In the last of 16 stories from Emilia-Romagna, the spirit of cooperation is alive in the faces of those who gave their lives fighting fascism during World War II. Their faces are seen on the walls of the streets of Bologna today. An undying flame seeks justice in both politics and economics. It’s the same spirit that created 400,000 small businesses in a population of 4 million people, 8,000 of which are co-operatives: the highest density of cooperatives in the world.
#10 of 16 stories from coop-rich Emilia-Romagna: In many ways SACMI looks like a well run high-tech international corporation. But it’s a co-op, one that expands the idea of cooperatives in a modern economy. Membership is not automatic and requires a high level of commitment, responsibility, and financial investment. For this reason employees outnumber members by more than 2 -1 (1,100 employees; 400 members). For nearly 100 years SACMI has weathered many economic storms to become a leader in the field of tile manufacturing machines and food packaging products. They are today the largest manufacturing co-op in Italy. With €900 million in annual sales, Vice President, Giuliano Airoli, says the future looks bright. Their coop structure has proven to be both collaborative and innovative. Exports have grown to more than than 85% and they do not plan to be left behind.