Confederation of Finnish Co-operatives

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    This document has been made available in electronic format
         by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 
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                       15 September 1995

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               CONFEDERATION OF FINNISH COOPERATIVES 
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BACKGROUND

Cooperation forms an important part of the entrepreneurship
and the private enterprise sector in Finland. Established in
1899 as the Confederation of Finnish Cooperatives, Finn Coop
Pellervo (originally Pellervo Society) pioneered the ideas of
self-help and cooperation among the rural population of
Finland. 

At the beginning of the 20th century Finland's rural
population was faced with such problems as how to sell their
produce, finance operations and obtaining supplies. Finn Coop
Pellervo, as well as cooperative societies were founded to
specifically solve these problems. 

Also the general political situation in Finland, when the
country was striving for its national independence, was an
important factor speeding the foundation of the cooperative
movement in Finland. In this process the role of cooperation
was to strengthen the economic base of the Finnish economy as
an independent entity through widening the basis and resources
for entrepreneurship. 

Now, almost a century later, Finn Coop Pellervo has grown into
a unique apex organisation for the main part of Finnish
cooperative enterprises and societies, which share a common
background and economic philosophy, and a similar goal to
support and advance by means of cooperation the economic
interests and wellbeing of their members. 


MEMBER COMPANIES

Pellervo's member companies include both producer and consumer
cooperatives. They operate in the private sector of the
economy and are autonomous, i.e. established, owned and
democratically controlled by their individual members, whose
interest they promote in the most appropriate way possible.

Finn Coop Pellervo's member cooperatives have extended into
many essential branches of the economy. They are operating
primarily in the dairy industry, meat and egg production, wood
processing, farm supplies, wholesale and retail trade, banking
and insurance. 

Finn Coop Pellervo's 409 member companies had a combined
turnover of FIM 70,8 billion (about 12,6 billion USD) in 1993
which is about 75 % of the total turnover of all Finnish
cooperatives. Several of them are market leaders in specific
products.


PURPOSE

Finn Coop Pellervo is the national apex (umbrella/trade)
organisation for cooperative and cooperative-oriented
enterprises, and acts in society as their lobbyist, discussion
initiator and opinion former.  

It is also a service organisation providing its members with
the services they require as well as a framework for
cooperation. As a professional expert organisation it develops
cooperative entrepreneurship and business structures, and
works to create a positive corporate image for cooperation. 


ACTIVITIES

Entrepreneurship

Finn Coop Pellervo seeks to develop the cooperative form of
enterprise, strengthen the competitiveness of its member
companies, and create for them an equal legislative
operational environment. It initiates and participates in the
preparation of legislation concerning cooperatives and other
forms of business.


Finn Coop Pellervo maintains close contact with the
authorities, as well as business and international
organisations. 

Cooperative research and training play an important role in
Finn Coop Pellervo's member support activities. It acquires
and produces basic material on international cooperative
developments, cooperative management and other aspects of
training.

Corporate image

By taking an active part in social and economic discussions,
Finn Coop Pellervo strives to improve both the corporate image
and operating potential of cooperation. It ensures that the
authorities, the business world, the media, interest groups
and the public, are aware of the principles and practical
objectives of cooperation. It also tries to forecast social,
economic and business trends and assess their possible effect
in the cooperative enterprise sector.

Member cooperation

Finn Coop Pellervo is a forum for inter-member discussion,
coordination and initiatives. It also seeks to bring about
closer cooperation between member companies and cooperative
associations in Finland as well as abroad and provides member
companies with the expertise required in joint ventures.  

Finn Coop Pellervo has taken an active role in bringing the
representatives of different cooperatives together to discuss
current issues as well as the basic values and principles of
cooperation. A special emphasis is given to contacts with
cooperatives' administrators.


SERVICES

The service strategy especially during the recent development
of  Finn Coop Pellervo has been the foundation of jointly
owned associations to perform certain tasks. These
associations have been founded for development projects,
training, research etc.  All of these companies have close
contact with Pellervo and cooperate in different projects.

Services which are a part of Finn Coop Pellervo's own
organisation include Pellervo Publications, Pellervo Legal
Services and Pellervo Cooperative Services. Some of the
services provided for member companies are member benefits
even though the main part is charged according to the cost. 


Pellervo Publications

Pellervo Publications publishes two magazines, one of which
("Pellervo") is a family magazine for the rural population and
the farming community and the other one ("Osuustoiminta" =
Cooperation) a professonial magazine for cooperative managers
and administrators. In addition to these, it also provides
expertise to member companies when they publish annual
reports, brochures and booklets. 


Pellervo Legal Services

Pellervo Legal Services' fields of expertise are in
cooperative law, corporate practice, such as taxation,
competition and company law as well as environment and real
estate law. Legal Services has many professional and trustee
appointments in member companies. 


Pellervo Cooperative Services

Pellervo Cooperative Services is responsible for cooperative
central organisation tasks as well as internal and external
communications and international contacts. It also tries to
develop cooperative entrepreneurial methods and structures.  

Pellervo Institute

Pellervo Institute is a joint training and development unit
founded by Finn Coop Pellervo and the Central Union of
Agricultural Producers and Forest Owners, MTK. It has two main
lines of activities; training for voluntary and administrative
positions and training for business management.


Brussels Office

Brussels Office is a one man office owned jointly by Finn Coop
Pellervo and MTK. Its task is to monitor and report on recent
developments in the food industry, cooperative movements and
agricultural policy in the European Community.


Finnish Cooperative Development Centre FCC Finnish Cooperative
Development Centre FCC, founded in 1990 together with the two
other cooperative organisations in Finland specialises in
cooperative development projects. Its functions include
planning and the carrying out of development cooperation
projects, coordination of non-governmental organisations'
activities, and the recruitment and training of experts.


Pellervo Economic Research Institute PTT

Pellervo Economic Research Institute PTT, founded in 1979
together with the Central Union of Agricultural Producers, is
a non-profit research institute which specialises in economic
research as well as studies into the farming and forestry
economies. Its economic forecasts are highly valued in
Finland.


Food & Farm Facts Ltd

Food Facts Ltd is a market research company owned jointly with
Finnish Gallup with special knowledge of the food industry and
primary production. It is the leading company for both of
these areas in Finland. In addition to this it produces
studies on corporate image,  consumption attitudes and
forecasts as well as studies on food stuff prices and
quantity.