Cooperatives began with the Fenwick Weavers' Society in 1761, located in Fenwick Scotland. Eighty-three years later, the modern cooperative business was born in northern England, in a town called Rochdale. The Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society is " regarded as the prototype of the modern cooperative society and founders of the cooperative movement."
Today " more than 12% of humanity is part of any of the 3 million cooperatives in the world! The largest 300 cooperatives and mutuals report a total turnover of 2,146 billion USD, according to the World Cooperative Monitor (2020). Cooperatives contribute to the sustainable economic growth and stable, quality employment, providing jobs or work opportunities to 280 million people across the globe, in other words, 10% of the world’s employed population."
Why are cooperatives so successful? I believe it's because of the 7 Cooperative Principles:
Cooperatives are distributive by design, hence they are a superb business model for a regenerative economy. Profits are distributed to the member owners rather than external shareholders (principle 3), thus, money earned is primarily spent locally. And, because of Principle 7, cooperatives "contribute to the sustainable development of their communities by sourcing and investing locally." A wonderful example of this process is the Evergreen Cooperatives in Cleveland Ohio. If you want inspiration, read the story of the Evergreen Cooperatives here.
Currently, I am the Membership Chair for the Great Lakes Chapter of the National Society of Accountants for Cooperatives.