The UN has declared 2012 the international year of co-operatives and throughout the year there will be events, promotions and publicity to spread the message of co-operation and raise the profile of co-ops right around the world.
Events kick off today with a live webcast broadcast on the Guardian website — you can sign-up to take part or to simply watch the webcast here.
The webcast, Can co-operation rebuild British business starts at 13:30GMT and the panel includes Ed Mayo, general secretary of Co-operatives UK, Dame Pauline Green, president of the International Co-operative Alliance, Li Chunsheng, vice-president at the All China Federation of Supply and Marketing Co-operatives, and Charles Leadbeater, leading authority on innovation and creativity.
Co-operatives UK has set up a news-hub for events and information here.
Did you know that new research has revealed that there are now three times more members of co-operatives in the world than there are individual shareholders? That’s right: in some parts of the world, co-operation already is the dominant means of doing business. [Full report here.]
For more information visit Co-operatives UK, the UN, the International Co-operative Alliance, and The Co-operative. Co-operatives UK is also offering free publicity packs to help members and supporters celebrate and promote co-operation — order your pack here.
In recent years many in the co-operative movement feel that co-operatives have not enjoyed the same prominence in public policy that has been accorded to social enterprise, despite being perhaps the earliest expression of social enterprise and the original “mutuals” that the government now professes such keenness for. 2012 is an important opportunity to address this.