Message from the CCR Chair, Akira Kurimoto

16 Mar 2022

In November 2021, the Committee on Cooperative Research executive members nominated Mr Akira Kurimoto as the interim CCR Chair to succeed Professor Sonja Novkovic, who had served as the Chair for the previous eight years. Below is a message from Mr Kurimoto, as the new CCR chair.

I do appreciate the confidence shown to me by CCR executive members in the nomination as CCR Chair. I have been working with the CCR since the 1980s, back when it was chaired by planning officers of European consumer cooperative federations. Sven Åke Böök transformed the CCR into the academic forum of researchers interested in cooperatives and practitioners interested in research. I first assumed the chair after Roger Spear in 2001 and handed the baton to Ian MacPherson in 2005. This time I was nominated to the Interim Chair and I decided to come on for a short period and make efforts to contribute to the development of CCR in such a challenging and important time for the cooperative movement, particularly with all discussions on the Cooperative Identity in the global challenges, such as the pandemic and the increasing political tensions and conflicts.

There are some issues for us to tackle in years to come. Firstly, we shall contribute to the debates on the cooperative identity. At the World Cooperative Congress and the CCR Conference held in Seoul at the end of 2021, we discussed the overriding theme “Deepening our Cooperative Identity” and the worldwide consultation is in progress under the guidance of the Cooperative Identity Advisory Group. I believe the CCR can contribute to this debate from the different disciplinary approaches; economics, management, law, sociology, history and so on.

Secondly, we shall contribute to the discussion on how to rebuild better together after the pandemic. COVID-19 brought us irreversible changes that affected the food and energy supply chain, the provision of essential health and social services and employment and freelancing. We need to think about how to enhance cooperative roles in securing food and energy, affordable health and social care and decent work for all in the post-COVID era.

Thirdly, we shall promote cooperative contributions to tackling the global climate crisis to attain the SDGs. Now everyone rushes to this buzzword, but many of them seem to end up in greenwashing with little impact. I believe we need to assist cooperatives to attain those goals and develop the evaluation tool for them to gauge the progress.

I hope to work together with all cooperative researchers across the world to make the ICA CCR an impactful community of cooperative researchers.

AKIRA KURIMOTO studied law at the University of Tokyo. He was a professor on the cooperative program at the Institute for Solidarity-based Society at Hosei University, Tokyo during 2015-2020. He was the board member/chief researcher of the Consumer Co-operative Institute, Japan, from 1998 and the general secretary of the Robert Owen Association. He served as the Chair of the ICA Research Committee (2001-2005). He is a founding member of the Asia Pacific Co-operative Research Partnership, which published a volume “Waking the Asian Pacific Co-operative Potential” in 2020. His main research interests include co-operative laws, economics and history, corporate governance, food supply chain, health and social care and the social economy/enterprises.