“Cooperatives are a reminder to the international community that it is possible to pursue both economic viability and social responsibility.” That’s not me. That’s UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon speaking, declaring 2012 the Year of the Co-Op! 

That’s right—with the theme of Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World,” the UN is seeking to to encourage the growth and establishment of cooperatives all over the world. A billion people are members of co-ops around the world. Over 100 million jobs are in cooperatives. The top 300 have combined sales in excess of $1 trillion. That’s according to this handy video created by the ILO.

The United Nations is urging all states and stakeholders “to take advantage of the IYC to promote cooperatives and raise awareness of their contribution to social and economic development and promote the formation and growth of cooperatives.”

Have a sense that the United States might be lagging? Send them a reminder. The Proclamation of 2012 as International Year of Cooperatives is available in all six official UN languages.