The International Co-operative Alliance is at a crossroads to its future as it welcomes a new president, Argentina’s Ariel Guarco.
The Alliance is also quickly approaching the end of its Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade, which called on cooperatives to be the fastest-growing business model by 2020. Whether that target has been or will be reached has not been realized yet. But an influential figure in co-op circles has called on the Alliance to be bold and affirm a post-2020 strategy.
Ahead of the election of the Alliance’s new board and president during last month’s General Assembly in Malaysia, Jean-Louis Bancel, president of Co-operatives Europe and president/executive vice-chair of Crédit Coopératif, said it is “necessary to launch a new phase” of the organization and a review of the mission/objective of the board.
Ben Reid, chief executive of Midcounties Co-op and an Alliance board director, agreed. In a series of questions to board members from Bancel, Reid said, “At the moment we spend the majority of our time inwardly focused, which feels like a lost opportunity, given the quality that sits around the board table.”
He added, “The timing for a review feels right. We will have a new president, new board and indeed a new director-general. There could not be a more opportune moment to review how we operate and establish policies and procedures that will underpin our drive forward to create a more inclusive and effective ICA.”
So what is this new direction for the Alliance? Bancel believes the movement should focus on “the better world” that co-ops declare they want to build. In particular, he believes the aims of UN’s Sustainable Development Goals should be adopted by the international cooperative movement.