Interview with Vic Van Vuuren, Director of ILO Enterprises Department, on statistics of cooperatives

ILO Enterprises Department Director, current Chair of Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC), reflects on the progress of the work around statistics on cooperatives to date.

Actualité | 25 avril 2018

1. Why do you think statistics on cooperatives are needed?

Mr Vic Van Vuuren
Reliable and comparable statistics are essential to measuring the impact of cooperatives on members, workers and the economy. At the 19th International Conference of Labour Statisticians (ICLS) held in October 2013, government, workers’ and employers’ representatives reaffirmed the importance of obtaining more comprehensive and internationally comparable statistics on cooperatives and adopted a resolution concerning further work on statistics on cooperatives.

2. What has the ILO been doing on statistics of cooperatives since the 19th ICLS?

Since then, the ILO, through its Department of Statistics and the Cooperatives Unit of the Enterprises Department, has been working on advancing the understanding of statistics on cooperatives in close collaboration with relevant stakeholders, including other international organizations and national statistics offices (NSOs). These joint efforts have resulted in numerous outputs.

The first report was a global mapping providing an analysis based on a database of how statistics on cooperatives were produced in more than 70 countries around the world. In follow up, eleven countries were selected, where different types of institutional arrangements are used in gathering statistics, for deeper review (Spain, Italy, France, Republic of Korea, Costa Rica, Russian Federation, Canada, Colombia, Brazil, the UK and the Philippines).

3. What are the key partnerships in this effort?

In 2016, the Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC) established a Technical Working Group (TWG) for Statistics on Cooperatives with the participation of cooperative movement and NSO representatives, policy makers and researchers in order to support preparatory work towards the 20th ICLS in October 2018.

During the first meeting of the TWG in May 2017 a Conceptual Framework on Measurement of Cooperatives and its Operationalization was presented and discussed. In this meeting TWG members proposed to undertake several additional studies in time for the 20th ICLS: one on use of statistics on cooperatives in national policy making; a second one on cooperative employment measurement; a third one on classification of cooperatives; and finally a fourth one on value-added of cooperatives. They also proposed that the latter three serve as background studies for a set of guidelines on statistics on cooperatives.

4. What are the next steps envisioned in advancing statistics on cooperatives?

During the second meeting of the TWG that took place in April 2018, the guidelines were presented and discussed. Based on these discussions, the revised guidelines will be finalized for presentation and discussion at the 20th ICLS.