Online event about the importance of cooperatives taking part in the G20 discussions: a conversation with the C20 sherpas.

“Thank you also to all the cooperators in every continent who have joined their efforts in this great labor of advocacy of the cooperative movement at a global level. I welcome the initiative to share experiences and visions regarding the different topics being discussed in the C20. It brings me great joy to have been able to do this together with the Italian Sherpas Ricardo Moro and Valeria Emmi. My thanks to them for helping us engage in a fruitful dialogue with all C20 participants.

As we all know, international dialogues can sometimes stretch over a long period of time. It is likely that we will not achieve every goal we have set for ourselves in this Summit. That said, I am certain that it will be a turning point in our relationship with the G20, in as far as we are able to put our identity into play.

Our international Statement on the Cooperative Identity, which recently reached its 25th anniversary, clearly explains who we are. Cooperatives are “autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.” In other words, we are organizations of civil society who set up our own enterprises in order to reach our goals.

There are many civil society organizations that focus their efforts on challenging governments. They propose and demand laws and public policies that respond to their concerns. Other organizations focus their efforts on challenging companies. They are concerned about economic concentration and the rights of workers and their communities, often ignored in the name of profit. Finally, there is a third kind of organizations of civil society who focus their efforts in building enterprises to respond to their needs on the basis of mutual support, democracy and solidarity. These are the cooperatives.

There is a real need for efforts aimed at advocacy in the sphere of public policy, to be sure. We are also involved in similar endeavors. There is also a real need to push companies into adopting social responsibility in their operations. But we propose a different path, complementary to all of them. We propose transforming social responsibility into enterprises. As we have said many times before, we are not enterprises with social responsibility, we are social responsibility itself as an enterprise.

We are civil society organizing enterprises to meet our needs and aspirations autonomously.

This is the message that I am sure we will be able to introduce in every single meeting of the 2021 Summit.

This task group is an excellent reflection of the almost 200 years if history of cooperatives worldwide, an experience which gains even more value today if we want to rebuild better, together, this world struck by the pandemic and facing serious social, economic and environmental challenges.”