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Co-ops are a global phenomenon

Published date: August 2017


By Pat Moral

A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically-controlled enterprise (ICA).

We are an independent co-operative and the only telecoms provider member-owned in the UK. People often assume that we are part of The Co-operative Group or Midcounties Co-operative when we are an independent society.

In fact, in the UK alone, there are nearly 7,000 co-operatives that contribute over £36 billion a year to the UK’s economy. These figures are even more impressive if we look at the global picture: over 1 billion people are members of co-operatives worldwide.

Co-ops around the world

There are over 2.6 million co-operatives in the world with around 1 billion members. Some interesting facts are (source ICA):
Paraguay – over 51% of people prefer co-operatives to other banks, according to a survey conducted by Next Consultora and Nauta.  The survey also discovered that women prefer to bank with financial co-operatives, while men tend to open accounts with plc banks – I wonder if that is a worldwide phenomenon? Source: Instituto Nacional de Cooperativismo, INCOOP.

In Canada - four of every ten Canadians are members of at least one co-operative. In Quebec, approximately 
70% of the population are co-op members, while in Saskatchewan 56% are members. Source: Co-operative 
Secretariat, Government of Canada.  

In Malaysia, 6.78 million people or 27% of the total population are members of co-operatives. Source: 
Ministry of Entrepreneur and Co-operative Development, Department of Co-operative Development, Malaysia.
In Norway out of a population of 4.8 million people, 2 million are members of co-operatives. Source: The Co-operative Centre of Norway.

In Spain - 15% of the population or 6.7 million people are members of a co-operative. Source: 
CIRIEC, Las grandes cifras de la economía social.

Reimagine the economy. 

Co-operatives UK - the network for Britain’s thousands of co-operative businesses – has produced a very insightful video about the co-operative economy in 2017:



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