The cooperative model

The Italian cooperative system is a model that inspires many organizations because it is so successful and versatile. And few people know as much about this system as Enzo Pezzini.

As Director of the Brussels office of the Confederazione Cooperative Italiane (Confcooperative), Mr. Pezzini has helped to promote and coordinate a number of large- scale European research projects on social cooperatives.

In this interview, Mr. Pezzini talks about the characteristics of the Italian cooperative movement and the challenges it faces.

 What motivated the creation of the Alliance of Italian Cooperatives a year ago and what challenges does it face?

The creation of the Alliance of Italian Cooperatives (Alleanza delle Cooperative Italiane) on January 27, 2011 marks the beginning of ongoing coordination between the three main and most representative cooperative associations: the Associazione Generale Cooperative Italiane (AGCI), the Confederazione Cooperative Italiane (Confcooperative) and Lega Nazionale delle Cooperative e Mutue (Legacoop). It’s an extremely important event because the purpose of this alliance is to reconcile and move beyond very different traditions and models of entrepreneurship.

There are two main reasons behind this unification. The first is a desire to give a powerful signal that things are changing – without disregarding the cooperative movement’s historical divisions – and demonstrate that Italian cooperative associationism is undergoing a process of simplification and cohesion and showing great responsibility in a very complex framework of political and economic crisis. The second is a desire to have cooperation play a more significant role in the edification of society and the market to provide greater balance between work, the economy and well-being.

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