English

Coop FR is the representative organisation of the French co-operative movement. 

OUR MISSIONS

Coop FR is the voice of more than 23,000 French co-operative businesses in every sector and their one million employees.

Started by its members in 1968, Coop FR grew out of the desire of the different “families” of co-operatives (agricultural co-operatives, consumer co-operatives, workers' co-operatives, co-operative banks, etc.) to ensure the promotion of co-operative values and principles and defend the interests of co-operatives in public policy.

 “The purpose of the Association is to defend and promote the fundamental principles of co-operation as defined by the International Co-operative Alliance.” 
- art.2 of the bylaws

Briefly, the mission of Coop FR is to:

  • Communicate and raise awareness among the general public, teachers, researchers, and government about the unique features, values and principles of co-operatives.
  • Be a forum for the different families of co-operatives and advance the ideas developed within the organisation.
  • Lobby government to maintain the right legal and financial environment for co-operatives.
  • Represent and defend the interests of co-operatives at the national and international level.

Coop FR works on gaining greater recognition by government authorities of the unique features of co-operatives and the enterprises of the social economy, which co-operatives are a part of together with mutuals, voluntary organisations and foundations.
 
Coop FR
76, rue Saint-Lazare - 75 009 Paris
Tel.: +33 1 42 93 59 59
contact@entreprises.coop 

WHAT IS A CO-OPERATIVE? 

A co-operative is a democratic business model. A private company, it differs from a conventional company by its governance based on the principle of “one person, one vote” and the dual status of its members who are also its customers, producers or employees. 

Co-operative identity is based on the seven co-operative principles set out at the international level by the International Co-operative Alliance’s 1995 Statement and reaffirmed at the national level by the co-operative identity statement issued by the French co-operative movement in October 2010.

Definition

Co-operatives are a democratic business model based on the values of responsibility, solidarity and transparency. These are private companies whose primary purpose is to provide individual and collective services to their members. The co-operative and its members, who are also its customers, producers or employees, are bound by lasting mutual commitments.
 
In their daily business, co-operatives put into action their values of democracy, solidarity, responsibility, long-term viability, transparency and serving the local community.

Video What is a co-operative? (French version subtitled in English)]

TYPES OF CO-OPERATIVES 

Co-operatives can be grouped into different families according to the type of member and the sector. Depending on who the members are, each of whom owns at least one share, and the nature of the business, co-operatives can be defined as user co-operatives, co-operative banks, business co-operatives, workers' co-operatives (or producer co-operatives), and lastly the European co-operative society.


Co-operatives form a diverse co-operative landscape

In user co-operatives, the members are users of the goods and services produced:

  • consumer cooperatives (the customers/consumers are members),
  • school cooperatives (run by students with help from teachers), 
  • co-owned housing cooperatives (the owners manage the co-owned housing), 
  • housing co-operatives (the residents manage and improve their housing, which is part of the same building or housing development),
  • low-income housing cooperatives (providing affordable homeownership and rented social housing).  

In co-operative banks, the members are customers, savers or borrowers. 

In business co-operatives, the members run their own businesses: 

  • agricultural co-operatives (farmers belong to the co-operative), 
  • co-operative fisheries (made up of professional fishermen), 
  • co-operatives of small business-owners (they organise services in common), 
  • co-operatives of haulage contractors (the members are haulage contractors),
  • co-operatives of retailers (independent shop owners are members of a group).

Worker co-operatives or producer co-operatives are the only co-operatives where the members are the employees, who are majority shareholders. This group is made up of workers' co-operatives, known in France by the acronym Scop (Société coopérative et participative) and business and employment co-operatives (coopératives d’activité et d’emploi), which help the self-employed start up their own businesses. 
 
Multi-stakeholder co-operatives are made up of various stakeholders who have a shared objective and always include the employees and clients of the business. These are co-operative social enterprises, known in France by the abbreviation Scic (Société coopérative d’intérêt collectif or community-interest co-operative).
 
Lastly, the recently adopted European co-operative society (société cooperative européene, abbreviated as SCE), an addition to the range of legal forms, makes it possible to create a common co-operative business across borders in the European Union. 

Video Why a co-operative? (French version subtitled in English)

KEY FIGURES

The 23,000 co-operative businesses in France have 1.3 million employees and can be found in every sector. In 2018, their combined turnover was 324 billion euros, including subsidiaries. 28.7 million members participate in the democratic governance of co-operative businesses. 

They are strongly rooted regionally with 73% of the headquarters located in the regions outside Paris. 

They are leaders on several different markets, for example:

  • agricultural co-operatives represent 40% of the French food industry with well-known brands (Yoplait, Banette, Delpeyrat, Nicolas Feuillate, etc.);
  • co-operatives of retailers represent 30% of the retailing industry (Leclerc, Système U, Krys, Intersport, etc.);
  • co-operative banks represent 70% of retail banking (Crédit Agricole, BPCE, Crédit Mutuel).

28.7 million members are involved in French co-operative businesses. Unlike companies listed on the stock exchange, which have to serve the interests of their shareholders and focus on short-term profitability, the priority of co-operative businesses is giving the surpluses back to their members, who are also their customers, producers or employees.

Co-operative businesses play a major role in the economy and have been expanding and diversifying through acquisitions, mergers and creating subsidiaries. 

Nevertheless, to remain true to their model, they respect the fact that these changes must always benefit the co-operative’s members (members or co-operators) and that their governance must stay democratic.


The Top 100 co-operative businesses (2020 edition)

The combined turnover of the Top 100 co-operative businesses in France was 247 billion euros in 2018. Constantly increasing, this shows the dynamism of the co-operative model.
 
Five cooperatives of the Top 100 have turnovers above 15 billion euros and 36 had turnovers above 1 billion euros in 2018.
 
Three co-operative businesses -Crédit Agricole (1st), BPCE (2nd), E. Leclerc (8th)- are among the top 10 World businesses.
 
The co-operative banking groups – Crédit Agricole, BPCE et Crédit Mutuel-CIC – are among the leading banks in both France and Europe with net banking income of 74.4 billion euros. 

The Top 100 co-operative businesses and their subsidiaries employ 906,000 people.

28.3 million members participate in the democratic governance of the Top 100 co-operative businesses by holding equal shares and defining collectively how to meet their needs.

TO FIND OUT MORE

PANORAMA DES ENTREPRISES COOPÉRATIVES, 2020 [pdf] French version

TOP 100 DES ENTREPRISES COOPÉRATIVES, 2020 [pdf] French version