Co-operative enterprises
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B20 backs co-ops for business, employment and education

27 Jul 2017

The final B20 Summit of the German B20 presidency concluded with the adoption of a set of policy recommendations that mention co-operatives.

The Summit took place in Berlin on 2-3 May under the motto “Resilience, Responsibility, Responsiveness – Towards a future-oriented, Sustainable World Economy”. The purpose of the B20 Germany was to identify recommendations towards framework conditions that foster innovation, economic growth and job creation. Five taskforces focused on: Trade and Investment; Energy, Climate and Resource Efficiency; Financing Growth and Infrastructure; Digitization; and Employment and Education.

Throughout the year several co-operative and mutual representatives were very active in all the taskforces and working groups presenting views and examples from the co-operative movement. Alliance President Monique Leroux was a co-chair of the B20 Cross-Thematic Group for Small and Medium Enterprises and a member of the Financing Growth and Infrastructure Taskforce.

As a result, the final policy papers providing recommendations to G20 governments, which became public at the conference in Berlin, contain several references to co-operatives.

The policy paper on SMEs highlights the importance of the co-operative model. It reads: “SMEs might also help each other by combining their market power in a jointly-owned and jointly-managed structure, such as a co-operative. Commonly-owned structures like co-operatives might allow SMEs to maintain their independence and identity while at the same time delegating certain business functions (e.g. sourcing, marketing) to a larger entity that can negotiate better market conditions through the power of the collective. When formulating public policies for the development of SMEs, G20 governments should take into consideration the specificities of these structures and adapt regulations accordingly, that allow them to be established and to develop.”

Similarly, on the Employment and Education policy paper, the B20 states that “G20 governments should promote entrepreneurship as a way to boost self-employment by reducing administrative burdens related to the creation of business, and by promoting a diversity of business models, including cooperatives and other social economy enterprises. These allow people to mutualise risks, offering a good alternative for women, youth and other disadvantaged groups to access entrepreneurship.”

These mentions show how the work of the Alliance and co-operative representatives has increased the profile of co-operatives in global policy-making influence groups.

Photo: Alliance president Monique Leroux with co-operative representatives at the B20 Summit.