Neighboring Food Cooperative Association

Co-ops Commit to a Sustainable Future

One of the many cool things about co-ops is that we like to work together. We collectively recognize that cooperatives serve their members most effectively and strengthen the cooperative movement by working together through local, national, regional and international structures. It’s one of the Seven Cooperative Principles that help guide and unify cooperatives of all kinds around the world.

One of the ways that our Co-op connects with other food co-ops in our region to share ideas and inspiration is through the Neighboring Food Cooperative Association (NFCA). The NFCA is a cooperative federation bringing together over 30 food co-ops and start-up initiatives across New England that are working together toward a shared vision of a thriving cooperative economy, rooted in a healthy, just, and sustainable regional food system and a vibrant community of co-operative enterprise. NFCA Executive Director Erbin Crowell recently shared with us the following message about an exciting initiative dubbed Co-ops for 2030 that is bringing together co-ops across the globe committed to building a more sustainable world through the adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. We are so excited about this project, we wanted to share it with you:

As we enter the New Year, it may be easy to feel disheartened. But there is work to do, and co-ops can help.

2016 saw global temperatures that were the hottest on record, a steadily widening gap in wealth and opportunity, and electoral processes that have drifted far from our ideals of democracy, diversity, and dialog.

In this context, the continuing engagement of the co-operative movement in building a better world has been inspiring. At the International Summit of Co-operatives in Quebec last Fall, for example, delegates approved a declaration, “Co-operatives: The Power to Act,” calling on co-ops around the world to commit to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Approved in 2015, the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development includes seventeen goals that recognize that sustainability is not simply a matter of conserving resources but includes other priorities including the elimination of poverty, gender equality, and reducing wealth disparities.

“The co-operative model is now, more than ever, the answer the world needs to address the challenges it faces and to take advantage of the opportunities that arise,” states the Summit Declaration. “By committing to the Sustainable Development Goals in a measurable way and adopting growth objectives for 2030, the global co-operative movement is putting forward its collective expertise and its power to act.”

As member-owned enterprises driven by a distinct set of values and principles, co-ops combine both social and economic purposes. Our engagement in the Sustainable Development Goals is an opportunity to engage members in a positive vision for the future, and support shared business success by communicating our difference to consumers, activists, and policymakers. From energy conservation to clean power, good jobs to sustainable business, local economics to co-op to co-op trade, honoring diversity to Healthy Food Access and community empowerment, our Neighboring Food Co-ops have much to offer and much to gain from engagement in this effort to build a better world.

In support of this effort, the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) has launched the Co-ops for 2030 campaign, which includes a website where co-ops can learn more about the SDGs, pledge their commitment to specific sustainability goals, and see what other co-ops are doing.

Erbin Crowell, Executive Director
Neighboring Food Co-op Association