Co-op World

Cooperatives are companies focused on common aspirations. They bring people together, democratically and equitably.

Our success lies in collaboration.

What is a cooperative?

"One member, one vote", the universal rule.

A cooperative is an association belonging to the members who use their services, and or work there. They are jointly owned and democratically managed by and for their members so that they can meet their everyday socioeconomic needs and aspirations.

Cooperatives can provide virtually any product or service. They are different from other enterprises because they use the proceeds for purposes that are identified by the board of directors and their memberships. Cooperatives exist in all sectors of the economy and can touch all aspects of our lives.
Cooperatives are democratically run using the "one member, one vote" rule. Members share the same voting rights regardless of the amount of capital they invest in the company.

As value-driven companies, not just for profit, cooperatives share internationally agreed principles and act together to build a better world through cooperation. By putting equity, equality and social justice at the heart of the enterprise, cooperatives around the world are enabling people to work together to create sustainable businesses that create jobs and long-term prosperity.

The history of cooperatives

The cooperative movement began in Europe in the 19th century, mainly in Britain and France.

The Shore Porters Society claims to be one of the first cooperatives in the world. It was established in Aberdeen, Scotland, in 1498.

The Industrial Revolution and the growing mechanisation of the economy transformed society and threatened the livelihoods of many workers. Labour movements, social movements and concurrent problems that tried to address the difficulties describe the climate at the time.

The first documented consumer cooperative was founded in 1769, in a small cottage in Fenwick, East Ayrshire, United Kingdom. The Fenwick Weave Society was formed when a group of local weavers brought a large sack of oats to the cottage room and began selling the contents at a discount.

In the decades that followed, several cooperatives or cooperative societies were forme. By 1830, there were several hundred cooperatives, some of which have thrived for nearly 190 years! In 1844, the Rochdale Society of Equal Pioneers established the "Rochdale Principles", which became the basis for the development and growth of the modern cooperative movement.

Rochdale Principles

International Cooperative Alliance (ICA). Geneva, 1995.


Any person may join a cooperative, without receiving any form of discrimination by either gender, social, racial, political or religious.


Members control the cooperative by deciding how it runs and who runs it.
According to the ICA Declaration on Cooperative Identity, "cooperatives are democratic organizations controlled by their members, who are, actively involved in the establishment of the policies and decision-making. Men and women acting as elected representatives are accountable to members. In primary cooperatives, members have equal voting rights; (one member, one vote), and, cooperatives are also organized democratically, at other levels."


The economic participation of members is one of the defining characteristics of cooperative societies and constitutes the third Rochdale Principle.
All members of the cooperative invest in their cooperative. This means that people, not shareholders, benefit from the profits.


The fourth Rochdale Principle establishes that cooperative societies must be autonomous and independent.
When they do business or raise money, cooperatives never compromise their autonomy or the democratic control of their members.


The fifth Rochdale Principle states that cooperative societies must provide education and training to their members and the public.


The sixth Rochdale Principle states that cooperatives cooperate with each other.
Cooperatives believe that working together is the best strategy to empower their members and build a stronger cooperative economy.


The seventh Rochdale Principle states that cooperative societies must care about their communities.
They contribute to the sustainable development of their communities through local recruitment and investment.

Global Digital Branding

What is the cooperative brand?

The global cooperative brand was launched in 2013 and was the first significant change in the visual identity of this movement in almost 100 years; an effort to increase the global visibility of the cooperative model, and show it with a contemporary and professional business appearance.

The objective was to create a new image that becomes the worldwide cooperative visual identity, which serves as a "promotional umbrella" and provides a "common objective" for the global movement.

The .coop domain extension

On the Internet, the ".coop" domain makes the difference between a cooperative and a private company. When you see ".coop" in an email or ".coop" on a website, everyone knows that you are dealing with a cooperative.

Today, thousands of cooperatives in more than 100 countries are benefiting from the use of a ".coop" domain and the cooperative brand.

Cooperative Numbers

At least 12% of people on earth collaborate in one of the 3 million cooperatives that exist globally. Cooperatives provide jobs or job opportunities to 10% of the employed population. The 300 cooperatives or major cooperative groups generate $1.1 billion in turnover while providing services and infrastructure society needs to thrive.

Cooperatives are companies based on ethics, values and principles. Through self-help and empowerment, reinvestment in their communities, and concern for the well-being of people and the world in which we live, cooperatives foster a long-term vision for sustainable economic growth, social development and environmental responsibility.

Cooperatives are not a marginal phenomenon: More than 1,000,000,000 citizens are part of the 3 million cooperatives in the world!

Each year they report millions of millions of dollars in billing.

Cooperatives contribute to sustainable economic growth and stable and quality employment, employing 280 million people worldwide. In other words, one in ten of the world's occupied population!

The planet's cooperatives, owned by its members, administered by its members and serving its members, allow individuals to collectively realize their economic aspirations while strengthening their social and human capital and developing their Communities.

1/7 one in every 7 people in the world belongs to a cooperative
Represents in excess of $2,1 trillion USD worldwide.
Subscribe to our YTC Newsletter