On Saturday, July 4th, your co-op will be joining co-operatives and credit unions around the world in celebrating International Co-ops Day. This year’s theme, Co-ops for Climate Action, highlights the role of co-operatives in building a more just and green future for everyone.
“Our common home is in danger,” said Ariel Guarco, President of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA). “We must act now, with our values and principles, to demonstrate on a global scale that it is possible to develop an economy with social inclusion and protection of natural resources.”
International Co-ops Day has been celebrated annually since 1923, and the theme this year was chosen to support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal on Climate Action. The event will focus on the contribution of co-operatives to combating climate change, one of the most severe challenges facing our planet during the 21st century, as we build a more inclusive economy and society.
“Across our region, food co-ops have been leaders in building a more sustainable food system,” said Erbin Crowell, Executive Director of the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA). “And with climate change and economic inequality as urgent challenges, food co-ops are taking the lead in working for climate justice, working together to ensure a more healthy, just, and sustainable future for everyone.”
For example, the UN Food & Agriculture Organization has pointed to organic agriculture as a tool for reducing energy consumption and the negative effects of energy emissions, sequestering carbon in the soil, and increasing the resilience of family farms. Food co-ops were pioneers in helping to build the market for organic foods and continue to demonstrate this commitment. Last year, member co-ops of the NFCA sold an estimated $97 million in organic products, supporting human health, sustainable agriculture, and a more resilient food system.
As our communities around the world work to rebuild in the wake of the COVID19 pandemic, co-ops offer an opportunity to envision a more inclusive economy. As part of Co-ops Day celebrations, food co-ops across the Northeast are using this important opportunity to demonstrate their commitment to sustainability and to working together to address climate change and achieve a fair, green, and just future for all.
Celebrated internationally on the first Saturday in July, Co-ops Day in the United States coincides with Independence Day, offering a unique opportunity to focus on the democratic values of the co-operative business model. Based on the principle of one member one vote, co-ops reflect American ideals of democracy, self-help, self-responsibility, and social responsibility. And because co-operatives are focused on meeting member needs rather than maximizing profit, they are focused on goals identified by their members, including social, economic, and environmental sustainability.
For more information, please visit https://nfca.coop/co-opsday/. and https://www.ica.coop/en/2020-international-day-cooperatives