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Highly recommended article by secretary general of Co-operatives UK about social and solidarity economy in France. Are they setting an example for other countries to follow?

Ed Mayo's Blog

I had the opportunity recently to meet up with colleagues from the co-operative sector in France and to hear more about the success it has had in advancing a bold programme for a ‘social and solidarity economy’.

In France, 23,000 co-operative enterprises employ more than a million people (4.5% of the labour force) and have 24.4 million members. Co-ops are dominant in a number of sectors, including agriculture and food (40% market share), retail banking (60%) and retail distribution (30%). They are spread throughout the country – whereas nine out of ten large companies are headquartered around Paris, four out of five (76%) of the largest co-ops are headquartered outside in the regions.

The leading co-operatives include: Nicolas Feuillatte, the third ranked champagne brand, selling nine million bottles a year; Agrial, whose ‘Florette’ brand represent the leading European ready-to-use salad products; Intersport, the leading international distributor of sporting goods; Leclerc…

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