International Co-operative Alliance

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International Co-operative Alliance
TypeCooperative federation
IndustryActivities of other membership organisations n.e.c.
cooperative movement Edit this on Wikidata
Founded1895 (1895)
Area served
Key people
Ariel Guarco, President
Members318 organisations

The International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) is a non-governmental co-operative federation or, more precisely, a co-operative union representing co-operatives and the co-operative movement worldwide. It was founded in 1895 to unite, represent and serve co-operatives worldwide. The Alliance maintains the internationally recognised definition of a co-operative in the "Statement on the Co-operative Identity". The ICA represents 318 co-operative federations and organisations in 112 countries.[1]

The Alliance provides a global voice and forum for knowledge, expertise and co-ordinated action for and about co-operatives. The members of the Alliance are international and national co-operative organisations from all sectors of the economy, including agriculture, banking, consumer, fisheries, health, housing, insurance, and workers. The Alliance has members from 100 countries, representing close to one billion individuals worldwide. Around one hundred million people work for co-operatives globally. Co-operatives are values-based businesses owned by their members. Whether they are customers, employees or residents, the members get an equal say in the business and a share of the profits.

In 2006 the ICA published the first major index of the world's largest co-operative and mutual enterprises, the ICA Global 300,[2] which demonstrated the scale of the co-operative movement globally.

On the first Saturday of July each year, the ICA coordinates celebrations of International Co-operative Day.

In December 2009, the United Nations declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives.

In 2013 the headquarters moved from Geneva, Switzerland to Brussels, Belgium.


The ICA consists of a 20-member governing board, a General Assembly, four regions (one each for Africa, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and Americas), sectoral organisations and thematic committees.

Statement on the Co-operative Identity[edit]

The Statement on the Co-operative Identity, promulgated by the ICA, defines and guides co-operatives worldwide. It contains the definition of a co-operative as a special form of organization, the values of co-operatives, and the currently accepted cooperative principles (the Rochdale Principles) that direct their behavior and operation. The Statement with the latest revision of the cooperative principles was adopted by ICA in 1995.[3]

ICA Regions[edit]

Sectoral Organisations[edit]

Thematic Committees[edit]

  • Committee on Co-operative Research
  • Cooperative Law Committee
  • International Cooperative Development Platform
  • Gender Equality Committee
  • ICA Youth Committee (constituted 2021)

The flag[edit]

FIAV historical.svg Former ICA flag (1925)

ICA adopted its original rainbow flag in 1925, with the seven colors symbolizing unity in diversity and the power of light, enlightenment, and progress.[4]

External image
image icon ICA rainbow flag (2001)[5]

In 2001 a new flag was adopted at the ICA General Assembly in Seoul, Korea, to avoid confusion with other rainbow flags, several of which had become very well known in the 20th century. The present flag shows the ICA seven-color logo on a white background. The logo depicts a quarter rainbow with a flock of stylized doves of peace scattering from the top and the letters ICA underneath. The rainbow has only six stripes (red, orange, yellow, green, light blue, dark blue) and the seventh color (purple) appears in the lettering under the rainbow. The flag exists in four different versions showing the ICA acronym in different languages (ACI in Spanish, Italian and French, IGB in German, and МКА in Russian).

Current ICA LOGO (2014)
(see the ICA website)


1895: Earl Grey and Henry William Wolff[6]
1907: Earl Grey and William Maxwell[6]
1917: William Maxwell[6]
1921: G. J. D. C. Goedhart[6]
1927: Väinö Tanner[6]
1945: Robert Palmer[6]
1948: Harry Gill[6]
1955: Marcel Brot[6]
1960: Mauritz Bonow[6]
1975: Roger Kerinec[7]
1984: Lars Marcus[7]
1995: Graham Melmoth[7]
1997: Roberto Rodrigues
2001: Ivano Barberini
2009: Pauline Green
2015: Monique F. Leroux
2017: Ariel Guarco


1895: Edward Owen Greening[6]
1902: Jesse Clement Gray[6]
1908: Hans Müller[6]
1913: Henry John May[6]
1939: Gertrude Polley[6]
1963: Position abolished


until 2010: Iain Macdonald[disambiguation needed]
2010 - 2018: Charles Gould[disambiguation needed]
2018 - Present: Bruno Roelants

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The International Co-operative Alliance". Retrieved 13 May 2022.
  2. ^ ICA Global 300
  3. ^ Statement on the Co-operative Identity Archived 2012-02-04 at the Wayback Machine, 1995 version.
  4. ^ The ICA flag Archived 2009-03-20 at the Wayback Machine, ICA Weekly Digest, Vol. 1, Number 14, May 17, 2004.
  5. ^ ICA at; retrieved 2 July 2018
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n William P. Watkins, The International Co-operative Alliance, 1895-1970, p.272
  7. ^ a b c Margaret Prickett and Dionysos Mavrogiannis, Thematic guide to ICA congresses 1895-1995, p.iii

External links[edit]