2012 to 2022: The Cooperative Decade

The Cooperative Decade

Why being a member of a cooperative really matters. How do you define yourself in business? What words spring to mind?

At the top of your list, you might have said “business owner”. You might think of yourself as a mechanic, even if you’re not on the tools quite so much these days. Maybe you said people manager, HR department, marketing expert, receptionist, accountant, warehouse manager or any of the other hundred jobs you do daily. But did you think about yourself as a cooperative member? Possibly not. (Although, we hope you did.)

Capricorn is one of three million cooperatives operating around the world. At least 12 per cent of all people belong to a cooperative—including you. As we prepare to mark the International Day of Cooperatives on 1 July, we wanted to take a closer look at why cooperatives—and your membership of one—really matters.

Cooperatives are enterprises based on ethics, values and principles

The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), the peak body for cooperatives globally, is blunt about why cooperatives are not only a different model to traditional profit-making businesses, but a vital alternative if we’re to create a more sustainable future.

“Through self-help and empowerment, reinvesting in their communities and concern for the wellbeing of people and the world in which we live, cooperatives nurture a long-term vision for sustainable economic growth, social development and environmental responsibility,” ICA says. In short, cooperatives put people before profits.

ICA says the values that characterise cooperatives are self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. “No investor-owned for-profit organisation can entirely incorporate (those values) into its culture, as much as it might try,” ICA claims. ICA also says cooperatives are based on four ethical values: honesty, openness, social responsibility and caring for others. We hope, as you read those words, they ring true for you in your experience as a Capricorn Member.

Leading and leveraging through Capricorn

As a cooperative, Capricorn is deeply invested in the success of both your business and the broader automotive repair industry. If your workshop thrives, so will we and so will our Preferred Supplier network. It’s why we will continue to focus on building mutually beneficial relationships across the industry and beyond. It's why we continually look for new ways to expand our services and our offerings into benefits like Capricorn Rewards and services like Capricorn Mutual. It’s why we keep an eye on future technologies, market trends and economic data, so we can provide timely and valuable services that benefit you.

As a cooperative, we put our members’ best interests at the centre of every decision we take. For you, as a Member, it means you can always be sure someone has your back. That you will always be able to leverage the power of the collective for the good of yourself, your family and your business.

A plan for the second cooperative decade

In 2012, the ICA published its Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade. It spelt out the measures that needed to be taken to spread the adoption of the cooperative model further.

The goals were lofty and admirable, including furthering “the economic and social progress of people, thereby contributing to international peace and security” and promoting “equality between men and women in all decision-making”.

A decade later, the ICA has revisited its goals and prepared a new blueprint for the decade ahead. It plans to make cooperatives both the business model preferred by people and the fastest-growing form of enterprise. It plans to do this through a combination of promotion and linking up to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Cooperatives helping to tackle the world’s challenges

ICA believes the updated blueprint provides a path for tackling some of the biggest issues facing the world today, like inequality and climate change. Take, for example, the leadership cooperatives have shown in tackling greenhouse gas emissions. According to the ICA’s World Cooperative Monitor, which tracks the activities of cooperatives around the world: “Large cooperatives contribute widely on this front (reducing greenhouse gas emissions), not only reducing their own emissions but taking action in their day-to-day operations but involving all the players in production chains in medium to long-term projects, leveraging their suppliers, members and customers to adopt low-carbon technologies and more sustainable behaviours.”

For example, major British retailer, wholesaler and insurer The Co-Operative Group plans to reduce its carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2025 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050. The cooperative has 4.3 million active members, 65,000 employees and more than 2500 stores around the UK—so it’ll be an impressive achievement if the target is met.

Reasons to feel proud of your cooperative

Being people-focused and collectivist, cooperatives have the power to drive change and make the world a better place to live. But, even putting those lofty ambitions to one side, cooperatives also have the power to create incredible change in your business— driving efficiency and helping you keep costs low by leveraging the cooperative’s purchasing power, sound in the knowledge that when you do business with us, you’re our priority, not our profits.

So, as the International Day of Cooperatives comes around on 1 July, hopefully you’ll feel proud to be a part of Capricorn and will think of yourself as a member of a cooperative, alongside all your other important roles.


1 Participation in the Capricorn Rewards scheme is subject to the Capricorn Rewards Terms and Conditions which can be found at cap.coop/tc.

2 Products sold through Capricorn Risk Services Pty Ltd (ABN 91 111 632 789) are: (i) discretionary risk protection products issued by Capricorn Mutual Ltd; and (ii) general insurance products issued by a range of insurers and brokered through Capricorn Insurance Services Pty Ltd. Before deciding to acquire any product you should consider the Product Disclosure Statement available from Capricorn Risk Services Pty Ltd to see if the product is appropriate for you. Capricorn Risk Services Pty Ltd is a Corporate Authorised Representative (No. 460893) of Capricorn Mutual Ltd (AFSL 230038) and Capricorn Insurance Services Pty Ltd (AFSL 435197).

This article was published 06/06/2023 and the content is current as at the date of publication.