2012 International Year of Cooperatives
Electric cooperatives and other members of the co-op family take center stage globally in 2012, designated the International Year of Cooperatives.
What are Co-ops?
Cooperatives are a global network of independent, local businesses owned by those they serve.
We share a common set of business principles and values like self-help and democracy. Each co-op exists to meet the needs of its members.
According to the Washington, D.C.-based National Cooperative Business Association (NCBA), more than 29,200 cooperatives nationally employ 2 million Americans. One in every four Americans is a co-op member, but the scope of the cooperative network doesn’t stop at the border.
More than 1 billion co-op members exist worldwide, and co-ops generate 100 million jobs globally. Cooperatives strive for sustainable development of communities through member-driven policies, with co-op leaders elected by members.
As a member, you have a voice in how your co-op operates. That keeps the co-op’s focus on you and how best to meet your needs.
The innovative practices of co-ops provide consumer-focused solutions that can adapt quickly to change. Unlike competitive, profit-driven businesses, co-ops cooperate with each other to fashion programs that improve service. For example, food co-ops introduced food nutrition labels long before they were federally required in 1994. Credit unions fought the predatory practices of payday lenders by introducing salary advance loans that double as savings accounts.
Lighting the World
Electric cooperatives like WIN Energy REMC are leaders, delivering power and light to 42 million consumers in 47 states covering more than 75 percent of the nation’s landmass.
Not only does 2012 mark a global celebration of the cooperative business model, it also marks the 50th anniversary of NRECA International Programs, a division of NRECA. The theme, “Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World,” shines in the work NRECA International Programs does every day.
Working together, more than 300 U.S. electric cooperatives have delivered the benefits of safe and reliable electric service to more than 100 million people in 40-plus countries since November 1962.
In the United States, co-ops helped electricity evolve from a luxury to an essential part daily life. Yet more than 2 billion people around the globe still live without power—64 million in Latin America, 500 million in Africa, and more than 1 billion in Asia.