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Improvement in the economic situation among cooperatives in industry and services from non-European countries, according to a worldwide study

25 January 2013 [ English ] français ]

A study produced by CICOPA, the International Organisation of Industrial, Artisanal and Service Producers’ Cooperatives, reveals a stable or even improved economic situation among non-European affiliated enterprises, compared with the previous years. This contrasts with the general downturn reported in production and sales among European cooperatives active in industry and services, even though these groups have generally reported a higher level of resilience and adaptation to change compared to other types of enterprises. The study represents a qualitative analysis on the economic situation of cooperatives and worker-owned enterprises in industry, services and crafts throughout the world.

Whereas for extra European members a downturn in production, sales and employment seem to be negligible and in any case strictly linked to specific national contextual factors (as in the case of Colombia and Uganda), the serious European economic crisis is the combined result of global and regional factors.

On the other hand, this work also suggests that cooperatives across the world are faced with a common challenge to make their specific model and values more widely recognized. The organisations ask for a more favourable legal framework, especially with regard to access to finance and fair competition with other types of business. Stronger support for SMEs in general is widely sought-after as well, with specific programmes for financing cooperative start-ups, solutions to overcome late payment problems, facilitating measures for business transfer to employees and the internationalisation of cooperatives.

The report is based on the results of the successive surveys carried out since 2009 in order to gauge measures put in place by CICOPA members in response to the economic crisis which flared up in 2008. Given the huge diversity between the various regional and sub-regional contexts, CICOPA decided to launch a new consultation in 2011, specifically targeted at the extra European CICOPA members with the aim of assessing the general economic situation of their affiliated enterprise. The analysis also incorporates the findings of the study “The resilience of the cooperative model” released by CECOP-CICOPA Europe, the regional organisation of CICOPA at European level, in June 2011 in the framework of the International Year of Cooperatives. A more in-depth CICOPA Annual Report for 2012, aimed at providing more information on worker, social and artisans’ cooperatives at the world level, will be published in the first quarter of 2013.

You can read the full report here (available also in Spanish and French): http://www.cicopa.coop/IMG/pdf/raport_cicopa_2012_en_v06.pdf