SOURCE: National Cooperative Business Association

National Cooperative Business Association

October 31, 2011 10:28 ET

On UN Launch of International Year of Cooperatives, NCBA's Hazen Says Co-Ops Build Communities

US Cooperative Community Prepared to Demonstrate That "Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World"

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Oct 31, 2011) - National Cooperative Business Association, a membership association representing cooperatives in the United States, applauds the United Nations designation of the International Year of Cooperatives in the year 2012. By working together through cooperative enterprise, people are finding solutions to the serious problems of our day. Cooperative enterprise offers a social and economically empowering way of doing business.

The International Year designation provides an opportunity for cooperatives globally to come together and to raise awareness of their way of doing business. The theme for the International Year is "Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World." Cooperatives are successful, values-based businesses that are owned and democratically controlled by their members -- the people who use the co-op's services or buy its goods.

"Through cooperatives, people come together to meet business and social needs," said NCBA President and CEO Paul Hazen. "They contribute positively to the US economy, bringing jobs to communities, and the wealth generated remains within those communities. The values of self-help and self-responsibility yield sustainable solutions to economic and social problems," he continued.

In 2010, the top 100 cooperatives generated nearly $194 billion in revenue, according to the Co-op100 report, issued by NCB each October.

To commemorate today's official launch, Hazen and more than 100 CEOs and Presidents of some of the world's largest cooperatives will gather in New York City for the official launch and to consider how to create the conditions that ignite the growth of cooperative enterprise throughout the decade. These leaders come from all sectors of the economy, including banking, credit, insurance, housing, health, retail and agriculture.

"Consumers have lost trust in the traditional banking system and are joining cooperative banks and credit unions, a type of cooperative, because they trust them," said International Cooperative Alliance Director-General Charles Gould. "The demand for this type of banking indicates that consumers want businesses that put their needs first." The International Co-operative Alliance is the global voice for the values-based business model of the cooperative, uniting cooperatives worldwide and providing a forum for knowledge and concerted action.

According to the latest Global300 report, released today and prepared by the International Co-operative Alliance, the world's largest 300 cooperatives generate revenues of USD 1.6 trillion -- equal to the GDP of the world's ninth largest economy. Cooperatives operate in all sectors and in all regions of the world -- from agriculture to banking from health to housing and from transport to consumer retail.

"What's ironic about cooperatives is that they are everywhere. They are part of everyone's daily life, but until you stop and look at their scope and effectiveness you don't realize that this values-based business model is what people have been yearning for and what governments need in order to support and solve many of these international crises that we face today," said ICA President Dame Pauline Green. "In these economic hard times when financial institutions are failing, credit unions and banking cooperatives have been able to weather the storms. For the world's economies and the public that invests their money, this is of critical importance."

The events at the United Nations begin with a roundtable discussion involving some of the world's cooperative leaders, Maria Aranzazu Laskurain -- Secretary General of Mondragon (turnover USD 23 bn); Li Chengyu -- President of the All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Cooperatives and Piet Moerland, Chairman of Rabobank (turnover USD 43 bn).

After the roundtable, Dame Pauline will deliver an address to the United Nations General Assembly. In her address, she will emphasize the important role that cooperatives play in global sustainable development and financial stability.

On November 1, leaders of some of the world's largest cooperatives meet at the ICA Leadership Forum in New York to identify the conditions needed to incite dramatic growth and make cooperative enterprise the fastest-growing business model by the end of the decade. Hosted by Dame Pauline, delegates will receive keynote presentations from Peter Marks, CEO of the Cooperative Group, UK (turnover USD 15 bn) and Monique Leroux, President and CEO of Desjardins Group, Canada (turnover USD 9 bn).

The full agenda of the launch can be accessed here: http://civimail.ica.coop/node/16. More information on the global observance of the International Year of Cooperatives is available at www.2012.coop. To learn more about the US observance, visit http://usa2012.coop/.

NCBA is working with ICA and the World Council of Credit Unions to promote the International Year of Cooperatives. WOCCU is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions, which promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services.

ABOUT NCBA
Founded in 1916, the National Cooperative Business Association is the national voice for cooperative enterprise in the United States and has a mission to develop, advance and protect cooperative business. NCBA provides a strong, unified voice on Capitol Hill and diligently works with lawmakers to enact legislation that supports the development and growth of cooperatives. NCBA's comprehensive programs help co-ops strengthen their businesses so they can better serve their members and transform the global economy. NCBA also creates connections across all sectors of the nation's more than 29,000 cooperative businesses, including agriculture, food distribution and retailing, childcare, credit unions, purchasing, worker-owned, housing, healthcare, energy and telecommunications cooperatives. NCBA's CLUSA International Program has helped develop cooperatives and other sustainable businesses in over 100 countries since 1953. CLUSA currently implements 23 projects in 10 countries. In the 2012, cooperatives around the world will celebrate the International Year of Cooperatives. Cooperative enterprises build a better world. To learn more about NCBA, please visit www.ncba.coop.

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