The world of work is undergoing major processes of change, and cooperation, through cooperative and other forms of social and solidarity economy enterprises, is emerging with viable and sustainable responses to these transformations.

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The following key trends and changes in the world of work are being discussed in this issue note
in their relation to cooperative enterprises:

Economic changes

While the peak of the financial crisis is behind us, the world continues
to face a number of economic challenges. Economic growth remains significantly
below the pre-crisis levels, and states struggle with sustaining social protection systems
and ensuring decent employment and security for all citizens. In this context, this note
analyses why and how cooperatives have grown in membership and business volume
in a range of sectors in the aftermath of the recent financial crisis.

Demographic changes

Ageing populations in some countries, and entrance of young
generations to the labour markets in others require responses that cater care services
to the former and new jobs for the latter (ILO, 2016g). This note presents the case for the
growing interest among youth, especially unemployed youth, in the cooperative model.
It also reflects on the engagement of cooperatives in the provision of care among diverse
populations, including children, elderly, and persons living with developmental, mental
and other health needs.

Technological changes

These changes will cause both job creation and destruction. While
many jobs will be automatized, new opportunities will arise in areas through technological
innovation and their spill-over effects (ILO, 2016f). The note addresses the emergence
of platform cooperatives as digital platforms collectively owned and democratically governed
by the workers in the gig economy in response to technological changes.

Environmental changes

Climate change is affecting the world of work in various ways,
with some new jobs being created and transformed (e.g. renewable energy), while other
jobs are being lost or replaced. Given these changes, the note reflects upon how cooperatives
are emerging as economic actors in climate change adaptation (e.g. mutual
insurance for crops; agricultural cooperatives supporting diversification of crops or improved
watershed management) as well as mitigation (e.g. renewable energy cooperatives,
forestry and agroforestry cooperatives) across countries.

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