“In cooperatives we work for our own companies”

Commerce. Abacus Cooperativa is an example of the social economy with a cooperative business model with 500 working members and 800,000 user members.

The cooperative, social and solidarity economy generates 8% of Barcelona’s employment, providing work for over 53,000 people. Abacus is an example of the social economy with a cooperative business model with over 500 working members and 800,000 user members.

“The big advantage we have in cooperatives is that we all work for our own company. Members take part in deciding what products we should have, as well as how profits should be reinvested”, explains Miquel Àngel Oliva, managing director of Abacus Cooperativa.

Cooperatives are present in the city in very different spheres, such as education, housing and services. They show that an alternative economic model is possible and that financial and social benefits are compatible. “Cooperatives are already generating lots of jobs which often have better social and environmental conditions than in other companies and are an example to follow which should permeate the overall economy”, affirmed the First Deputy Mayor, Gerardo Pisarello.

Since its origins, Abacus Cooperativa has promoted Catalan language and culture throughout the territory and because of that, “not everything goes” in its establishments, for instance there are no sexist toys. “We prioritise things with an educational value and the transmission of cooperative, social and solidarity culture, and that’s socially profitable too”, adds Oliva. Abacus Cooperativa started out in 1968, when a group of teachers and parents from Barcelona grouped together to get specific school material.

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