World Cooperative Monitor: new ranking of the largest cooperatives is now available

20 January 2021


Reporting a total turnover of over two trillion USD and focus on cooperative response to the Covid-19 crisis and contribution to United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 13 (Climate Action).

The International Cooperative Alliance (ICA) and the European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises (Euricse) launched today the 2020 edition of the World Cooperative Monitor during an international webinar. The report is the ninth annual one and explores the economic and social impact of the largest cooperatives and mutuals worldwide, providing a ranking of the Top 300, sector rankings, and an analysis of responses to the current global challenges: Covid-19 and climate change.

Download the 2020 issue

2020 Results

The Top 300 cooperatives and mutuals report a total turnover of over two trillion USD (USD 2,146 billion), based on 2018 financial data. These organisations operate in various economic sectors, the agricultural (104 enterprises) and insurance sectors (101 enterprises) being the ones leading the list. The wholesale and retail trade sector represents the third biggest economic sector (57 enterprises).

This year’s results show the largest cooperatives performing well, with only slight variations in the top positions across the sectors. In the Top 300 ranking based on turnover, Groupe Crédit Agricole (France) placed first, as it did last year, whereas Groupe BPCE (France) swapped with the German REWE Group, which is now second. More than 1/3 of the world’s 300 largest cooperative business by turnover are cooperative or mutual insurers with Japanese ICMIF member Zenkyoren ranked as the 4th largest cooperative.

Most of the Top 300 enterprises are from the most industrialised countries such as the USA (74 enterprises), France (44 enterprises), Germany (30 enterprises) and Japan (24 enterprises).

In the Top 300 based on the ratio of turnover over gross domestic product (GDP) per capita ranking – which relates the turnover of the enterprise to the wealth of the country – two Indian producer cooperatives reach the first and second positions: ICMIF member IFFCO and Gujarat Cooperative Milk Marketing Federation Limited.

Referring to the most represented sectors, Agriculture and Food Industries is led by the Japanese Zen-Noh; at the top of Industry and Utilities is Corporación Mondragón (Spain) and in Wholesale and Retail Trade the German REWE Group tops the list.

Focus on Covid-19

2020 will be marked as a year of unprecedented global crisis: Covid-19. Despite the huge impact the health crisis has had, cooperatives have proven to be resilient and innovative. The Monitor includes a case story about the freelancers’ cooperative SMART and its actions towards helping its members, primarily from the culture and creative arts sector. There is also a special mention in the report for Argentinian ICMIF member Grupo Sancor Seguros as the cooperative insurer had highlighted the positive impact that cooperative principles played in gaining the trust of customers, trust obtained through its contributions to the community during the pandemic.

The overall result of the analysis shared in the report is that despite being thoroughly affected by the Covid-19 crisis, cooperative businesses prove once again to be resilient in times of trouble.

Focus on SDG 13

This year’s report has a special analysis of the Top 300 and the thirteenth United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 13 (Climate Action – SDG 13). A case related to SDG 13 is explored in-depth within the report: Rabobank (Netherlands) and its innovative banking for climate consciousness. Along with this analysis, featured within the section is an interview with the Chief Values Officer of Midcounties (UK), Peter Westall.

Bruno Roelants, Director-General of the ICA said: “The global pandemic has put a strain on many businesses, but as you’ll read in this report, many large cooperatives have stepped in to help employees, members, and communities to face the health and economic repercussions of COVID 19. We wanted to thank the newly formed ICA International Cooperative Entrepreneurship Think Tank (ICETT), a group of large cooperatives engaged in strategic thinking around cooperative entrepreneurship, for its contribution to this year’s World Cooperative Monitor, as well as the organisations that provided their data, and the supporters of this year’s edition for making it possible”.

Gianluca Salvatori, Euricse Secretary General said: “2020 faced us with the need to address a social emergency without depressing our economies. As has always been the case for cooperatives. So, their model is more topical than ever. And the task of the Monitor is to show how the cooperative model is capable of facing major challenges, activating important resources through large organizations, without any inferiority complex.”

For member-only strategic content on the cooperative/mutual insurance sector, ICMIF members have exclusive access to a range of online resources through the ICMIF Knowledge Hub.

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