The Cooperative as a Platform for Sustainable Business Operations
Forthcoming in Beate Sjåfjell and Christopher M. Bruner (eds), Cambridge Handbook of Corporate Law, Corporate Governance and Sustainability, Cambridge University Press
Posted: 8 May 2019 Last revised: 24 May 2019
Date Written: April 10, 2019
The modern corporation is often praised as the ultimate form of association. The purpose of this Chapter is to challenge this claim by demonstrating the possibilities of the cooperative business model. In other words the aim is to examine how cooperatives differ from corporations, especially in terms of sustainability, to what extent cooperatives, in theory and practice, facilitate sustainability, and how cooperative law should be developed to ensure that person-oriented cooperative societies do not transform into capital-centered cooperative corporations. The findings of this Chapter show that cooperatives are, in several ways, better alternatives for sustainable business operations than corporations. Concern for community is an organic part of the cooperative business model, whereas altruistic measures in the corporate context are often artificial and motivated by investor interests. However, the question yet remains whether cooperatives facilitate sustainability enough or whether they put too much emphasis on their members’ interests.
Keywords: cocooperative, cooperative law, sustainable development, cooperative governance
JEL Classification: K22
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation