[STUDY] Comparative study of the French, European and World Top 100 cooperative enterprises


Olivier Frey, for Coop FR les entreprises coopératives (France), 2022
For the first time, a comparative study of the French, European and World Top 100 cooperative enterprises (2019 figures) looks at the economic (turnover, sectors of activity) and social (employment) weight of the 100 largest cooperatives at European and World level.


French cooperative enterprises are leaders in Europe and in the world

French cooperative enterprises represent 25% of the global turnover of the top 100, with 344.75 billion dollars, ahead of Germany (15.9%), Japan (11%) and the United States (10.1%). France is even more important in terms of turnover at European level, with 36.6% of the top 100. In 2019, of the 100 largest cooperative enterprises in Europe, 23 were French, 14 were German and 12 were Dutch.

Cooperative employment is highly concentrated in Europe

The 100 largest cooperative enterprises in the world employ almost 3 million people (2,987,372 employees), of which just over 2.5 million are in Europe. European cooperatives account for 80% of the salaried jobs in the World Top 100. With 613,351 employees in 13 cooperative enterprises, France is the second nation in the world top 100 in terms of employment, behind Germany (857,964 employees) and ahead of Switzerland (223,522 employees).

Three leading business sectors worldwide

The most represented sectors of activity among the 100 largest cooperative enterprises in the world are agriculture and agri-food, trade and banking. In France, while trading cooperatives are the most important in terms of turnover, agricultural and agri-food cooperatives and banking cooperatives also have a significant weight. The study of the top 100 in the United States, the United Kingdom and Spain shows particularities in the housing, energy and industry sectors.
Beyond the strong positioning of France within the global cooperative economy, this study allows us to enrich the prospective reflection: on the sectors of the future, on the impact of cooperative employment and on the statistical perimeter, in particular.
Will we see the emergence in the top 100 of sectors other than agri-food, trade and banking?  Digital platforms? Health? Healthy food? Using examples from Europe and around the world, we can ask ourselves what sectors will emerge in the future.

The study questions also the ideal perimeter for measuring the impact of cooperative employment. The “social perimeter” of cooperatives (including indirect jobs) allows us to give a broader account of their economic and social impact in the territories.