July, 2nd: The 2016 International Co-operative Day

“If Cooperatives were a State, they would be in G8 Summit, representing third highest populated country in the world”. In this way Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane (the Italian co-operatives alliance) comments on the International Day of Co-operatives, celebrated on the first Saturday of July every year. Its aim is to increase awareness on co-operatives and promote the movement's successes and ideals of international solidarity, economic efficiency, equality, and world peace. The International Day also aims to strengthen and extend partnerships between the international co-operative movement and other actors, including governments, at local, national and international levels. The theme of this year is the co-operative contribution to the United Nations' Sustainable Development goals (SDGs), to lift people out of poverty, to combat climate change, to ensure cultural and economic equality as well as social inclusion. In a few words: ‘Co-operatives: The power to act for a sustainable future’.

In Italy, Co-ops provides welfare services to 7 million people; they represent 25% of agricultural and food production (70% milk, 60% wine, 40% fruit and vegetables); over 30% of retail distribution. They also represent a response to the challenges of the next decades in the banking sector, in the personal services and in the socio-economic inclusion (over the 60% of women in employment).

Now, it’s all the more important the Cooproute action in the diffusion of the Co-operatives principles of democracy, social fairness and solidarity: Co-ops must be the vehicle to ensure those important values in the increasingly difficult tourism market.