Co-operatives operate in many sectors of human economic activity – be it manufacturing, sales of products, farming or various types of services provision ranging from health care or social services to car repairs. Also the number of co-operatives currently operating in the world is astonishing and the scope of their activity is very vast. In this section we hence selected only a few examples of co-operatives from different parts of the world and different areas of their activity.
Home Green Home, USA
A worker-owned natural cleaning service co-operative founded and owned by Latino women in the San Francisco area. The mission of the co-operative is to provide employment to immi-grant women to improve their quality of life and enhance their socio-economic stability. The co-operative provides cleaning services with ecological products. Its members are committed to taking care of people‘s health and the environment. The co-operative was established with the vision of being a replicable business model for other women in the Latino community, and to support a democratic and inclusive community economy.
Humana Nova, Croatia
Social Cooperative Humana Nova Čakovec employs disabled and other socially excluded people through the production and sales of textile products made from ecological and recycled fabrics. The mission of the co-operative is to economically and socially empower the poor and socially marginalised and provide an environmentally sustainable alternative to the mass production of clothing and to diminish the negative environmental impacts of the textile industry – one of the most polluting and waste-producing global industries.
Cooperation Jackson, USA
Cooperation Jackson is an organisation founded to develop an economically uplifting democratic “solidarity economy” in Jackson, Mississippi. Its aims are to develop a series of independent but connected institutions and enterprises which can empower residents of Jackson, especially those who are poor, unemployed, black, or Latino. Cooperation Jackson aims to carry out a vision of a radically democratic city. One big piece of this goal involves establishing a network of worker co-operatives and co-operative institutions as the way to build community wealth, stability, racial equity, and economic democracy. Several co-operatives already exist as part of the Cooperation Jackson network. These include lawn care business The Green Team, organic vegetable farm Freedom Farms, and print shop The Center for Community Production, which also operates a 3D printer. These co-operatives try to alleviate causes of poverty and discrimination while operating in an ecologically sustainable manner. There is also a co-operative incubator called the Balagoon Center. The organisation owns about three hectares of land which it operates as a community land trust.
Green Energy Cooperative, Croatia
The main aim of the Croatian co-operative Zelena energetska zadruga (ZEZ) or Green Energy Cooperative, established in 2013, is to help people and their communities to transform energy production in more democratic and sustainable way. It promotes the idea that energy production should be in the hands of people who should be able to participate in planning and producing their energy. ZEZ is supporting the establishment of other energy co-ops and deals with the management and financing of renewable energy sources and energy efficiency projects. The co-operative is working with local communities, but also with partners on the European level.
Tři ocásci, the Czech Republic
The co-operative café, restaurant and confectionery located in Brno, Czech Republic serves Fair Trade coffee and vegan meals. It subscribes to the principles of slow food and its space also hosts the “Underground university” organising educational events and a library where people can share their books. Their mission is to foster human rights and non-violence, to build informed and confident civil society and promote economic alternatives that serve the people, not profit.