Contributor: David Smith, Co-ops and Mutuals Wales
International Day of Co-operatives Celebration Cartrefi Cymru Co-operative
5 Coopers Yard, Curran Road, Cardiff
Friday 30 June, 1.00pm
International Co-operators Day highlights we are part of a global movement that seeks to change people’s lives. Each year, the International Co-operative Alliance agrees a special focus and this year’s theme is ‘Co-operatives ensure that no one is left behind.’ We have taken this as an opportunity for knowledge transfer about member participation in co-operatives.
In collaboration with Co-ops and Mutuals Wales, the Social Co-operation Forum is hosting a visit to Wales for Mr Koichi Sato and Ms Yukiko Yamazaki from the Japanese Consumer Co-operative Institute.
Koichi Sato and I met at a Co-ops UK Congress in 2013. Co-op events are renowed for being hospitable and seeing Koichi on his own, we struck up a conversation which has continued since by sharing information of mutual interest.
From sharing information about Welsh Social Co-op developments, Koichi Sato expressed an interest in learning first hand about Disability Wales’ ‘Citizens Directed Co-operatives’. This lead to a visit being planned, and an invite being extended to fellow researcher Yukiko Yamazaki.
During their stay they meet with Care to Co-operate and Wales Co-op Centre colleagues to hear about our pioneering free social co-op support service; Jeff Brattan-Wilson, the Disability Wales Co-operative policy lead; visit our Senedd with Jeremy Miles, AM, chair of the Wales Parliamentary Labour Co-operative Group and participate in our 30 June Social Co-operation Forum meeting.
We are inviting co-operators to attend a lunch which will be followed by an informal discussion with their Japanese guests on ‘Meaningful participation in Co-operatives’. Yukiko will share research on voluntarism in Japanese healthcare co-operatives, whilst Koichi’s contribution includes: an overview of their consumer co-operative movement, co-operative education and member engagement.
The specific organisation of co-ops is very culture dependent. However, exporting into other cultures is risky. So is assuming, something that works in other cultures would work here. Words are not always as they seem, as I discovered talking with a Filipino Co-operative official over a meal the other night. Housing Co-ops in the Philippines, are not as we would understand them in the UK.
Co-operative education is one area where we can test our differences. In a recent exchange about an article, Koichi noted the Co-op Group’s campaign against loneliness by “giving communities money” as opposed to my emphasis on “giving communities the mental tools of self- help that can last a hundred years.” If you would like to attend, please e-mail Gemma.Murphy@wales.coop
As for a brief overview of Japanese Co-operative movement including consumer co-ops, the attached site will be a good information source for you. http://jccu.coop/eng/public/pdf/asia_2012_06.pdf Facts & Figures: http://jccu.coop/eng/public/pdf/ff_2015.pdf
Roughly speaking, consumer co-ops in Japan have 28 million members. Average amount of share per member is about £200, with total sales of £20 billion. Members’ share of sales is 75 percent at stores and 100 percent at home delivery. Our activities for peace: http://jccu.coop/eng/jccunews/pdf/201608_jccunews.pdf International Day of Co-operatives i2016: http://jccu.coop/eng/jccunews/pdf/201607_jccunews.pdf
Lecture on Co-ops to university students: http://jccu.coop/eng/jccunews/pdf/201602_jccunews.pdf