The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and the European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises (Euricse) published the 2019 World Cooperative Monitor last week. The report explores the economic and social impact of the largest cooperatives and mutuals worldwide, providing a ranking of the Top 300, sector rankings, and an analysis of contributions to meeting the objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This edition of the World Cooperative Monitor collects data for 4,575 cooperatives and mutuals (1,152 from Europe, 3,218 from the Americas, 197 from Asia-Pacific, and 8 from Africa) across 10 sectors of activity. The Top 300 cooperatives and mutuals report a total turnover of over $2 trillion USD, based on 2017 financial data.
The world’s top 300 cooperatives and mutuals operate in various economic sectors, but this year’s results show a larger presence of the insurance sector in the Top 300: insurance is 39 percent; agriculture 31.7 percent; wholesale and retail trade 17.7 percent; banking and financial services 7 percent; industry and utilities 1 percent; and health, education and social care 1 percent. New this year is data on employment and cooperative types.
This year’s results show the largest cooperatives performing well, with only slight variations in the top positions across the sectors. In the Top 300 ranking based on turnover, Groupe Crédit Agricole and Groupe BPCE, both from France, are placed first and second respectively as they did last year, third is the German REWE Group. And in the Top 300 based on the ratio of turnover over gross domestic product (GDP) per capita ranking, two Indian producer cooperatives reach the second and third positions: Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Limited and IFFCO.
A focus on Inclusive and Sustainable Economic Growth
This year’s report has a special analysis of how the Top 300 contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal #8—Inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all. Three cases in particular related to SDG 8 are explored in depth within the report: Up Groupe (France), KRIBHCO (India), and SOK (Finland). Along with this analysis, the section also includes an interview with the CICOPA Secretary General Diana Dovgan. The contribution to the SDGs and the importance of the World Cooperative Monitor were mentioned by UN Secretary-General António Guterres during the 74th session of the UN General Assembly, held in New York in September 2019.
“This new edition of the World Cooperative Monitor goes beyond the Top 300 ranking based on turnover to further explore the dynamics of the cooperative movement,” said Bruno Roelants, Director-General of the ICA. “In this year’s report, we see concrete examples of specific action undertaken by some of the largest cooperatives around the world.”
Gianluca Salvatori, Euricse Secretary General, highlighted the need for cooperatives to embrace and communicate a strategy for sustainable development that provides an “effective alternative to the mainstream shareholder model.”
He added, “In fact, the more organizations participate in reporting initiatives that enable the collection of reliable and internationally comparable data, the more research and analysis can be done to demonstrate the social and economic impact of cooperatives.”