Co-operatives and Mutuals around the world

Co-operatives operate and thrive around the world. According to the World Co-operative Monitor, the top 300 co-operatives and mutuals report a total turnover of 2 trillion USD (2019).

More than 1.2 billion people, one in every six people on the planet, are members of any of the three million co-operatives in the world!

International co-operation


  • International Co-operative Alliance
    The International Co-operative Alliance is the apex organisation for co-operatives worldwide. Established in 1895 to advance the co-operative model, it represents 304 co-operative federations and organisations across 105 countries. The International Co-operative Alliance represents 1.2 billion people through its membership from the 2.6 million co-operatives worldwide. One in every six people on the planet are co-operators.
  • Cooperatives Europe
    Cooperatives Europe is the voice of cooperative enterprises in Europe, representing the International Co-operative Alliance.
  • Co-operatives of the Americas
    The regional office of the International Co-operative Alliance for the Americas.
  • The Alliance Africa
    The regional office of the International Co-operative Alliance for Africa.
  • International Co-operative Alliance Asia-Pacific
    The regional office of the International Co-operative Alliance for the Asia-Pacific.


National co-operation


  • Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) (COBA)
    COBA is the industry advocate for Australia’s customer-owned banking sector.
  • Instil
    Instil is the peak professional body for mutual directors, managers and employees in Australia.
  • Co-ops NSW
    Co-ops NSW is the peak body for co-operatives in NSW.
  • Co-operatives WA
    Co-operatives WA is the peak body for co-operatives in WA.
  • Employee Ownership Australia
    Employee Ownership Australia is an active voice for broad-based employee ownership and dynamic workplace participation in Australian and New Zealand companies. It works with government and individual companies to implement employee ownership or employee share plans.
  • Australian Friendly Society Pharmacies Association (AFSPA)
    AFSPA is the voice of mutual community pharmacy in Australia. Friendly Society Pharmacies are owned and operated by not-for-profit Friendly Societies rather than pharmacists.
  • The Cooperatives Alliance
    The Alliance membership is comprised of eleven member Co-operatives based on the NSW North Coast.
  • Industry Super Australia (ISA)
    All 15 Industry SuperFunds are run in the best interest of members with a common goal of providing the best possible retirement outcome for members. Industry SuperFunds also work together on research, policy development, government relations and advocacy to improve the superannuation system for all Australians.


Co-operatives in Australia

Co-operative and mutual enterprises are a significant contributor to the Australian economy. 8 in 10 Australians are members of at least one co-operative or mutual, with many being members of multiple entities (there are 31.3 million memberships in Australia). Total value added of the co-operative and mutual sector is $140 billion – 8.3% of GDP, and, excluding mutual super funds, total revenue of the top 100 co-operatives and mutuals is $31.9 billion. The sector provides core business support for over 160,000 businesses.


The contribution of the CME sector to the Australian Economy

The information below is from T Mazzarol, Australia’s Leading Co-operative and Mutual Enterprises in 2019, which is part of the CEMI Discussion Paper series. 

CMEs play a vital and quantifiable role locally and internationally. The data shows:

Infographic: The role of CMEs in Australia

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