime example of the abuses that can occur without appropriate rules. Mr. Schiller also called for greater democratization of finance, particularly through crowdfunding and benefit corporations—a model created in the United States in 2010. In closing, Mr. Schiller proclaimed the importance for cooperatives of continuing to innovate for a fairer global economy—what he calls a "good society."
Deloitte is part of the solution with The Solution Revolution
Co-author Paul Macmillan presented the broad outline of The Solution Revolution, ranked among the year's most notable books, including by The Washington Post and Business Digest. The Solution Revolution explores how public institutions and private enterprises are converging to form the "solution economy." Macmillan took the opportunity to explain how next-generation trendsetters are coming together to put the business world to work for social good.
The best of the private sector serving coops
The cooperative model has a lot to offer private sector businesses, but the opposite is also true. Applied Governance in the Cooperative Sector, a conference dinner facilitated by Yvan Allaire, Executive Chair of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Governance (IGOPP), shed light on a number of innovative private sector practices that could be of great benefit to cooperative businesses. Such practices include recruiting board members, shareholders' advisory vote on executive compensation, and the new rule in the United States requiring companies to disclose the ratio between their CEO's compensation and the company average.
First ever international TOP COOP contest
The International Summit of Cooperatives created the first communications competition for cooperatives and mutual businesses. The objective of this world-class competition was to showcase communications campaigns and initiatives that focus on the added value generated by cooperatives. A jury of 16 cooperative professionals had the difficult task of picking winners in the Advertising + Marketing, Mobilization + Involvement, and Interactive + New Media categories. A total of eight winners from six different countries stood out for the originality and quality of their work.
View the press release: sommetinter.coop
More to come tomorrow
The Summit will continue tomorrow with the unveiling of groundbreaking studies conducted by McKinsey & Company, Bain & Company, and the Guy-Bernier Chair in Cooperative Business. The International Co-operative Alliance will present the findings from the annual World Co-operative Monitor. David K. Foot, author and Professor of Economics at the University of Toronto, will give a presentation entitled Demographics, Cooperatives, and Innovation, which will use local and global data to demonstrate the influences of changing demographics on cooperative businesses everywhere.
About the 2014 International Summit of Cooperatives
Held at the initiative of Desjardins Group and the International Co-operative Alliance, the second International Summit of Cooperatives brings together managers of cooperative and mutual enterprises from around the world in Quebec City, Canada, from October 6 to 9. This international economic gathering's bold, ambitious themes will also garner the attention and interest of numerous world socioeconomic leaders and politicians.
SOURCE: 2014 International Summit of Cooperatives
Renseignements: Information (for journalists only): Mathieu Lavallée, Media Relations, International Summit of Cooperatives, Summit Press Room, +1-514-947-7628, +1-418 649-5232, firstname.lastname@example.org; Jan Schiettecatte, Director of Communications, International Co-operative Alliance, Summit Press Room, +1-418-953-0341, + 1-418-649-5232 email@example.com