European Union Statistical Report on Co-operatives (1994)

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    This document has been made available in electronic format
         by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 
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                         June 1994

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          European Union Statistical Report on Co-operatives*

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Summary of Results

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It should be noted at the outset that the study does not
present a complete picture of the  sector in any Member State
and therefore in the Community as a whole for a variety of
reasons.

The results are reported on four variables: number of
member-enterprises; number of members; number of employees;
and the volume of business negotiated by the
member-enterprises. The selected sectors of the economy are:
(1) banking and credit; (2) insurance and pensions; (3)
agriculture, forestry, fishing and food products; (4) mining,
manufacturing, construction and crafts; (5) wholesale and
retail trade; (6) other n.e.s.

Co-ops in the EU Countries
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The majority of co-operatives were in agriculture, forestry,
fishing and food products sector, viz, 44,260 or 42.6% of the
total number of co-operatives. The manufacturing, mining,
construction and crafts sector accounted for 26,958 or 26.0%.
Two other important sectors were banking and credit (11.7%)
and wholesale and retail trade (6.8%). Belgium and the United
Kingdom reported 251 co-operatives in the insurance and
pensions sector. That left 13,128 (13.6%) member-enterprises
in unspecified sectors.

Membership of Co-operatives
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The total number of members of co-operatives in the European
Community  was over 53.7 million. This number includes 28.7
million members (account holders) in the banking and credit
sector as well as 6 million members (policy holders) of the
Co-operative Insurance Society in the United Kingdom. About
one half of the remaining 19,037,356 members were in the
wholesale and retail trade sector; one fifth in the
agriculture, forestry, fishing and food products sector; about
5% in the manufacturing, mining, construction and crafts
sector and the rest in other (unspecified) sectors.

Employment
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Within the co-operative sector, the distribution of employees
by sector of economy was as follows: banking and credit -
23.0%; wholesale and retail trade - 23.5%; agriculture,
forestry, fishing and food products - 21.5%; manufacturing,
mining, construction and crafts - 12.3%; insurance and
pensions - 1.1%; and other (unspecified) sectors - 18.6%.

Volume of Business
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The volume of business was requested under three variables,
i.e. turnover, income and assets or credits or consolidated
balance sheet. First of all it should be noted that very few
National Umbrella Organisations (NUOs) provided data on all
three variables. Therefore, in determining the volume of
business for the present brochure the following method was
adopted:

-    use turnover for the co-operatives. Where turnover was
     not reported, use the income. In fact, many NUOs confused
     turnover with income;

-    use assets (credits) or lending for the banking and
     credit sector, as appropriate.

In view of the above limitations of the data on volume of
business, they should be interpreted with caution and treated
as the best available estimates for the present. According to
Table 5, the total volume of the business was ECU 1,553,493
million = 4.9% (ECU 75,570 million) in the mutual sector; and
16.2% (ECU 252,083 million) in the non-profit sector.

Within the co-operative sector, the distribution by sector of
economy was as follows: banking and credit - 75.4%;
agriculture, forestry, fishing and food products - 12,206;
wholesale and retail trade - 7.1%; other (unspecified) - 3.2%;
manufacturing, mining, construction and crafts - 1.8% and
insurance and pensions - 0.2%.

Table 6 shows the relationship between the volume of business
and GDP in each country. Although the two concepts are not
directly comparable, the ratio between them may be used for
the limited purpose of inter-country comparisons. From this
standpoint Table 6 reveals the range of variation among the
Member States of the Community: from a low 0.004 in Greece to
a high of 0.493 in France.

To summarise the relationship, it was over 0.4 in France, the
Netherlands and Germany; around 0.3 in Ireland and the United
Kingdom; about 0.2 in Denmark and Italy; while Spain and
Portugal recorded 0.08 and 0.1 respectively.


Note:     This article contained 6 tables and one graph,
          giving details of sector wise details on
          enterprises, number of members, country-breakups and
          relationship between GDP and total volume of
          business and percentage distribution of co-
          operatives by country. These tables and graph are
          available at the ICA Office in Geneva. Those
          interested may send us an e-mail, giving their
          request to: ica@coop.org


*These are excerpts from the European Statistical Report A
statistical profile of the co-operative, mutual and non-profit
sector and its organisations in the European Community,
published by Eurostat, Theme 7, Service et Transports - Serie
B, supplement 2-1993, ISSN1019-0619.