Organic Cotton Co-operatives Building A Better World
This year is International Year of Co-operatives
In 2009 the United Nations General Assembly declared 2012 the UN International Year of Co-operatives. The UN recognises the diversity of co-operatives around the world and encourages governments to create a supportive environment for their development.
The International Year of Co-operatives (IYC) celebrates a different way of doing business, where the members, who own and govern a business, collectively enjoy the benefits instead of all profits going just to shareholders.
Having an International Year of Co-operatives provides an opportunity to captivate the attention of national governments, the business community and, importantly, the general public on the advantages provided by the co-operative model.
The co-operative model is on track to become the fastest growing business model by 2020.
Co-operatives operate in a range of sectors – ranging from banking, credit, housing, health, retail, food, utilities and agriculture.
Co-operatives are owned by nearly one billion people across the globe.
Co-operatives employ nearly 100 million people – 20 percent more than multinational enterprises. For example: In Kenya, 63% of the population derive their livelihoods from co-operatives. Approximately 250,000 Kenyans are employed or gain most of their income from co-operatives. (Source: ILO, 2009). In the United States, 30,000 co-operatives provide more than 2 million jobs. (Source: National Co-operative Business Association).
Co-operatives promote the fullest possible participation in the economic and social development of all people, including women, youth, older persons, persons with disabilities and indigenous peoples.
Co-operatives innovate to meet the needs of their members, and may offer new products or services—ahead of competing businesses—because members ask for it.
Organic cotton co-operatives can be found in almost all organic cotton producing countries. A significant amount of organic cotton is produced within the co-operative business model.
Cooperation has always been a fundamental principle of the Fair Trade movement. This means almost all Fairtrade certified cotton comes from farmer co-operatives.
For more facts visit Co-operative facts & figures
Sustainability, Community and Co-operatives
Co-operatives are values based businesses owned by their members. Co-operatives provide a sustainable business model that supports the social and economic development of economies, communities, and individuals around the world.
Sustainability and co-operatives go hand-in-hand. In the video below Philippe Cousteau calls for a new economic model, necessary in a resource constrained world, to be rooted in co-operatives.
Philippe Cousteau, Keynote Speaker at the 2011 International Cooperative Alliance General Assembly in Cancun, Mexico on Friday, November 18, 2011
Coop Stories and Textile Exchange
Stories.coop is a section of the IYC website dedicated to storytelling. It aims at sharing the diversity of the co-operative enterprise model and to telling stories of successful co-operatives around the world. This global digital campaign provides an insight into a large cross-section of co-operative stories from around the globe. During each day of 2012 the IYC will feature a Story of the Day on their Homepage.
Textile Exchange will also be bringing you inspiring and personalised stories from the organic cotton cooperatives we work with. What better way to open than to share news from the Republic of Tajikistan, where the newly formalised ‘Bio Kishovarz Co-operative’ celebrates its new official ‘co-operative’ status.
Tajikistan, officially the Republic of Tajikistan, claimed independence in 1997. Since then the country has grown in stability and is building a trade economy, partly with the help of foreign aid. Mr Sherzod Abdurakhmano, Helvetas Swiss Intercooperation, tells us how a group of organic farmers have undergone their own ‘independence’ and moved from NGO dependency (and donor funding) in their early days to establishing their own stand-alone co-operative.
We will be regularly posting our stories in the Textile Exchange Farm Hub and at Stories.coop
By Liesl Truscott
Farm Engagement Director