GUELPH, ON, March 7, 2012 /CNW/ - Today, The Co-operators announced a pledge of $500,000 to the Global Development Co-operative (GDC). Unveiled in November as the United Nations officially launched the International Year of Co-operatives, the GDC was designed to provide much-needed financing to co-operatives in the developing world.
Co-ops' role in contributing to social and economic development in communities around the world is acknowledged by the UN in the theme for 2012, Co-operative Enterprises Build a Better World. However, they often have little access to funding through traditional lenders and often have limited collateral to put forward.
The GDC is a new entity guided by co-operative principles, which was developed by the UK's The Co-operative Bank and the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), which represents the global co-operative sector. Its goal is to raise US$50 million in order to provide low-cost loans for capital and infrastructure projects to co-operatives in developing countries. The GDC now has the backing of a number of co-operative businesses from around the world.
"The Global Development Co-operative is an innovative way of allowing co-ops around the globe to support those in the developing world that play such important roles in bolstering sustainable economic development in their communities," said Kathy Bardswick, President and CEO of The Co-operators. "This will be an important legacy of the International Year of Co-operatives, which will empower people and help them lift themselves out of poverty for a long time after 2012."
Dame Pauline Green, President of ICA, said: "We're delighted The Co-operators is supporting the Global Development Co-operative and joining other members to help communities in the developing world. With the global movement now working closer together than ever before as a result of the international year, we believe many other businesses from across the movement will want to play a part in this initiative."
The ICA estimates that the global co-operative sector has one billion members - one-seventh of the world's population - and accounts for 100 million jobs. Canada's 9,000 co-ops operate in virtually every sector of the economy, have a combined membership of 18 million and employ 150,000 people. All co-operatives are guided by a set of seven principles. The GDC is an example of the sector living up to the Sixth Principle: Co-operation among Co-operatives.
About The Co-operators:
The Co-operators Group Limited is a Canadian-owned co-operative with more than $40 billion in assets under administration. Through its group of companies it offers home, auto, life, group, travel, commercial and farm insurance, as well as investment products. The Co-operators is well known for its community involvement and its commitment to sustainability. The Co-operators is ranked #1 among the 50 Best Corporate Citizens in Canada by Corporate Knights, and listed among the 50 Best Employers in Canada. As a proud member and supporter of the co-operative sector, The Co-operators is pleased to celebrate 2012: The International Year of Co-operatives. For more information visit www.cooperators.ca.