ILO visited iCOOP’s Natural Dream Park in Korea

Following the International Conference on Statistics of Cooperatives, held on 30 June in Busan, participants were invited to a study trip at iCOOP’s Natural Dream Park in Goesan, Korea between 1-2 July 2023.

News | 20 July 2023
Participants included researchers and advisory members from five countries (Korea, Turkiye, Italy, Costa Rica and Tanzania) as well as members of the Global Advisory Committee (GAC) under the Initiative on Advancing the Guidelines Concerning Statistics of Cooperatives.

iCOOP is a consumer cooperative federation in Korea that aims to promote the consumer cooperative movement and provide alternative solutions to problems in everyday life through their economic activities. It was established in 1997 as a federation of six primary cooperatives. It is now one of the biggest consumer cooperative federations in Korea, consisting of 99 member cooperatives. iCOOP’s Natural Dream Park in Goesan is a complex that includes various facilities including factories, organic food stores, hotels, restaurants, sports centres, library, and medical facilities.

The study trip commenced with a visit to the V&B (Virus & Bacteria) Center, a food inspection center which inspects micro plastics up to the size of 5㎛ or 0.005mm. With this, iCOOP established its own standard for detecting micro plastics, providing safer food for its members. The mission team then visited Sumi Gim, a factory for making seasoned laver (also known as Gim), and witnessed their efforts in reducing plastic trays in their seasoned laver products.

Participants were offered a welcome dinner at the Beer Rock House, a restaurant located within the Natural Dream Park. The schedule also allowed for some leisure time at the Sport Healing Center and its Natural Dream Stores.

A key highlight of the study trip was a comprehensive lecture about iCOOP, its objectives and activities, by Dr. Hyangsuk Lee, Senior Researcher at the iCOOP Co-operative Institute. Participants were better informed of Korea's active role in the cooperative movement, particularly in consumer cooperatives, through an exploration of iCOOP's history, current state, organizational structure, commitment to preventive healthcare, organic anticancer food, and efforts to create a new life culture through the Lifecare Movement.