Global but not Spontaneous Firm:
Co-operatives and the Solidarity Funds in Italy
Salvatore MONNI &
Cooperatives are increasingly being recognized as important contributors to inclusive, sustainable and fair development. However, the cooperative movement faces a multitude of challenges, including lack of access to credit.
The Italian cooperative sector features an important financing tool: the solidarity funds (Fondi Mutualistici in Italian). In 1992, Law 59 established these financial institutions that are owned by the cooperative associations. By law, all co-operatives have to transfer to the mutual funds (or to the Government if they do not belong to any co-operative association) 3% of their profits.
In the past 25 years, the solidarity funds have been allocating large resources creating a financial virtuous cycle that could be inspiring for other nations.
The solidarity funds promote innovative and inclusive cooperative practices as well as training and university education. Examples of similar initiatives can be found in other countries, mostly where the cooperation culture is more established. In this paper we look at Canada, France and the United Kingdom to further explore the nature and relevance of mutualistic finance.
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