Consumer Co-operatives Worldwide (CCW)

The World Co-operative Monitor 2016


The main goal of the World Co-operative Monitor project produced by Euricse and the Alliance is to develop a multi-dimensional database reporting on the socio-economic value and impact of co-operatives both within a global scenario and in their regional and national contexts. The Monitor is considered throughout the global movement as the source for global statistics on the economic dimensions of co-operative enterprises.

The 2016 World Co-operative Monitor shows that the total turnover of the world’s Top 300 co-operatives and mutuals increased from USD $2,360.05 billion to USD $2,533.10 billion – which constitutes a 7.3% growth in combined turnover. These Top 300 were spread over 25 countries, with 39% based in the insurance sector, 32% in agriculture and food industries, and 19% in wholesale and retail trade.

This year’s edition includes a new feature: an analysis of the capital structure of the Top 300 co-operative businesses. Furthermore, the focus section is dedicated to consumer co-operatives within the wholesale and retail trade sector and features various detailed data, 4 case studies, and an interview with Petar Stefanov, PhD – President of CCW.


2016 database – findings based on 2014 data, over 100 million, top 300 



Focus section: Consumer co-operatives

In collaboration with Consumer Co-operatives Worldwide (CCW), the 2016 World Co-operative Monitor takes a special look at consumer co-operatives within the Wholesale and Retail Trade sector. The aim is to provide readers some insight beyond the numbers into the important contributions consumer co-operatives can make both socially and economically through their retail and wholesale activities.

Stemming from their values, consumer co-operatives have a strong focus on Social Responsibility. While emphasis is placed on satisfying members’ needs and expectations, consumer co-operatives favour a sustainable approach towards their production and distribution operations, and take into account the sustainable development of local communities, environmental concerns, and the health and safety of consumers. As is the case with co-operatives in general, regardless of the sector, the aim of the business model of consumer co-operative is not to maximize profits, but to serve their members and defend their interests.

The focus section presents four case studies of consumer co-operatives: Alleanza 3.0 (Italy), iCoop Korea (Republic of Korea), NCG/CoMetrics (USA), JCCU (Japan). These four stories were chosen to highlight the co-operative distinctiveness achieved in result of very innovative initiatives, which ultimately proves the universality of applying the co-operative model of governance and business - ranging from big scale merger to groundbreaking Dream Parks. As a highlight to the Focus Section, readers are offered an interesting interview with Petar Stefanov, PhD - President of Consumer Co-operatives Worldwide and Central Cooperative Union, Bulgaria.

 Petar Stefanov - President of Consumer Co-operatives Worldwide:

“Challenges are even greater, especially nowadays, often due to the unpredictable dynamic of emerging technologies, global crises, open countries, overtrading and overconsumption. In this context, co-operative leaders have an important role in preserving the essence of co-operative business, which has shown adaptability and flexibility to solve social issues, and which gives ideas and approaches to address the challenges of ‘Creating a better world NOW!’”



The Monitor’s Methodology

The Monitor collects and analyses data on the world’s largest co-operative and mutual organisations, both members and non-members of the Alliance. The top 300 of these co-operatives are ranked based on turnover as well as the ratio of turnover to GDP per capita, relating in a comparable way the turnover of the co-operative to the purchasing power of the country in which it operates. The report also presents extensive sectorial rankings based on turnover.

The collection of data is done through an online questionnaire. This data is then integrated with existing databases and other data collected by national co-operative associations, research institutes, sectorial organisations, and others.


Co-operative capital viewed in-depth

A new chapter is featured, which explores the area co-operative capital. The work continues previous research and focuses on the way various types of organisations (co-operatives, mutuals, and businesses controlled by co-operatives) present in the Top 300 raise capital. Another interesting element is the overview of the Top 300 by region and sector as well as a comparison between co-operative and non-co-operative firms within the agriculture and food industries, in part testing the argument that co-operatives have more difficulties raising capital than other types of firms.

The results suggest the need for policies that push towards a governance able to support an increasing level of investment in innovation, while respecting the co-operative nature.


How the Monitor benefits your co-operative

Dame Pauline Green, former President of the International Co-operative Alliance adequately summarized it:

The importance of the World Co-operative Monitor cannot be understated. Not only is it a crucial tool which we can use to raise the profile of co-operatives to policy-makers and industry professionals, but it also provides an incredibly useful starting point for researchers and academics alike.” 

The 2016 edition's 7.3% increase in the figures for the world's largest 300 co-operative and mutual businesses is a great tribute to the growing strength of the co-operative model of enterprise within the global economy. These figures represent the fifth consecutive year of consistent growth i.e. from 2010 to 2014 - the years in which the financial collapse and global recession still dominated.

This is a remarkable achievement for a model of business that is not present on the world's stock markets and is often invisible to the economic commentators and political leaders. No wonder that one billion of the world's citizens have chosen to invest some part of their life in a co-operative! 


*** Co-operatives can actively participate in the project by completing the questionnaire here.


*** The World Co-operative Monitor is the successor to the former Global 300 project. Global 300 archives from 2004 to 2008 can be downloaded here