1995 Consumer Day Message

   This document has been made available in electronic format
           by the International Co-operative Alliance.


               1995 CONSUMER DAY MESSAGE

       Each year the ICCO publishes a Message on the 
       occassion of the International Consumer Day 
       which is celebrated on 15 March. 

The values of cooperation belong to those who do not separate
their own interests from solidarity towards mankind, or the
present from the responsibility towards future generations.

The strength of the cooperative movement has been its ability to
turn  these values into entrepreneurial initiatives that can
withstand embezzlements and have a balancing effect on the

Notwithstanding their inevitable differences, the consumer
cooperatives throughout the world find the definition of their
own identity in the consumer cooperative guidelines defined by
the ICA-Consumer Organisation. Today this identity has been
reinforced, within the context of a positive and efficient
commercial policy, through the assumption of responsibilities
towards themselves, the cooperative movement and the world as a
whole, but especially towards members and the rules of
cooperative democracy. This mainly involves the development and
protection of the rights deriving from the fact of being both a
"user member" and an "owner member". The responsibility towards
members most naturally implies the one towards democratic
principles, since each person within a cooperative has the same
importance in the decision making process.

Responsibility towards our heritage and ideals is lightly
connected to the above. The former is the essential condition
underlying the very existence of cooperation; the latter stresses
the necessity of focusing on distinctiveness in relation to other
forms of distribution, in other words the capacity of joining
efficiency and sociality.

Further responsibilities more closely concern management activity
and are the most important as far as consumers are concerned;
they should especially lead to a competitive and efficient policy
in terms of reasonable prices, product and assortment quality,
improved service, while working towards a consumption orientation
and training where respect towards different cultures and
religions is essential.

In addition to acknowledging contract guarantees and job
security, the responsibility towards employees binds the
cooperatives to look for new ways to involve them in management
activity, whereas responsibility towards suppliers expresses the
need for transparency and the will to establish an ever better
cost/benefit relationship in the interest of consumers.

Responsibility towards the environment is vital since the health
of our ecosystem concerns humanity as a whole. That is why we
should undertake to find solutions within our field of
competence, that may conciliate the production and consumption

Responsibility towards the public institutions implies a firm
dialogue with the authorities in order to make them aware of the
entrepreneurial importance of the cooperative movement in the
economic world, as well as of its important function in progress.

All the specific responsibilities put together form the
responsibility towards society which can be expressed as
attention towards social needs, the reaffirmation of solidarity
and the pursuit of peace. Finally, the responsibility towards the
entire cooperative movement, which involves participation in the
life of national and international organisations, is the most
advanced frontier in cooperative development.

For further information, please contact:

                      Giuseppe FABRETTI
                      Chairman, ICCO
                      c/o ANCC
                      Via Panaro, 14
                      00199 Rome, Italy
                      Fax: +39 6 86320033