Statistics on cooperatives and the wider social and solidarity economy (SSE)

Statistics on cooperatives are essential to quantify the impact of cooperatives on their members and the economy as a whole. Currently reliable and comparable statistics on cooperatives are missing in most countries of the world. The ILO, in collaboration with its constituents and a number of national and international partners, has developed guidelines on the measurement of cooperatives, both in terms of employment and economic value added.

ILO’s Promotion of Cooperatives Recommendation, 2002 (No. 193) states that national policies should “seek to improve national statistics on cooperatives with a view to the formulation and implementation of development policies”. To reaffirm this, the 19th Session of the International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) in 2013 included cooperatives in the Conference agenda for the first time in its history. The discussion converged towards the need for accurate, reliable, relevant and comparable statistics on the economic and social impact of cooperatives on the economies.

At the 19th ICLS, a Resolution concerning further work on statistics of cooperatives was adopted with a view to carry out further developmental work on the measurement of cooperatives and conduct pilot studies in a number of countries to test various measurement approaches on collecting data on cooperatives. In line with the Resolution, the ILO Department of Statistics, the Cooperatives Unit at the ILO Enterprises Department and the members of the Technical Working Group at Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC) prepared the guidelines on statistics of cooperatives.

At the 20th ICLS, the Guidelines concerning Statistics of Cooperatives were adopted on 18th October 2018. The delegates from across regions as well as workers’ and employers’ delegates welcomed the draft guidelines and voted for their adoption at the ILO Headquarters in Geneva. The objective of these guidelines is to facilitate the development of a set of statistics on cooperatives that will provide an adequate information base for a wide range of descriptive, analytical and policy purposes related to cooperatives. The ILO will conduct pilot-testing of the guidelines in some countries in collaboration with its constituents and members of COPAC Technical Working Group.