by Chiara Carini (European Research Institute
on Cooperative and Social Enterprises)
Hanan El-Youssef(International Co-operative Alliance)
& TheoSparreboom (Statistics Department, International Labour Organization
In recent years, the issue of data collection and the
measurement of the impact of co-operatives has been the focus of
scientific and practitioner debate. In order to understand the role
and potential of co-operatives, it is necessary to realistically
quantify the overall size of the sector. Despite growing interest,
knowledge about the economic and social dimensions of co-operatives
worldwide is still fragmentary. A realistic estimate of the
economic and social impact of co-operatives is required to
demonstrate that co-operatives are neither small nor marginal
organizations. Evidence is needed to be able to show that a valid
model exists that is different from the for-profit model dominant
in today's global economy. Developing such an estimate requires
efforts to define the target population, identify the most
appropriate tools for data collection and, finally, identify and
define the key indicators for the assessment of co-operatives'
economic and social impact.
Given these premises, this chapter will provide some considerations on the subject of data collection, presenting the importance of collecting data on co-operatives from the perspectives of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Co-operative Alliance, two organizations that are increasingly involved in promoting co-operatives worldwide. In particular, we will explain why the two organizations advocate the collection of data on co-operatives, and we will present some projects advanced by these organizations, including the World Co-operative Monitor, a project promoted by the International Co-operative Alliance in conjunction with the European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises (EURICSE).