Finland - Organizations

The right to organize is guaranteed by the constitution, and organizations play a central role in all areas of Finnish life. The cooperative movement is highly developed. Cooperatives have developed extensive educational and informational programs, including a lively cooperative press and many training schools. They are divided into three major groups. Pellervo-Seura is the Central Organization of Farmers' Cooperatives. It provides educational and advisory services to its 800 member organizations. All the agricultural cooperative central organizations are members of Pellervo: the Cooperative Dairy Association, Meat Producers' Central Federation, Central Cooperative Egg Export Association, a wholesalers' cooperative for farm inputs and products, and the forest products cooperative. The Kulutusosuuskuntien Keskusliitto (KK) Cooperative Organizations, the so-called progressive cooperatives, include the KK (educational union of KK cooperatives), OTK (general wholesalers for KK cooperatives), and insurance associations. The FSA Cooperative Organizations are the Swedish-speaking cooperatives. Among their members are the FSA (general union of the Swedish-Finnish cooperatives), Labor (cooperative purchasing wholesalers), Åland Central Cooperative (a central cooperative for cooperative dairies on the Åland Islands), cooperative marketing associations for eggs and dairy products, and the Central Fish Cooperative.

Occupational and trade associations are numerous. In the agricultural sector the most influential is the Central Union of Agricultural Producers, a nonpolitical farmers' trade union. The Federation of Agricultural Societies concentrates on advisory and educational functions. Important in industry and commerce are the Confederation of Finnish Industries, Central Federation of Handicrafts and Small Industry, Central Board of Finnish Wholesalers' and Retailers' Associations, and the Finnish Foreign Trade Association. The Central Chamber of Commerce of Finland has its headquarters in Helsinki.

Cultural and philanthropic organizations are also numerous; among the most influential are the Finnish Academy, the Finnish Cultural Fund, and the Wihuri Foundation. National youth organizations exist for a variety of interests, including Finnish 4-H Federation, Finnish Union of Students, Guides and Scouts of Finland, the Youth League of the Coalition Party, and chapters of YMCA/YWCA.

At the level of international cooperation are such organizations as the Norden societies and the League for the United Nations. The Red Cross and Greenpeace also have active chapters.

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