By Anca Voniea
New research that compares French cooperatives to those in Europe and other countries puts them ahead of those in Germany, Japan and the United States.
Produced by economist Olivier Frey for apex Coop FR, the article examines the 2014 World Cooperative Census published by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs of the United Nations Secretariat, which measured the size and scope of the economy cooperative in the world.
The World Cooperative Monitor also offers an analysis of the economic (turnover, sectors of activity) and social (employment) weight of the 100 largest cooperatives at European and world level.
Mr. Frey’s research revealed that French cooperatives represent 25% of the global turnover of the top 100 in the world, with 344.75 billion dollars, ahead of Germany (15.9%), Japan (11 %) and the United States (10.1%).
At European level, French cooperatives represent 36.6% of the top 100 cooperatives in terms of turnover. The study also revealed that in 2019, of the 100 largest cooperative enterprises in Europe, 23 were French, 14 German and 12 Dutch.
The 100 largest cooperatives in the world employ nearly three million people, including 2.5 million in Europe. France is the second nation in the world’s top 100 in terms of employment with 613,351 employees in 13 cooperative companies. Germany comes first with 857,964 employees and Switzerland in third place with 223,522 employees.
The research points out that French cooperatives have been covered by the same law for more than 75 years. Their operations are regularly audited, through what is known as “cooperative review” – a cooperative audit.
At the global level, the business sectors most represented among the 100 largest cooperatives are agriculture and agribusiness, trade and banking; but in France the commercial cooperatives are the most important in terms of turnover. Agricultural and agri-food cooperatives and cooperative banks in the country also have an important influence.
The report also highlights that new sectors linked to ecological transition and digital platforms are emerging. He also adds that some of these sectors could enter the top 100 in the future, such as cooperative platforms, energy cooperatives, health cooperatives or healthy food cooperatives.
Other cooperative networks aim to radically transform the economy, such as Licornes in France.