Tuesday, 01 January 2013 22:43
By Patrice Lockert Anthony
2012 is out, and 2013 is in. As this new year begins, what are some of our lessons? Reflections are funny things. Necessarily, they exist within the parameters of 20/20 vision. How do we make better, wiser, more thoughtful decisions without the (debatable) gift of prescience? Upon reflection, what is our measure for this year just passed?
We are believers in the cooperative movement, but what does that mean? Are we a community, or an exclusive enclave? Do we understand the world around us and how it operates (as well as how we operate within it)? Who are we within the cooperative construct? Does being in the movement alter who we are, or are we in the movement because we were different beings to begin? Perhaps both cases are true. I don't suppose it's really important to know which, or in which order it happened. Of more import is our measure now.
What is our measure? Do we believe in the cooperative principles, or is it just a cool thing to do, or even just a convenience for our families? Do we believe in it for ourselves, but don't really care whether others are on board? If we do care, do our lives (our daily doings) reflect this care? If necessary, how do we decide to do things differently? What is our process for making things happen in our lives? What operates as our driving force? How might that driving force effect change in the rest of our lives, whether it be a new health paradigm, or how we treat others?
Thursday, 01 November 2012 13:58
Cooperatives are a reminder to the international community that it is possible to pursue both economic viability and social responsibility.
— United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
By Kristie Snyder,
One benefit of GreenStar membership is that you can see the results of supporting the Co-op right in your own community — in the flourishing of local farms, the growing network of food justice initiatives in the area, the happy employees in the stores, and myriad other ways. But what about other co-ops in other towns? Or other countries? What's the effect when you add up all of that community-building, support for sustainability and social responsibility, and cooperation?
The answer is impressive. According to the National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA), the US is home to approximately 30,000 co-ops, generating $500 billion in total revenue, $25 billion in wages and benefits, and nearly 1 million jobs. Then there are the less measurable effects, like member benefits such as member refunds, discounts, and dividends, and the investments that co-ops make in their local communities. Around the world, according to the International Cooperative Association, nearly one billion people are cooperative owners, and nearly 100 million are employed by co-ops. The world's largest 300 cooperatives generated revenues of $1.6 trillion in 2011 — comparable to the GDP of Spain, the world's ninth largest economy. That's a lot of economic power.
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