So, we're in the first week of the International Year of Co-operatives, a truly unique year for all who care about businesses that build a better world.
Next week we'll see co-operatives across the UK - in fact the world, from Chelmsford to China - marking the start of the International Year on 12 January with a range of activities.
This week, though, Co-operatives UK has been in the media every day, commenting on just some of the areas where co-operatives are and can make a difference – rebuilding the economy, generating renewable energy and delivering public services.
Tuesday, for example, saw an article from Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK in Resurgence magazine, on the importance of co-operation, not competition, for social and economic life.
Thursday there was a column from Ed in the Ecologist on community renewables.
Today, Friday, there is an article from Ed on co-operatives and public services in the New Statesman (pp7-8 of this supplement).
Next week will be much bigger, with widespread activity on 12 January from The Co-operative Group through to Birmingham Film Co-operative. We’ll really feel the start of the International Year next week.
But week one of 2012 highlights that the International Year is not in itself what's important – what’s important about the United Nations designating 2012 the International Year of Co-operatives is that it's an opportunity for co-operatives to come together and show how the co-operative way of doing business can and is making a difference to people across the world.
Join us and the Guardian on 12 January for a live broadcast at 1.30 on how co-operation can help rebuild the British economy.