More than 22 million people in Germany and more than 1 billion people worldwide are now members of a cooperative. Together, they make up the backbone of the middle class. They create more than 100 million jobs worldwide and provide people with housing and social well-being. Cooperatives operate sustainably and responsibly and promote their local members. Behind each cooperative stand the founders, members, and a strong idea.
“What one person cannot achieve is achieved by many”. While it may not be obvious, behind this phrase lies a man and an idea that have changed the world. Raiffeisen’s impact can be experienced for example at the bank, at the theater, at supermarkets, and under your own roof. In fact, his idea is so strong that UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization) recognized the cooperative idea as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
The following are some of the largest cooperatives from around the world:
- China National Agricultural Means of Production Group Corporation
- Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company
- Crédit Agricole Group
- Zen-Noh (National Federation of Agricultural Co-operatives)
- Whole Foods Co-op
- NTUC Income
- CHS Inc.
- Desjardins Group
- IFFCO-Indian Farmers Fertiliser Co-operative Limited
- Taiwan Co-operative Bank
The Deutsche Friedrich-Wilhelm-Raiffeisen-Gesellschaft
A great idea deserves to be further developed and reintroduced again and again. Therefore, the Deutsche Friedrich-Wilhelm-Raiffeisen-Gesellschaft (German Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen Organization) was founded on June 1st, 2012 in Weyerbusch. In addition to the former WGZ BANK (today: DZ BANK), the organization was founded with the initiatives of the Westerwaldbank, the Verbandsgemeinde Flammersfeld, and the Heimatfreunde im Hammer Land. The “Gesellschaft”, or organization, is dedicated to the “care and appreciation of the life-work of Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen and his intellectual heritage inherited in writings and speeches”, the “promotion of the cooperative ideology in Germany”, as well as leading discussions and debates with cooperatives. To achieve this, the organization invites people to scientific lectures, conferences, and workshops. In addition, there are regular publications, all in line with the existing institutions of the cooperative system.
Werner Böhnke, born in 1951, has been the chairman of the Deutsche Friedrich-Wilhelm-Raiffeisen-Gesellschaft since its founding in 2012. Since then he promotes the awareness of the father of the cooperative society and his vision, which includes working on the supervisory board of the Raiffeisen-Campus, a full-time grammar school in cooperative operation.