A cooperative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise. The ILO views cooperatives as important in improving the living and working conditions of women and men globally as well as making essential infrastructure and services available even in areas neglected by the state and investor-driven enterprises. Cooperatives have a proven record of creating and sustaining employment – they are estimated to provide at least 279 million jobs today; they contribute to promoting decent work and advancing sustainable development goals. The ILO activities are guided by the international standard on cooperatives, the ILO Promotion of Cooperatives Recommendation, 2002 (No.193).

What's new

  1. Resources on Sustainable finance for Cooperative, Social and Solidarity economy (SSE)

    Sustainable finance

    17 April 2024

  2. News

    Two internships are available at the ILO’s Cooperative, Social and Solidarity Economy Unit on communication and research

    15 April 2024

  3. Document

    Enterprises Monthly Newsletter

    05 April 2024


  1. ILO DG Gilbert F. Houngbo - International Day of Cooperatives - July 2023

  2. ILO DG Guy Ryder - International Day of Cooperatives - July 2022

  3. ILC 2022 - SSE Video on decent work

  4. The role of cooperatives in forced displacement (Short Version)

  5. The COVID-19 response: Cooperatives and other SSE organizations

  6. ILO COOP 100 Video

  7. Cooperatives for Climate Action - International Day of Cooperatives 2020

  8. ILO Statistics on Cooperatives

  9. More ILO videos on cooperatives