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World Forum Lille: cooperatives show how enterprises can empower people

World Forum Lille: cooperatives show how enterprises can empower people

Tuesday, 20 November 2012

By organizing a workshop at the World Forum Lille, Cooperatives Europe brought cooperatives to one of the world largest forums for socially responsible enterprises. The title of the workshop was ‘Empowering people around the world through the cooperative enterprise model’ and chaired by the Director of Cooperatives Europe, Klaus Niederländer, two cooperatives from Europe and Latin America presented concrete examples to the delegates of the cooperative difference in this area.

Mariano Glas, the Supermarket Manager of Obrera in Argentina, spoke of the need for society to understand that ‘the cooperative sector is not a marginal sector, we are enterprises of people, not capital. Our most important role is to serve our members, not just generate profit’.

Dirk Vansintjan, Founder of Ecopower Belgium, complimented the presentation by showing how the cooperative model can be used as an effective part of the energy transition to renewables. He said ‘when people are more connected to their energy throughout renewable energy cooperative, they dramatically reduce their energy consumption. We have seen a drop of 38%. This can show the difference that truly empowering citizens through the cooperative ownership model can have.’ He added that ‘we all have a choice about what difference we want to make.’

There was another presentation due to be given by Eric Towett of Fintea cooperative in Kenya. You can find this presentation and the others below.

Several other cooperatives also took part in the conference including Biocoop of France, showing the increasing recognition of the importance of cooperatives in the new responsible economy.