- Co-op Stories
- Co-op Decade
- Add an event
- 2013 ICA Global Conference and General Assembly
- ICA events
- International Co-operative Day 2013
- 2nd International Summit of Co-operatives
- UN International Year
- Co-operatives United 2012
- The ICA
- ICA Members
- ICA Projects
- Join the ICA
- World Co-operative Monitor
- Global Development Co-operative
- What's a co-op?
History of the co-operative movement
The earliest record of a co-operative comes from Fenwick, Scotland where, in March 14, 1761, in a barely furnished cottage local weavers manhandled a sack of oatmeal into John Walker's whitewashed front room and began selling the contents at a discount, forming the Fenwick Weavers' Society.
There are a plethera of records of co-operatives started out as small grassroots organisations in Western Europe, North America and Japan in the middle of the nineteenth century, however, it is the Rochdale Pioneers that are generally regarded as the prototype of the modern co-operative society and the founders of the Co-operative Movement in 1844.
In 1862 Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen founded the first credit union and his work inspired the growth of financial co-operatives across the world.
The co-operative movement today
The principles that underpinned their way of doing business are still accepted today as the foundations upon which all co-operatives operate. These principles have been revised and updated, but remain essentially the same as those practiced by the Pioneers in 1844.
Today the sector is estimated to have around 1 billion members and account for more than 100 million jobs around the world.