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Countries Building a Better World

July 8, 2016

Warwick, UK – On July 5 and 6th, 2016, cooperative representatives from 8 countries came together with the International Co-operative Alliance to talk business. Aligning with the International Day of Cooperatives, this group gathered to share best practices and strategize how cooperatives around the world can better share their co-op identity and build awareness of the cooperative business model. This event marked the first meeting of its kind and included representatives from China, Finland, Greece, India, Jamaica, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States – uniting together as cooperatives for a better world.

Cooperative associations, businesses, and leaders have identified a universal need to build awareness of the cooperative business model and see an opportunity for success in working together. Looking to inspire, co-ops are asking the world, “What if?”

What if money earned in a community stayed in the community? What if people were as important as the bottom line? What if our children didn’t have to choose between a good deal and a good deed? What if the way we do business could reshape our future? What if we stopped saying “what if” and supported the cooperative business model?

Each country in attendance and others around the world are asking these questions and doing so on social and conventional media. Countries at the meeting shared videos they produced, all matching in their “What If” message but unique in the images and content representing the people and the cooperatives in their country. This video production and meeting mark the first collaborative steps taken as a group.

Co-hosted by the International Co-operative Alliance and Midcounties Co-operative at their headquarters in Warwick, England, Midcounties CEO Ben Reid welcomed the group during the UK’s Co-operative Fortnight – a celebration of co-ops throughout the country with special deals, promotions and events.


  • China, Zhang Wangshu – ACFSMC
  • Finland, Matti Pikkarrinen & Maarjana Saarikoski – SOK Corporation
  • Greece, Lucas Mprechas – KAPA Network
  • India, Ankit Parihar – Indian Farmers Fertilizer Cooperative (IFFCO)
  • Jamaica, Clayton Hall – TIP Friendly Society
  • Japan, Kenki Maeda, JA-Zenchu (Central Union of Agricultural Co-operatives)
  • Japan, Osamu Nakano, JWCU (Japan’s Worker Cooperative Union)
  • Japan, Aya Ataka – JC-Soken (Cooperative General Research Institute)
  • United Kingdom, Ed Mayo – Co-operatives UK
  • United Kingdom, Giles Simon – Co-operatives UK
  • United Kingdom, Ben Reid – The Midcounties Co-operative
  • United States, Howard Brodsky – CCA Global Partners, Cooperatives for a Better World

Photos from Midcounties Co-operative