Sustainability Scan

Co-operatives: Committed to Sustainability

The Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade positions co-operatives as builders of sustainability and aims to achieve global recognition of co-operatives in this domain. As part of its efforts to promote the co-operative model, the Alliance commissioned this Scan – “Co-operatives and Sustainability: An investigation into the relationship” – in order to demonstrate convincingly that co-operatives make significant contributions to the achievement of sustainability.

“The United Nations sees hope in the co-operative model, noting that in the face of multiple crises and natural disasters, co operatives have maintained high credit ratings, increased assets and turnover, and expanded their memberships base.” This analysis represents a first step in exploring the relationship between the co-operative model and sustainability.

Scan Findings

The UN is correct to place its hope in the co-operative model as an engine of sustainability. There is a clear and direct relationship between sustainability and how co-operatives describe themselves. The Scan confirms that the co-operative values and principles are inherently sustainable – indeed co-operatives have sustainability in their DNA. The Scan also captures how co-operatives embed sustainability into everyday business practices, as well as evaluation and reporting.

“As global attention focuses on the challenge of sustainable development, co-operatives can and must play a key role as creative enterprises expanding into new and innovative areas,” said Guy Ryder – Director General of the International Labour Organization (ILO) – in his statement for the International Day of Co-operatives in 2013.

Read about the 2013 Sustainability Scan.