Review of International Cooperation 108/2023 - Special issue on the Cooperative Identity II

19 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. 

In the second volume (108/2023), the implementation of the Cooperative Identity in cooperative businesses and its institutionalization through various fields are examined. The volume consists of eleven articles grouped into three themes: entrepreneurial innovation, institutionalization and development of implementing tools.


Table of contents


  • Forword 
  • Introduction - Akira Kurimoto and Hyungsik Eum 


The Cooperative Identity and Entrepreneurial Innovation

  • Creación de Empleo de Calidad en Cooperativas y Sociedades Laborales. El Caso de España durante la Recuperación Económica 2013-2016 - Rosa Santero-Sánchez and Rosa Belén Castro Núñez 
  • Maintaining the Cooperative Identity in Times of COVID - Reinventing and Communicating the Cooperative Brand – the Case of Dukunde Kawa Coffee Cooperative (Musasa) in Rwanda - Emmanuel Munyarrukumbuzi and Sidsel Grimstad 
  • Vertical Integration and Member Benefits of Cooperatives in Sri Lanka - Sanjaya Fernando, Elena Garnevska, Thiagarajah Ramilan and Nicola Shadbolt 
  • Entrepreneurial Innovation in a Cooperative Way: the iCOOP KOREA case - Min-Jin Ji, Eunjung Lee, Hyangsuk Lee, Eunju Choi and Changsub Shin 
  • How Does Institutional Change in Cooperatives Occur? Fair Trade in iCOOP Consumer Cooperative - Sunhwa Kim and Seungkwon Jang 


Institutionalisation of the Cooperative Identity

  • Producing Statistics on the Social and Solidarity Economy, Challenges and Opportunities - Marie J. Bouchard 
  • Experiencias en Coproducción de políticas públicas e identidad cooperativa en el siglo 21 - Sergio Reyes Lavega, Danilo Gutiérrez Fiori, Sergio Salazar Arguedas, Elisa Lanas Medina and Claudia Sánchez-Bajo 
  • Aprendizajes para la Cooperación: Experiencias Educativas en Argentina e Identidad Cooperativa - Mirta Vuotto


Tools for Strengthening the Cooperative Identity

  • Inclusive Governance and Enterprise Sustainability: Developing New Tools for Member Participation - Riccardo Bodini, Michele Pasinetti, Elena Rocca, Silvia Sacchetti 
  • Perceived Cooperative Member Value – The Case of German Cooperative Banks - Svenja Damberg 
  • Más Valor Cooperativo: Iniciativas de Mejora Continua en el Ecosistema Cooperativo Uruguayo - Silvana Avondet, Stella Cristobal, Claudia De Lisio and Cecilia Ferrario


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