On 16 November 2017, key members of COPAC’s technical working group on cooperative statistics presented the ongoing work to improve the quality and accessibility of data on cooperative enterprises at the International Cooperative Alliance’s Global Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Simel Esim, Head of the Cooperatives Unit within the Enterprises Department of the International Labour Organization, kicked off the session with an overview of the path towards the October 2018 International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS). She outlined the efforts of the ILO towards improved statistics on cooperatives, and the work currently underway to support the development of guidelines for the ICLS.
Chiara Carini, researcher for the European Research Institute on Cooperatives and Social Enterprises, presented a series of country case studies produced for the ILO that examined the state of cooperative statistics. The countries analysed included Brazil, Canada, Colombia, the Philippines, the Russian Federation and the United Kingdom. Many of these case studies have been summarized in a series of briefs available on the COPAC website.
Marie J. Bouchard, Chair of the COPAC technical working group, presented a conceptual framework for the measurement of cooperatives and its operationalization, a publication commissioned by the ILO and available online here.
Hyungsik Eum, Data Analyst for the International Organization of Industrial and Service Cooperatives (CICOPA), discussed the statistical handling of work and employment in cooperatives. Mr Eum most recently completed work on the second global report on “Cooperatives and Employment”.
In the ensuing discussion, the following issues were raised: timeliness of statistics as they pertain to crisis response; the need for alternative approaches to cooperatives’ social and economic contribution; the reliability of reported official statistics (even when robust methods are used); the relevance of national dialogue between national statistics offices and cooperative movements; and the need for tracking participation of women in cooperatives as members, workers and leaders.
The session was well-attended by cooperators from around the world. More than 1,800 co-operators participated in the Global Conference.