Significant Global Cooperatives

Purchasing Cooperatives:

Business owned and managed democratically by individual businesses that club together to collectively purchase their inputs. (e.g. Farmers collectively purchasing fertiliser, shop-keepers clubbing together to collectively purchasing their supplies)

Ace Hardware Corporation (USA): A hardware purchasing cooperative representing a number of retailers by buying hardware wholesale for its various shops.

Founded: 1924

Significance: largest retail cooperative in the USA 

Membership: 5,000 individual shop-owners (2017)  

Turnover: $5bn (2015) 

Marketing (Producer) Cooperatives:

Businesses owned and managed democratically by individual producers whose produce or output it sells. (e.g. farmers) 

Anand Milk Union Limited (Amul) (India): A dairy cooperative based in Gujarat India.

Founded: 1946 

Significance: Largest dairy cooperative in the world 

Membership: 3.6 million individual dairy farmers  

Turnover: $5.5 billion (2018) 

Supplier Cooperatives:

Businesses owned and managed by their suppliers (e.g. dairies owned by the farmers who supply to it; fruit processing plants owned by the farmers who supply to it; credit cards owned by banks who supply it with finance)

Land O Lakes (Milk Processor – USA)

Founded: July 8, 1921 


Membership: 1,959 direct producer-members, 751 member-cooperatives, 3,963 farmer-owners (2017) 

Turnover: $14.9bn (2018) 

Sunkist Growers (Fruit Processor-USA)

Founded29 August 1893  


Membership: 6,000 farmers 



Consumer Cooperatives:  

Businesses owned and managed democratically by their customers (e.g. shops, credit unions, housing associations) 

The Coop (UK-Retail)  

Founded: 1844 

Significance: Largest retail cooperative in the UK 

Membership: 4.5 million active members 

Turnover: £9.5 bn (2017) 


Raiffeisen Bank (Switzerland-Finance)

Founded: 1899 

Significance: third-largest banking group in Switzerland 

Membership: The 246 independent Raiffeisen banks; 1.9 million individual cooperative members 

Total assets: currently at CHF 229bn £186bn) (2019) 


Co-op City (USA-Housing Cooperative)

Founded: 1973 

Significance: Largest housing cooperative in the world. 

Membership: 43,752 residents; whites: 8.5% Blacks: 60.5%, 27.7%, Asian: 1.2%, other: 2.1%. (2010) 

Median Income: $43,431 

Worker Cooperatives:

Businesses owned and managed by their workers

Mondragon Cooperative Corporation (Multi-Sector-Spain)

Founded: 1956 

Significance: The world’s largest worker cooperative, a network of cooperatives including a bank, auto, computer, and household goods industries, research and development centers, a university, and a retail chain.  

Membership: 102 cooperatives, 85,000 individual members in total 

Annual turnover: €13 billion (2015) 

Cooperative Home Care Associates (Home Healthcare – USA)

Founded: 1985 

Significance: Largest worker cooperative in the USA Formed to provide health care at home.  

Membership: 2,000 mainly African-American and Latina women  


Suma Foods (Wholesale Food Distributor UK)

Founded: 1977 

Significance: Cooperative that pays all members the same salary 

Membership: 160 individual worker owners 

Turnover: £40mn (2015) 

John Lewis/Waitrose (Retail- UK)

Founded: 1864 

Became employee owned: 1950  

Significance: Owned by a trust on behalf of the employees. Not directly by the members, so technically not a cooperative. Not necessarily managed in accordance with all the 7 cooperative principles.  

Membership: 83,900 member-employees 

Turnover:  £10.2bn (2018)