Ensuring supportive legal frameworks for co-operative growth

Growth hinges on the infrastructure of policies around entrepreneurship. The co-operative movement seeks a proper understanding by governments and lawmakers of the economic and social benefits the model offers and an appropriate legal framework, which speaks to a broader diversity of ownership forms than is currently reflected in legal, fiscal, and regulatory policies.

One of the strongest arguments put forward to support the growth and development of co-operatives is that the business model should be on a level playing field with other business models.

Doing co-operative business: advocacy 

Through its global influence, the Alliance represents co-operatives to global leaders and institutions, showcasing how co-operatives can tackle some of the major economic and social challenges facing our world today. This advocacy targets international policy hubs, such as the United Nations and the G20, among others. Read more about our policy work.

In an effort to bolster national level advocacy on behalf of co-operatives, the Alliance is working towards the first edition of the Doing Co-operative Business Report. The Doing Co-operative Business report has been inspired by the World Bank’s annual Doing Business report, which measures regulations that enhance or constrain business activity in countries across the world. While this is a useful entrepreneurial tool, the Alliance sees a strong need for a co-operative focused report that can support advocacy. Doing Co-operative Business will focus on a select set of factors deemed especially or uniquely important to co-operative businesses.

The initiative will encompass an advocacy tool and supporting database that analyses countries according to their co-operative-friendliness, i.e. the conduciveness of their legal and policy framework to supporting co-operative development and growth. This will serve as an advocacy tool to shape policy agendas at the national, regional, and global levels.

The legal framework assessed for this purpose will include:

  • Scale and Scope
  • Financial Ability
  • Governance
  • Member Attitude and Commitment
  • Market Orientation/ Co-operative as Economic Instrument
  • Knowledge
  • Policy and Legal Environment
  • Sustainability

Currently, the indicators for assessment are being developed in partnership with Tilburg University TIAS School of Business and Society in The Netherlands. The indicators, and an initial pilot assessment of ten countries, will be presented at the biennial conference of the Alliance in Antalya, Turkey, 10–13 November 2015.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor of the Doing Co-operative Business Report, please contact Charles Gould, Director-General.

The Alliance also supports enabling legal frameworks through its Co-operative Law Committee, which is chaired by Hagen Henrÿ, Research Director of the Ruralia Institute at University of Helsinki in Finland. Learn more here.

Co-operative advocacy: resources

There are a number of resources – campaigns, manuals, tools – that bolster co-operative advocacy. Many of these can bolster advocacy campaigns or be reproduced and tailored for different local contexts.

Do you know of a resource not included here? If so, please write to Hanan El-Youssef, Strategy Manager.


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