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The International Cooperative Conference 2024 was held on 29-30 May 2024, focusing on the theme "Shaping Cooperative's Potential Growth in the Era of Disruptive Technology for Inclusive Sustainable Development." The event was organized by the Cooperative Institute of Malaysia (CIM) and featured a series of insightful presentations, panel discussions, and networking opportunities.


Disruptive technology, as defined by Mr. Clayton M. Christensen, significantly alters industry operations by introducing groundbreaking products or services that create new markets and value networks, ultimately displacing established firms. Technologies such as AI, blockchain, and renewable energy innovations are prime examples. Cooperatives can harness these technologies to enhance productivity, member engagement, and market access.


YB Dato' Ramana Ramakrishnan, Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Entrepreneur and Cooperatives Development (MECD) in his opening address underscored the disruptive nature of technology and called on cooperatives to be better prepared and integrate technology in their operations. Cooperatives need to play to their strengths and respond to not only the disruptions in technology but also in addressing inequality, climate change, and the needs of youth and women.


Mr. Edmund Cheong Peck Huang, Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer at Social Security Organization (PERKESO), spoke on "Leadership in the Age of Artificial Intelligence (AI)” and said that AI will continue to grow and will be adopted into more sectors to transform lives and improve services to meet public expectations. Work has accelerated with AI advancements and we must adapt to keep pace with it.


The first session focused on "Harnessing the Power of Cooperative Federation to Build Resilient Communities in the Disruptive Technology Era." This session was moderated by Datuk Haji Mohamad Ali Hasan from the Malaysian National Cooperative Movement (ANGKASA) and included panelists Haji Damanhuri from Koperasi Ladang Berhad (KLB), Mr. Seungwang Kim from the National Agriculture Cooperative Federation of Korea (NACF), and Mr. Nguyen Dong Hai from Saigon Coop, Vietnam. The second session, titled "Smart Agriculture for Smart Growth: Cooperative Principle," was moderated by Dr. Mohamad Rofi Mohd Noor from Koperasi Belantik Selangor Berhad. Panelists included Mr. Hirofumi Kobayashi from the Institute for the Development of Agricultural Cooperation in Asia (IDACA), Japan, Mr. Rohan Clarke from Regen Farmers Mutual, Australia, and Mr. Setia Irawan from Koperasi al-Ittifaq, Indonesia.




The second day started with a special presentation at 9:00 am, titled "Cooperative Build A Better Future for All," moderated by Ustaz Haji Mohd Fazil Bin Masri from Koperasi Co-op Bank Pertama Malaysia Berhad. The presenters were Assoc. Prof. Dr. H. Muhammad Ridha Haykal Amal from the University of Medan Area, Indonesia, discussing "Connecting Shariah Product to Shape a Sustainable Cooperative Future in the Era of Innovation," and Asst. Prof. Abdul Rashid Cherma from the Islamic Cooperative Movement in Thailand, who spoke on "Origin Development Future Perspectives." This was followed by a forum session on "Shaping Co-operatives Potential Growth in The Era of Disruptive Technology for Inclusive Sustainable Development." This session was moderated by Tan Sri Abu Kassim Mohamed from Koperasi Kebutni Selangor Berhad and included Mr. Azizul Alias, Undersecretary of MECD, Mr. Balasubramanian Iyer, Regional Director ICA-AP, and Mr. Ilham Nasai, Manager Project Management Office Department of Cooperatives Ministry of Cooperatives and SMEs of The Republic Indonesia (Kemenkop UKM).


The conference concluded with a closing by Mr. Mohd Zaibn Bin Mat Yunus, Deputy Director General of CIM. 


The CIM International Cooperative Conference 2024 successfully highlighted the importance of integrating disruptive technologies within cooperatives to foster sustainable development and enhance the resilience of communities. The event provided a platform for cooperative leaders and stakeholders to share insights, strategies, and innovative practices.


The International Cooperative Alliance Asia and Pacific (ICA-AP) highlighted the pivotal role of cooperatives in fostering sustainable development through the adoption of disruptive technologies.


Cooperatives can harness these technologies to enhance productivity, member engagement, and market access. The strengths of integrating disruptive technologies in cooperatives include improved efficiency and productivity through automation and AI, enhanced member engagement via digital tools, and increased market access through online marketplaces. However, these benefits come with challenges, such as high implementation costs, skill gaps, and data security risks. Despite these weaknesses, opportunities abound in accessing new markets, innovating products and services, and leading sustainability initiatives. Yet, cooperatives must navigate threats like market disruption, increased competition, and complex regulatory landscapes.


Inclusivity remains a cornerstone of cooperative values, necessitating development models that prioritize equitable decision-making and profit-sharing amidst technological advancements. Cooperatives must focus on reaching underserved communities and fostering sustainable development.


Renewable energy cooperatives in the USA are investing in smart grid technologies to enhance efficiency. Healthcare cooperatives in Chile and the Philippines utilize telehealth technologies to extend services to remote areas. Dairy cooperatives in India employ robotic milking systems to improve efficiency, while financial cooperatives in Denver leverage blockchain for enhanced transparency. Retail cooperatives in Singapore use augmented reality to transform customer experiences, and housing cooperatives in Ireland integrate smart technologies for energy efficiency.


Cooperatives are positioned as a third force championing sustainability, equity, and community empowerment. By deepening their cooperative identity and leveraging technology, cooperatives can enhance operational efficiency, engage members more effectively, and expand their market reach. Strategies for leveraging disruptive technology include forming partnerships, promoting continuous learning through innovation hubs, investing in member-centric technologies, utilizing data analytics, enhancing training and support, and diversifying services.


The adoption and adaptation of disruptive technologies are crucial for the growth and sustainability of cooperatives. By leveraging these technologies, cooperatives can enhance their operational efficiency, reach wider markets, and contribute significantly to sustainable development.