The importance of intercooperation

Oct 13, 2016

Yesterday at the International Summit of Cooperatives, I had a chance to hear new ideas and ambitious projects arise from participants’ reflections and discussions. It was very inspiring.

At the conferences, round tables and sectoral meetings that took place throughout the day, I noticed that a particular issue came up often in discussions, and this is an issue of great importance to me: cooperation between our cooperatives.

If the greatest strength of a cooperative is cooperation, I would have to say that the greatest strength of a cooperative movement like ours is intercooperation. But it seems that this issue is greater than it appears. Indeed, according to speakers, participants, and statistical data, we do not cooperate to the best of our ability.

We can do better In this regard, guest speaker Robert Reich has spoken about the need for our cooperatives to work together to make our voice more widely heard at the political level.

But for this we must first bolster intercooperation, not only at the local, regional or national levels, but also across borders, regardless of our economic sector or size.

Like a sugar bush I would like to share an image that came to me, that of the sugar bush, which also has the benefit of representing our country. The cooperative movement is in some ways like a sugar bush. Each of its cooperatives is a tree—a maple tree—whose roots are firmly anchored in the ground, in their community.

The cooperative movement is like a sugar bush whose production is not sufficiently developed. Like the trees in the sugar bush, we need to connect our cooperatives to increase our influence.

Experts at the Summit all agree:

We’re at the tipping point. It’s time for us to seize this intercooperation opportunity to promote the cooperative business model and propel our movement onto the world stage.