France has one of the most well-developed cooperative networks in the world, boasting nearly 2,000 registered worker cooperatives providing nearly 41,000 jobs 1.
French law recognizes two distinct legal entities for cooperatives: one specifically for worker cooperatives, and another designed for multi-stakeholder cooperatives and based on the Italian solidarity cooperative model.
SCOP (Société Coopérative et Participative)
SCOPs are a distinct legal entity designed for worker cooperatives under Law No. 47-1775 of 10 September 1947. Noteworthy characteristics of a SCOP include:
- Worker control: Workers must have at least 51% of the capital, and 65% of the votes;
- Indivisible reserves: A minimum of 15% of surpluses must be placed in reserves that are permanently owned by the co-operative
- Tax incentives: SCOPs do not have to pay the professional tax, which is 1.5% to 2.5% of revenues; income on worker shares is exempt from income taxes;
- Reinvestment: There is a mandatory reinvestment of 0.42% of revenue to finance the larger worker co-op movement. These reinvestment fees are distributed between federations supporting worker co-ops and other cooperative finance tools 2.
SCIC (Société Coopérative d’Intérêt Collectif)
A SCIC, or Cooperative Society of Collective Interest, is a unique legal entity designed for multi-stakeholder co-operatives whose purpose is the “production and provision of goods and services that are a matter of social utility.” More details on SCICs can be found here and here.
The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business owned by nearly 8 million members. See its policies and procedures here.
- Corcoran, Hazel and David Wilson, Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation. The Worker Co-operative Movements in Italy, Mondragon and France: Context, Success Factors and Lessons. (2010) ↩
- Corcoran, Hazel and David Wilson, Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation. The Worker Co-operative Movements in Italy, Mondragon and France: Context, Success Factors and Lessons. (2010) pg 27 ↩