International Day of Cooperatives

Quick Facts - NZ

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2024 Date6 July 2024
2025 Date5 July 2025

International Day of Cooperatives

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International Day of Cooperatives History

The International Day of Cooperatives is a global observance that celebrates the cooperative movement and highlights the social, economic, and environmental contributions of cooperatives around the world. This observation aims to increase awareness of cooperatives and their importance in addressing various challenges faced by local communities, thus promoting sustainable development and social responsibility. The cooperative business model has played an essential role in creating employment opportunities, promoting gender equality, and reducing poverty.

The United Nations established the International Day of Cooperatives in 1992, in response to the cooperative movement’s increasing influence on global socio-economic development. In New Zealand, cooperatives have a long-standing presence that contributes significantly to the nation's economy. They operate across various sectors, including agriculture, retail, and finance, with many New Zealanders being affiliated with cooperatives as members, investors, or employees. This observance provides an opportunity for New Zealanders to recognize the significant role that cooperatives play in their economic growth and social development.

Typically, International Day of Cooperatives is marked by a series of events and activities in New Zealand aimed at promoting the cooperative model and encouraging further engagement in this inclusive approach to social and economic organization. These activities include seminars, conferences, and workshops that share successful cooperative practices and celebrate the achievements of existing cooperatives. The International Day of Cooperatives is observed annually on the first Saturday of July, providing a platform for New Zealanders and the global community to reflect on the power and potential of cooperatives in creating a more equitable, sustainable, and prosperous world.

International Day of Cooperatives facts

  • The theme for International Day of Cooperatives in 2023 was Cooperatives: partners for accelerated sustainable development.
    The theme in 2022 was Cooperatives Build a Better World.
  • Globally, 1 billion people are members of cooperatives according to the IWDC.
  • According to IWDC, in 2023, there are over 30,000 cooperatives operating in every sector of the U.S. economy.
  • New Zealand has over 1,400 cooperatives across different sectors, including agriculture, banking, healthcare, and energy.
  • The first cooperative in New Zealand was established in 1871, with the formation of the Ashburton Dairy Company. This cooperative allowed local dairy farmers to pool their resources and jointly own processing and marketing facilities.

Top things to do in NZ for this observance

  • Explore upcoming events near you. The International Cooperative Alliance hosts events that focus on community and societal growth.
  • Watch the UN's 2020 International Day of Cooperatives video if you missed it. The video focuses on cooperative solutions that can help lower the risks of climate change.
  • Visit the New Zealand Cooperatives Association Facebook page, which shares news and updates about the cooperative movement in the country, to stay informed and engaged.
  • Explore well-known cooperatives in New Zealand, such as Fonterra (a dairy cooperative), Foodstuffs (a supermarket cooperative), and Farmlands Co-operative Society (an agricultural supply cooperative), to learn about their history, achievements, and contributions to society.

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