Research Handbook on Sustainable Co-operative Enterprise
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Research Handbook on Sustainable Co-operative Enterprise

Case Studies of Organisational Resilience in the Co-operative Business Model

Edited by Tim Mazzarol, Sophie Reboud, Elena Mamouni Limnios and Delwyn Clark

Co-operatives are found in all industry sectors and almost all countries around the world. However, despite their significant economic and social contributions, the academic literature has largely ignored these important businesses. This book is a detailed examination of the co-operative enterprise business model and the factors that help to enhance its sustainability and resilience, as well as those forces that lead to its destruction.
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Chapter 18: Mobility car sharing: an evolving co-operative structure

Peter Suter and Markus Gmür


Co-operatives have a statistically low macroeconomic relevance; nevertheless they occasionally are big players in specific sectors and countries. In Switzerland, the two largest retail co-operatives, Migros and Coop, are responsible for 8% of GDP. In comparison to its neighbouring countries, the co-operative is a very popular legal form in Switzerland with more than 10,000 organisations. The number of co-operatives in the more heavily populated Germany seems to be very low, only 8,106 (Table 18.1); although it should not be ignored that 20 million Germans are members of these co-operatives, which provide jobs for 440,000 people (ICA, 2011). In Switzerland, co-operatives can mainly be found in the financial, retail, social housing and agriculture sectors (Gmür and Lichtsteiner, 2009). But several other successful co-operatives also exist in niche markets. One of these is the Mobility Car Sharing co-operative. The principle of car sharing is very simple: instead of owning a car the individual has access to a fleet of vehicles on an as-needed basis. Therefore s/he gains the benefits of a "private" car without the responsibilities and full cost of ownership (Shaheen et al., 1999). Today the concept of car sharing is widespread, but mostly still limited to certain local areas, with a focus on bigger cities. Switzerland is an exception and can actually be called the motherland of car sharing for two reasons.

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