International Day of Co-operatives: President's Address
The theme of this year's #CoopsDay is "Co-operatives for Decent Work". It was chosen in view of increasing inequality, job insecurity and unemployment, especially among young people, and taking into account UN Sustainable Development Goal 8 - "Decent Work and Sustainable Economic Growth".
As people-oriented enterprises that base their economic activities on values, co-operatives play an important role in creating decent jobs and strengthening local communities socially and economically. This year we celebrate the 175th anniversary of the Rochdale Pioneers. The principles they developed, which still guide the work of consumer co-operatives around the world today, are based in particular on the ideas of Robert Owen. They were therefore an important part of the labour movement with the aim of improving people’s living conditions.
We are proud that the co-operative contribution has been recognised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The 2019 ILO Centenary Declaration on the Future of Work acknowledges the role of co-operatives and the social and solidarity economy in the future of work, in particular decent and sustainable work, and further commits itself to supporting the co-op movement in this endeavour.
Consumer co-operatives in Europe are aware of their responsibility towards their employees. Our member organisations employ 700,000 people. Only by working together with members, management, and employees can we fulfil our co-operative mission - to offer members the best possible service.
Stemming from our unique model of governance, co-operatives put people at the forefront of their work, which translates into an inherent responsibility towards creating decent work as part of our identity.