International Day of Cooperatives

Quick Facts - GB

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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 celebrated globally on the first Saturday of July every year. The day is observed to recognize the significant role of cooperatives in creating inclusive economies and sustainable societies. Cooperatives are organizations owned and run by their members, who benefit from the goods and services offered by the cooperative. The United Nations officially recognized the International Day of Cooperatives in 1995, and since then, the day has been celebrated globally. The theme for the day changes every year, and in 2021, the theme of the International Day of Cooperatives is Rebuild Better Together.

In the United Kingdom, the International Day of Cooperatives is celebrated by various cooperatives and organizations to raise awareness about the cooperative model and its contribution to the economy. The day also provides an opportunity to showcase the successes and achievements of cooperatives across the country.

Cooperatives in the UK were first formed in the 19th century and have played an essential role in various sectors such as agriculture, retail, and finance. The UK has a cooperative tradition that dates back to the early 1800s, with the Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers being one of the first cooperatives established in the country. The International Day of Cooperatives is observed annually on July 1st.

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.
  • The first cooperative society in the world was established in Rochdale, England in 1844. The Society of Equitable Pioneers, as it was known, laid the foundations for the modern cooperative movement.
  • The Co-operative Group, founded in 1863, is the largest consumer-owned cooperative in the UK. It operates a range of businesses including food retail, funeralcare, and insurance.

Top things to do in the UK 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.
  • Watch a documentary to learn more about cooperatives in the UK. Here are our recommendations:
    1. The Rochdale Pioneers (2012) - This film tells the story of the 28 Rochdale Pioneers who established the first successful cooperative retail store in Rochdale, England, in 1844. It documents the birth of the modern cooperative movement.
    2. Everything for Everyone: The Radical Tradition that Is Shaping the Next Economy (2018) - This documentary investigates the history, principles, and potential of the cooperative movement in the UK and around the world.
    3. The Monday Morning Meeting: A Film About The John Lewis Partnership (2019) - This documentary looks at the employee-owned company, John Lewis Partnership, one of the most successful cooperatives in the UK, exploring how its unique organizational structure has led to its success.
  • Consider joining a cooperative that aligns with your interests and values, such as a housing, energy, or grocery store cooperative.

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