MADISON, Wis. — The United Nations (U.N.) International Year of Cooperatives (IYC) Secretariat earlier this month released a logo in six languages recognizing 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives. World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) is urging credit unions worldwide to join with other cooperatives in using the logo to increase public awareness about cooperatives' contributions to socio-economic development, promote the sector's growth and encourage favorable policies. The logo illustrates the official 2012 IYC theme released earlier this year — Cooperative Enterprises Build a Better World.
"Credit unions and other cooperatives did well by their members during the recent financial crisis, and the U.N.'s International Year of Cooperatives is an important effort to help reposition and rebrand cooperatives in the minds of consumers," said Pete Crear, WOCCU president and CEO. "We touch members' lives in ways they may not always realize, and the Year of Cooperatives is a critical opportunity to emphasize the cooperative difference."
WOCCU is encouraging credit unions worldwide to use the IYC logo and the official theme on member statements, ATM receipts and screens, websites and other credit union materials throughout the year to increase awareness of cooperatives and credit unions as socially oriented businesses among young adults. The logo conveys the idea that, as member-owned, democratically controlled businesses, cooperatives exist to meet the common economic, social and cultural aspirations of their members. Credit unions must request permission to use the logo and slogan. To download the logo and permission request form, visit http://social.un.org/coopsyear/iyclogo.shtml.
The International Year of Cooperatives officially begins Oct. 30, 2011, with a celebration at the U.N. headquarters in New York City, and runs through November 2012. WOCCU has formed a global advisory committee of member organization representatives and is coordinating with the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), the global cooperative association collaborating with the U.N. on the event, and the U.S. National Cooperative Business Association. Credit unions, cooperatives and their trade associations have been asked to contribute financially to the organizing efforts to assure that IYC initiatives will be successful. For more information, contact ICA's Nicola Kelly, International Year of Cooperatives 2012 coordinator, at +41-22-929-88-27 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year's International Credit Union (ICU) Day® on Oct. 20 will incorporate will incorporate the IYC 2012 objectives. The close proximity of the two events provides a greater opportunity for credit unions to get involved and raise awareness among their members, legislators and communities of the tangible changes they are making on a local, national or international level.
"With the spotlight on cooperatives, credit unions have a unique opportunity to show community members and policymakers the tangible changes they are making on a local, national or international level and educate them on the cooperative difference" said Dave Grace, WOCCU senior vice president of association services heading WOCCU's IYC efforts. "Part of that process is making those stakeholders aware of all the ways in which cooperatives already touch their lives."
For more information on what your credit union can do, visit www.woccu.org/IYC2012.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development agency for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented more than 290 technical assistance programs in 71 countries. Worldwide, 56,000 credit unions in 101 countries serve 200 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.