Key figures

Number of cooperatives per sector
Employees and members per sector

Research overview


Responding to challenges and existing knowledge gaps facing the cooperative movement, this mapping research seeks to provide exhaustive information on cooperatives around the world.

This is achieved through a process jointly conducted by the ICA and its four regional offices – Cooperatives of the Americas, Cooperatives Europe, ICA Africa, and ICA Asia-Pacific – using a common methodology, designed with the support of external experts from the European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises (Euricse).

Each office collected the input of ICA members present in the countries within its geographic area, by using a common questionnaire, and completing it with relevant national statistics, in order to obtain a picture of the national situation. As a result, the data above is collected following two strategies: 1) a survey targeting ICA cooperative members 2) collecting national statistics already available in the country. The numbers above provide aggregated data from ICA members on the number of cooperatives, as well as the number of cooperative employees and memberships in the country. More methodological information is available in the full report. In France, the data is collected for the reference year 2018.

Mapping out cooperatives in each country provides a more precise picture of the cooperative context at national and regional levels, enhances the movement's visibility, networking, partnerships opportunities, as well as advocacy, and empowers cooperators by providing tools for positive change.

This webpage presents a snapshot of the research results for France. For more information and the full research results, you can download the highlights and the report by clicking on the links above.




The origins of the cooperative movement in France date back to the middle of the 19th Century, with the aims of improving working conditions during the industrial revolution and gaining fairer distribution of wealth. The country benefits from a broad history of cooperation with various currents, including agricultural, financial, worker and consumer cooperation, as well as other forms. 

The revolutionary events of 1848 were followed by the emergence of numerous worker associations and production cooperatives between 1849 and 1855, with the production cooperatives most often linked to trade union activism. By 1890, around 200 cooperatives were counted by the Ministry for Industry, mostly city-based artisans. Freedom of association became progressively more developed towards the end of the 19th Century.

After the Second World War, the General Law on cooperatives of 1947 had a large impact on shaping the variety of cooperative types in France and provided a general framework to build on the initial legal provisions that had gradually developed in sectors including agriculture, low-cost housing cooperatives, production, worker cooperatives and consumer cooperatives.

Despite a crisis in the consumer cooperative movement, the latter half of the twentieth century saw a stronger increase in employment and job creation by cooperative enterprises than the economy as a whole. For example, for worker cooperatives, the cooperative society (SCOP) and its regulation under the 1978 law was linked to strong growth in the French cooperative movement, and by 1983 the Confédération générale des Scop counted nearly 1300 member cooperatives representing 24,000 worker-members. 

In 2001, legislation emerged on the Société coopérative d’intérêt collectif (SCIC), allowing people to organise around a common objective with the aim of social utility, or with a link to the sustainable development needs of an area. They also enable a variety of stakeholders to go into partnership on a common project and their membership includes  employees, services users and contributors.

Since 1968, the broad and wide ranging cooperative movement in France has been represented by Coop FR. The French cooperative movement has continued to evolve in size and importance, and Coop FR today spans 23,000 cooperatives, with nearly 29 million members and 1.2 million employees. The French cooperative sector notably makes up 40% of the country’s food industry, 30% of the retail industry and 70% of retail banking.




France counts ICA member organisations.

  • Confédération Nationale du Crédit Mutuel is a full ICA member and cooperative bank owned by its member-customers. They have over 2,000 local banks in France. Regional groups of Crédit Mutuel cover the entire national territory.
  • Crédit Coopératif is a full ICA member and diversified banking group, which offers a wide range of banking products and services, especially to businesses and organisations, in the different sectors in which it is involved.
  • FNCE is a full ICA member and the representative body of 15 cooperative caisses d'épargne (savings funds), owned by 4.8 million members through 228 local savings companies. Its missions include shaping the network’s strategic directions; building relationships between the network’s members; defining, promoting and coordinating socially responsible actions of the network; and promoting and representing the network in France and internationally.
  • FNCC is a full ICA Member and represents the professional branch of French consumer cooperatives. Among its activities, it represents itself as well as these cooperatives and their consumers.
  • CoopFR is a full ICA member and the national apex organisation19 for French cooperatives, who they represent in public and abroad. Its purpose is to raise awareness of cooperative specificities, values and principles; be a place of exchange for member federations and cooperative organisations; and to represent and defend the interests of cooperative enterprises at national, European and international level.

In France the research questionnaire was completed by NCC. The data collected was for the reference year 2018.





ICA members represent nearly 22 589 cooperatives in the country, with a total number of memberships of 28 740 713, and an estimated 1 290 664 employees.

Member organisations are active in several sectors, including banking, wholesale and retail trade, agriculture and food, industry and transport. Sectoral information is provided by CoopFR. For a complete overview, see the full report. The graphics above provide more information. 

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