Cooperatives

Cooperatives

blue-map-australia-300x246Do you want to find out why Earthworker is choosing to help establish worker-owned cooperatives instead of just supporting green businesses? Read on to find out about what cooperatives are, where they come from and why it is so important that they grow to become a bigger part of the Australian economy.

What are cooperatives?

A cooperative (“coop”) or co-operative (“co-op”) is an autonomous association of persons who voluntarily cooperate for their mutual social, economic, and cultural benefit. Cooperatives are owned and run jointly by their members, who share the profits or benefits.

Worldwide more than 1 billion people are members of cooperatives, covering industry sectors as diverse as farming, manufacturing, banking, childcare and much much more.
Cooperatives provide 100 million jobs worldwide, 20% more than multinational enterprises.
3 billion livelihoods are made secure by cooperatives around the world.

Co-operatives are based on the values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. Their members believe in the ethical values of honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others.

A co-operative is both an enterprise and, as a membership-based and membership-driven organisation,is  part of civil society. The prime purpose of all co-operatives is to meet the needs of their members, not to make a profit for shareholders. Much of the surplus earned by co-operative enterprises is used for social purposes. Co-operatives are governed on the principle of one member, one vote. Because of this they are the original socially conscious free enterprise way of meeting the needs of a community. Not through good will, but through democratic accountability.

co-op-principles

How do cooperatives work?

Why do we need worker owned cooperatives?

Australia has many social, environmental and economic challenges facing it. Not only do we have the urgent challenge of climate change we are facing a decaying social fabric and an economy that is increasingly not accountable to local communities.

Earthworkers mission is to respond to the challenge of climate change and the need for local job creation by facilitating the establishment of worker-owned cooperatives throughout Australia in sustainability-focused industries. By doing this we are not only helping to build strong, stable and accountable local economies but we are also working to respond to the urgent challenge of climate change.

In fact, Cooperatives have been recognised as so important in the way the world responds to global challenges that the United Nations declared 2012 the International Year of Cooperatives in recognition of their contribution to socio-economic development and, in particular, their track record in impacting poverty reduction, employment generation and social integration.

 

Leave a Comment