While they may not have been labeled as such, creative worker cooperatives pretty much date back to the beginning of time. According to the International Cooperative Alliance's Statement on the Cooperative Identity, a cooperative is "an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social, and cultural needs and aspirations through jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise."
This Social Business top list of creative worker cooperatives spans the seemingly traditional, like a food coop, to the more avant-garde, like the first cooperative brothel in Vancouver, British Columbia. The majority of these creative worker cooperatives, however, incorporate social business and social enterprise principles into their working models. Many contemporary companies strive to achieve sustainability and responsibility through sourcing materials or final products from cooperatives in the Majority World, many of them specifically women's cooperatives, as a way to focus on gender equality through employment.
Organic Shoes by Veja
Fashionable Fair Trade Apparel (UPDATE)
Charitable Paper Jewelry
Midas Touch Meals
From Opportunity-Generating Accessories to Upcycled Train Stations
By: Tiana Reid - Published: Dec 8, 2011