For almost 90 years the international co-operative sector shared an identity that sought to unify it across the world. The rainbow flag was adopted as the official co-operative emblem in 1925, as a symbol of hope and peace, this image was also the logo for the International Co-operative Alliance. In 2012 a new logo and tagline was made freely available for co-operatives to use by the United Nations to celebrate the International Year of Cooperatives (IYC), and almost 5000 organisations in 100 countries united behind it. The extent to which the 2012 IYC logo was adopted demonstrated the power of identifying with shared values across national boundaries.
In the wake of the IYC the International Co-operative Alliance launched its Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade, and its 2020 Vision for the cooperative form of business to become:
- The acknowledged leader in economic, social, and environmental sustainability
- The model preferred by people
- The fastest growing form of enterprise
Co-operative Identity is the central pillar of the Blueprint Strategy. The plan describes the need to create a common symbol for the sector, a visual identity which, along with the .coop domain, would unite its 2.6 million co-operative businesses, 250 million employees and 1 billion members.
The Alliance adopted the IYC tagline “Co-operative Enterprises Build a Better World” and sought to create a new ‘visual identifier’ providing a ‘unity of purpose’ for the global co-operative movement. The new co-operative emblem would be free to use, contemporary, business-like and capable of cross-border use. The global Co-operative Marque was launched at the Alliance’s General Assembly in Cape Town in November 2013 as a uniting identity for the Global Movement.