On 7 July 2018, cooperatives around the world will celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives. Through the slogan Sustainable societies through cooperation cooperatives will show how, thanks to their cooperative values, principles and governance structures, these organisations have sustainability and resilience at their core, with concern for community as the seventh of their guiding principles.
The theme for the 2018 International Day of Co-operatives (Saturday 7 July) was confirmed earlier this year along with the slogan “Sustainable societies through co-operation”. The aim of the theme is to give cooperatives the opportunity to show how they run successful businesses while still respecting the natural environment and the resources it offers.
Speaking on behalf of the International Cooperative and Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF), Shaun Tarbuck, Chief Executive, said: “ICMIF members and the cooperative and mutual insurance sector as a whole are important and efficient instruments to fight poverty around the world. Our members and their communities bring people together in a democratic way. They enable people to take control of their economic future and protect their lives and livelihoods, even in areas which may be prone to natural disasters. As our member organisations are not owned by shareholders, the economic and social benefits of their activity stay in the communities where they are established which is critical when it comes to protecting against poverty”.
The 2016 ICMIF Global Mutual Market Share research (published October 2017) findings confirmed the growing social impact of mutual and cooperative insurance in 2016. During its Biennial Conference held in London, ICMIF told the 350 delegates from 37 countries that 990m policyholders now have mutual/cooperative insurance products, an increase of 2m since the previous year and an overall increase of 110m since 2012. Cooperative and mutual insurers have consistently increased their policyholder numbers since 2012 and in 2016 the sector represented almost 27% of the total insurance market, compared to 24% in 2012.
The 2018 International Day of Cooperatives will be celebrated on the Saturday 7 July and ICMIF, in collaboration with The International Cooperative Alliance (of which ICMIF is the sectoral organisation for insurance), is encouraging its members to use the hashtag #CoopsDay and the Cooperators guide to spread the word.
Amongst the ICMIF membership there are many inspiring and commendable examples of sustainability. We believe that the cooperative/mutual insurance sector, as the provider of financial security and prosperity to communities and individuals, has an inherent responsibility to ensuring its actions, operations and impacts are acceptable to stakeholders, including the environment.
ICMIF members providing insurance for low-income populations, or microinsurance, are particularly working hard to support the SDGs and increase sustainability. Microinsurance is now firmly accepted as an integral tool for poverty alleviation and building resilience in communities against natural and man-made disasters. Recent global initiatives recognising the importance of risk management for disaster relief include the UN Sendai Agreement on Disaster Risk and Resilience, the G7 Climate Risk Insurance Initiative ‘InsuResilience’ and the Climate Change Summit, COP21.
In January 2015, ICMIF launched the 5-5-5 Mutual Microinsurance Strategy to develop mutual microinsurance in five countries, reaching out to 5 million uninsured low-income households, equate to 25 million individuals in total. The ultimate objective being to take low-income people out of poverty.
The countries identified to take part in the ICMIF 5-5-5 Strategy are India, The Philippines, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Colombia. The 5-5-5 Strategy is unique in that it is:
- Mutual-focused: Cooperative and mutual insurers are inherently inclusive because they evolve out of a protection need not addressed by the government or the private sector
- ICMIF member companies on the ground: The 5-5-5 Strategy works with member organisations that are known and trusted by ICMIF.
- Three phased approach: A three-phased focused, impact-based approach has been devised to achieve our target, consisting of a diagnostic ‘research’ phase, an evidence-based strategy phase, followed by a country intervention programme which will see the strategy being put into practice.
Mutual microinsurance can specifically assist with at least five of the SDGs namely Goals 1, 2, 3, 5 and 13:
- GOAL 1 NO POVERTY: Will help people escape the vicious cycle of poverty and provide a safety net to vulnerable communities.
- GOAL 2: ZERO HUNGER: Will help to ensure food security through the delivery of insurance protection to smallholder farmers, amongst others.
- GOAL 3: GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING: In addition to increasing access to health insurance, will focus on health prevention and access to quality healthcare.
- GOAL 5 GENDER EQUALITY: Will positively impact on women who are most often the policyholders of a mutual microinsurance provider.
- GOAL 13 CLIMATE ACTION: The target communities of the 5-5-5 Strategy are the most vulnerable to climate change.
About the International Day of Cooperatives
The United Nations International Day of Cooperatives is celebrated annually on the first Saturday of July.
The aim of this celebration is to increase awareness on cooperatives, highlight the complementary goals and objectives of the United Nations and the international cooperative movement, underscore the contributions of the movement to the resolution of the major problems addressed by the United Nations and strengthen and extend partnerships between the international cooperative movement and other actors.