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How cooperatives provide sustainable community services worldwide

Home > How do cooperatives answer to social needs?


Cooperatives are highly committed to the social and environmental development of the territory where they are based. Rooted in the community and managed by local stakeholders, they are able to detect particular needs and respond to them.


The cooperative model, especially when several stakeholders are involved in its democratic control governance system, make it possible to create synergies between different actors such as, service users, service providers and in some cases public authorities.


By getting involved with cooperatives, members are able to reaffirm their own social identity. This is critical to fully re-engage people in the community.

Legal framework

In order to contribute to a dignified life for all the citizens, cooperatives can not only rely on themselves and on their members. They do need adequate public policies and legal frameworks to see their activities developed and sustained.


Cooperatives are rich in capital: capital brought by their members as diverse as it can be (ideas, skills, common needs etc) and capital accumulated trough their activities and reinvested in the enterprise. The capital of the cooperative is also the capital of the community.

It is virtually the only enterprise model that can fully empower the various local actors involved in an activity through joint and democratic control, while implementing such activities in a strictly entrepreneurial fashion! In this way, it guarantees that various interests and resources within a local community are represented and that an adequate response is provided.

Cooperatives respond to fundamental needs by offering quality services, which are characterised by a democratic governance model, where each stakeholder involved has a say. The commitment of local actors in the cooperative’s activities increases their control over the quality of the activities and the services provided. This helps to ensure efficiency and responsibility.