LLKC’s multiplier events in Latvia 

In order to demonstrate to various interested parties the concept for calculating the social value of agricultural cooperatives created within the AgriCoopValue project, which was created by partners and experts from Latvia, Ireland, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Croatia, LLKC organized the dissemination event «SOCIAL VALUE OF COOPERATIVES – a fresh look at the contribution of cooperatives». 

Social value is a new topic in Latvia, but, as the participants of the seminar admitted, the topic is relevant and it is worth starting to think about the application of this concept in Latvia, because it can be applied much more widely and there are already countries where it is used not only for evaluating the contribution of cooperation, but, for example, evaluating the redistribution of public funds from a holistic approach. 

The main goal of the seminars was to introduce the concept of social value, as well as to popularize and demonstrate the results created during the project: 

Output 1: Training itinerary for the monetization of social value in the agri-food sector.  

Output 2: Standard models for calculating the social value of cooperatives for each agri-food sub-sector.  

Output 3: Online platform. 

The first event took place on 19 September 2023 in processing plant of the dairy farmers’ processing cooperative society «Straupe», which was chosen for the project Latvian Case. At this meeting, most of the participants were farmers, mostly from cooperatives that are members of the Latvian Association of Agricultural Cooperatives. 

This workshop placed more emphasis on how this concept helps cooperatives reflect on their contribution from a holistic perspective. This was perfectly illustrated by the case of Latvia about the cooperative society «Straupe». Also, all results created in the project that farmers and cooperative managers can use practically were emphasized, especially the learning platform.

The second dissemination event, which took place on 25 September 2023, focused on how this concept could be used in practice by decision-makers when evaluating the allocation of public funds, as it helps to reflect the contribution of organizations from a holistic perspective.

We illustrated through the Latvian Case about the cooperative society «Straupe», how the value created by the cooperative, which is reflected in the financial statement, differs from that calculated according to the social value calculation method.

This meeting was also attended by scientists, students, farmers’ consultants and accountants, as well as representatives of the social entrepreneurship association and the Latvian Rural Forum. A very interesting discussion was developed about the possibilities of practical application of this concept.

Of course, all the results created by the project that farmers and cooperative leaders can use practically were also emphasized, especially the learning platform.

At the dissemination events, there was a clear feeling that the Association of Latvian Agricultural Cooperatives sees this concept as a great opportunity and wants to continue working together on its wider implementation and practical use in Latvia, including – at the political level.

This is a positive step towards the recognition of a pan-European model for calculating the social value of a co-operative, a shared commitment and a strong community of practice dedicated to social value across Europe.