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Abstract

A systematic analysis of the characteristics of cooperatives reveals many capacities that recommend them as appropriate vehicles for sustainable development. Cooperatives offer advantages as rooted, socially embedded, patient capital and as organizations that promote partnerships, coordinated action, and capacity building. Given changes in the operating environment, the explicit adoption of eco-social agendas can contribute to co-op viability and vitality, providing a basis for positive differentiation and for stronger ties to important constituencies, stakeholders, and strategic allies. Given their capacities as organizations and enterprises, it is argued that co-ops can also contribute to new identify formation and to transformative social change.

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