The organising committee of the International Co-operative Alliance 2016 International Research Conference in Almería, Spain is very pleased to welcome you to attend the conference from the 24 – 27 May, 2016. We are proud of our co-operative communities and are honoured to play a role within them. In addition to the capacity of co-operatives to provide a better life for so many people around the globe in so many ways, co-operatives and their communities also act as a source of inspiration, ideas and innovation for educators, researchers and practitioners.

Both Almería, Spain and Trento, Italy are areas which suffered through poverty and socio-economic challenges in the past. In both instances, co-operatives played an important role in creating prosperous yet sustainable, resilient and equitable societies. However, the strategies and organizational form of the co-operatives, co-operative organisational entities and the relevant  policies are significantly different in each area, subject to their context. The ties between the organising committees´ Italian and Spanish members are a product of years of research exchanges, both at the research and co-operative enterprise level. We have learned from each other and from each other´s co-operative systems. We also share the conviction, based on rigorous research, that a co-operative approach is not based on wishful thinking, but on a solid and coherent logic, equitable convictions and well managed practices. The International Co-operative Alliance Committee on Co-operative Research allows a venue in which to showcase the research of co-operative scholars around the world and exchange their ideas.

Our goal is that this conference serves to not only shed light on the management, strategies, creation, transition and transformation of co-operative business enterprises, but that the conference inspires new ideas and meaningful exchanges, projects, initiatives and innovations in the future.  Most importantly, we wish that these ideas take root and flourish in a broad range of economies, cultures and contexts, to continue to improve the lives of people, contribute to just societies and protect our environment across the globe.

Please join us and share your research and ideas.

The Organising Committee

P.S. We also invite you to read below about the entities that are behind the organisation of this conference.


Universidad de Almería

escudo UalThe University of Almería (UAL) is located on the Mediterranean sea in Almería, southeast Spain. It is a research-oriented university with 38 degree programs, 12,000 students and over 600 graduate students. Founded in 1993, it is home to several international centers of excellence including but not limited to agriculture, global change, solar energy, human migration, communication and society, etc. It is a part of an international campus of excellence in agricultural and business, CeiA3   where social and environmental sustainability are guiding features. The UAL is tied very closely to the co-operative cluster in which is finds itself, all the while having a global reach.

Since its inception, UAL has developed alongside the local co-operative and social economy, providing services to and learning from the co-operative (agricultural and credit) and small to medium business enterprises that are integral to the community. UAL has followed the expansion of the co-operative sector in Almeria reflecting such experience through a focus on both local enterprise and increasingly more international competitive pressures, all of which demand ongoing investigation of change processes and scientific innovations geared towards achieving a more profound sustainability. Several departments are involved in order to facilitate a multi-disciplinary approach: economics, business administration, management and law.

Cátedra Coexphal/Coexphal Chair

logo catedra coexphalThe recently formed Coexphal Chair on Horticulture, Cooperative Studies and Sustainable Development, along with the University of Almería, will host the conference. The Cátedra Coexphal was set up in the University of Almería by Coexphal, the Association of Producer Organisations of Almería, in order to create a closer link between research at the university level and the co-operatives which comprise the local economy. The activities of the Chair are wide ranging and it aims to utilise the knowledge developed in the university for the service of the community. Two-way dialogue is part of its mission so that innovation in the co-operative and agricultural entrepreneurial sector can be transferred to the formal learning environment as well. Environmental and social sustainability are at the forefront of the Chair´s priorities, all the while with the understanding that economic sustainability is necessary to carry forward positive change and R+D+i.


International Co-operative Alliance

logo ICAThe International Co-operative Alliance is an independent, non-governmental organisation established in 1895 to unite, represent, and serve co-operatives worldwide. The Alliance provides a global voice and forum for knowledge, expertise, and co-ordinated action for and about co-operatives. The members of the Alliance are international and national co-operative organisations from all sectors of the economy including agriculture, banking, consumer, fisheries, health, housing, insurance, and workers. The Alliance has members from 100 countries, representing close to one billion individuals worldwide. Co-operatives employ more than 250 million people around the world. Co-operatives are successful, values-based businesses owned by their members. Whether they are producers, workers, or consumers, the members get an equal say in the business and a share of the profits.

The Committee on Co-operative Research (CCR) is a Thematic Committee of the International Co-operative Alliance. It serves to provide a bridge between academic research and the co-operative world. The CCR began its work in 1957 as the Research Officers Group. In the 1970s the group changed its name to the ICA Research, Planning, and Development Group reflecting its widening scope of activities, aspirations, and efforts to provide practical input to co-operatives’ economic and social concerns. The CCR today functions as a network open to all those interested in sharing research on the co-operative model of enterprise. The CCR aims to strengthen research activities and increase the visibility of co-operative research and researchers.  The committee is particularly interested in ensuring that co-operative directors, managers, and employees have access to the latest research so that the results can be applied to current co-operative practice. For example, questions concerning social audit, Co-operative Principles and Identity, globalisation and the local dimensions of co-operatives, promoting the co-operative advantage, and the emergence of new typologies of co-operatives have all been studied from both a practical and theoretical stance. For more information, please contact Hanan El-Youssef at


logoeuricse_compattoEuricse (European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises) is a research institute that promotes knowledge development and innovation for the field of co-operatives, social enterprises and other nonprofit organizations that produce goods and services. The Institute, based in Trento – Italy, aims to deepen the understanding of these types of organizations and their impact on economic and social development, furthering their growth and assisting them to work more effectively. Through activities directed toward and in partnership with both the scholarly community and practitioners, including primarily theoretical and applied research and training, we address issues of national and international interest to this sector, favouring openness and collaboration.



Coexphal is an association of producer organisations of Almería, predominantly made up of agricultural co-operative enterprises. The approximately 10,000 members of the 70 co-operatives are mostly small-holding farmers with an average of 2 ha. Combined they represent a turnover of close to 2,000 million Euros. The co-operatives and farms employ 35.000 workers of more than 150 nationalities. Since its founding in 1977, Coexphal has led the principle changes which have occurred in the Almería F&V sector: improving infrastructure, finding new markets, implementing biological, as opposed to chemical, control of pests, supporting a continuous development of increasing sustainability and quality, respecting both the environment and persons.