Democracy and Enterprise. A Philippine Cooperative Balances Social and Business Demands

A K Lim, N T Yap, J F Devlin


A central concern of the social enterprise literature is the tension between an organization’s social and its business mission.  This paper argues that cooperatives avoid this tension because organizational decisions are made by the social beneficiaries – the cooperative members.   This is demonstrated with the experience of Sorosoro Ibaba Development Cooperative (SIDC) in the Philippines.  SIDC started in 1969 with 59 small farmers each contributing US$ 10.  SIDC now offers a range of social and economic services to nearly 18,000 members with assets reaching US$ 36 million in 2012.   However SIDC currently faces very important challenges, the most formidable of which is the increasingly globalised production and consumption system.  SIDC has adjusted to market pressures not by internationalising its markets, investment, management and resources  but through vertical integration of its domestic supply chain, adoption of technological innovations and by tapping migrant workers’ savings.  However, globalisation also means that SIDC products and services compete with those produced without concern for workers’ safety, local employment or environmental health.  The threat is exacerbated by trade agreements that erode state capacity to temper the corporate drive for profit maximisation with peoples’ right to employment, living wage, and a healthy environment


democracy and enterprise, Philippine cooperative, impacts of globalisation, social enterprise, cooperative success, social and business mission, cooperative governance, cooperative difference

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International Journal of Community Development

ISSN 2330-2879/ eISSN 2330-2887/OCLC: 854909367

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