Review of International Cooperation 107/2023 - Special issue on the Cooperative Identity I

18 Apr 2024

The cooperative model stands out among the various enterprise and organization models due to its unique characteristics. In addition to being a people-centered and value-based organization, one of its notable aspects is that its identity has been defined by cooperatives themselves through their international network, the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA). The most recent edition of this definition is the ICA Statement on the Cooperative Identity, which was adopted in Manchester in 1995 at the 31st World Cooperative Congress. This Statement holds great significance as it outlined the cooperative and ethical values that underpin the principles elaborated by the founders of the cooperative movement. It also provided a clear definition of the cooperative business model and updated the Cooperative Principles to reflect the contemporary features of the movement. Notably, the 7th Principle of Concern for Community was included for the first time, acknowledging the changing world and the role of cooperatives within it. 

To examine the implementation and challenges of the Cooperative Identity in today’s world, the ICA held the 33rd World Cooperative Congress on the theme of “Deepening our Cooperative Identity” in Seoul, Korea and online on 1-3 December 2021. In preparation for the Congress, the ICA Cooperative Research Conference took place in Seoul and online from November 28-30, 2021. Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference adopted a hybrid format and organized sessions in two different time zones. While this arrangement attracted numerous contributions, it experienced limited active participation and encountered some technical difficulties. In conjunction with the 3rd International Forum on Cooperative Law held within the same framework, these research events consisted of 62 sessions with a total of 233 presentations delivered by 335 authors and panelists from 47 countries.

To recognize the value of these contributions and contribute to the ongoing discussion on the Cooperative Identity, which is led by the Cooperative Identity Advisory Group, the ICA Committee on Cooperative Research (CCR) decided to publish selected papers as two special issues of the Review of International Co-operation. The editorial team for these special issues on the Cooperative Identity comprises six CCR executive members (Akira Kurimoto as chair, Cynthia Giagnocavo representing Europe, Sidsel Grimstad representing Asia-Pacific, Sonja Novkovic representing North America, Claudia Sanchez Bajo representing South America, Isaac K. Nyamongo representing Africa) and an invited editor (Seungkwon Jang from Sungkonghoe University, Korea). The editorial team received technical assistance from Hyungsik Eum, Director of research at the ICA. After a thorough analysis of papers presented at the conference, 24 papers were selected for inclusion in the volumes. These selected papers cover various cooperative sectors, including housing, agricultural, consumer, social, banking, worker and insurance. They also represent a diverse range of countries such as Rwanda, Kenya, Korea, Sri Lanka, Japan, Italy, France, Germany, Spain, the US, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Costa Rica, Ecuador, and Cuba. 

The first volume (107/2023) provides a comprehensive exploration of Coopera­tive Identity, examining its implementa­tion, diversity, and challenges across dif­ferent contexts and historical traditions. By exploring these topics, they contribute to a deeper understanding of the Cooper­ative Identity and its resilience in the face of evolving circumstances.

Table of contents

  • Foreword - Martin Lowery
  • Introduction - Akira Kurimoto and Hyungsik Eum


Deepening the Cooperative Identity

  • Operationalizing the Cooperative Identity - Sonja Novkovic and Karen Miner with contributions by Erbin Crowell, Balu Iyer, and Fred Freundlich 
  • Walking the talk: Cooperative Identity and Humanistic Governance - Cian McMahon, Karen Miner, Sonja Novkovic
  • La Participación Femenina en el Cooperativismo Brasileño y Mundial - Suzane Grimm and Dimas de Oliveira Estevam 
  • Trust and Solidarity: The Ethics of Means of Cooperative Housing in Kigali, Rwanda - Billy Ndengeyingoma 
  • Corporate Social Responsibility and Transitions: Renewals and Challenges for the Cooperative Identity - Some Reflections from the French Case - Eric Bidet Eric, Maryline Filippi and Nadine Richez-Battesti 


Diversity of the Cooperative Identity

  • Decolonising the Co-operative Identity - T. O. Molefe 
  • On Confucian Understanding of Co-operative Thought - Hyeong-Soo Jeon 
  • Lessons Learned from the African American Cooperative Movement - Jessica Gordon-Nembhard and Regine T. Adrien 
  • La Recepción de la Identidad Cooperativa en Cuba Antecedentes, Realidad y Perspectivas - Orestes Rodríguez Musa, Yaumara Acosta Morales, Lien Soto Alemán, Deibby Valle Ríos, José Manuel Figueroa González and Orisel Hernández Aguilar 


The Cooperative Identity and Challenges

  • The Identity Problems of the Korean Agricultural Cooperative and Its Future - Seong-jae Park 
  • El Programa Ingreso Social con Trabajo y la construcción de Identidad Cooperativa - Juan Martín Asueta and Giuliana Maricel Gaiga 
  • Individualization of Society and Changing Role of Japanese Consumer Co-operatives: Challenges of Cooperative Principles and Identity in Japan - Iruma Tanaka and Akihiro Hanzawa
  • Demutualization, Member Control and Financial Performance of Co-operatives in Kenya - Mary Njoki Mbugua and Kennedy Munyua Waweru 


Review of International Cooperation 108 - Special issue on the Cooperative Identity II