2012 International Summit of Cooperatives

The 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives Unveils its Program

Quebec City (ots/PRNewswire) - Unique topics for the advancement and recognition

of the cooperative and mutualist model

In conjunction with the launch of the United Nations' International Year of Cooperatives, the 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives ( http://www.2012intlsummit.coop) has unveiled a unique and diverse program covering topics of interest to the cooperative and mutual community that have not been previously discussed. The goal of the program, which focuses on the financial and socio-economic aspects and global socio-political influence of cooperatives and mutuals, is to create opportunities to do business differently.

Discussions will focus on the need to change the current economic system by showing what recognition for the cooperative and mutualist business model can do. Priority will be given to solutions that will help cooperatives develop and enhance their performance so that they are better prepared to meet the economic and financial challenges they face.

Through six groundbreaking international studies by McKinsey & Company ( http://www.mckinsey.com), Deloitte ( http://www.deloitte.ca), IPSOS/UQAM ( http://www.ipsos.ca) and IRECUS ( http://www.usherbrooke.ca/irecus), the Summit will provide new insights into these models. The studies will cover key topics such as people's perception and expectations of the cooperative and mutualist model, the global socio-economic impact of cooperatives and mutuals, the issues and opportunities that major global trends present for cooperatives, as well as cooperative and mutual growth strategies.

"The contribution that cooperatives and mutuals make to the global economy will receive the recognition it deserves," said Dame Pauline Green, President of the International Co-operative Alliance, an international organization and one of the three co-hosts of the Summit. Presidents and CEOs from the 300 largest cooperatives in the world, whose combined economic power is equal to the 10th largest global economy, will share their strategies and vision of development for the cooperative and mutualist model in the face of global challenges. "We are looking forward to welcoming them to Quebec City, the birthplace of the Canadian cooperative movement," said Monique F. Leroux, Chair of the Board, President and CEO of Desjardins Group, a co-host of the Summit.

The Summit program will cover issues of concern to the cooperative and mutual community: What levers are available to cooperatives and mutuals? How can they remain agile and innovative and become leaders in constantly changing markets? How, in the current environment, can we meet the needs of members while contributing to an active association life? All the cooperatives will have the opportunity to tackle these questions, including the smallest cooperatives, which have distinguished themselves on the world stage through their expertise.

Productivity, financing and capitalization will also be on the agenda. "These subjects will also be discussed at the official pre-Summit event Imagine 2012 ( http://www.imagine2012.coop), an international conference on cooperative economics organized by Saint Mary's University," added Dr. J. Colin Dodds, President of the Canadian university and co-host of the Summit. Since cooperatives and mutuals face market competition, they must also continue to perform and differentiate themselves from the prevailing business model, while staying true to their cooperative values. International financial experts will present their vision of how cooperatives can find capitalization and financing on the markets.

Finally, representatives from various international organizations and different countries and governments around the world will discuss the global socio-economic influence of cooperatives and mutuals. They will provide some of the answers that will help determine how cooperatives can gain more awareness and recognition and exert a fair share of influence in socio-political decision-making.

With its many theme-based workshops focusing on the cooperatives' various areas of activity and more than 125 world-renowned speakers expected to attend, the 2012 International Summit of Cooperatives promises to be a unique source of global information. In their workshops, practitioners from the cooperative and mutualist community will be discussing best practices in the areas of governance, performance, training, retention, inter-cooperation , social responsibility and internationalization.

For further information: (for journalists only): Nathalie Genest Press relations +1-514-281-7275 1-866-866-7000, ext. 7275 (Canada only) nathalie.genest@2012intlsummit.coop

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