News 2014/6/24

International Co-operative Alliance Organizes the First Meeting of the Sustainability Advisory Group

International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)(*1) elaborated a "Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade" (*2)to wrap up the International Year of Co-operatives of 2012. In targeting the Blueprint goal to position co-operatives as builders of sustainability, one of the pillars of the Blueprint, ICA organized the Sustainability Advisory Group. The Seikatsu Club Consumers' Co-operative Union (SCCCU) was invited to participate in the group and the first virtual meeting was held on May 30th.

(*1)ICA is a non-governmental organization which has member organizations in 100 countries around the world. These member organizations represent almost one billon individuals.
(*2)"Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade" was adopted by ICA representatives at its Extraordinary General Assembly in Manchester in October 2012. The Blueprint is a plan for the global co-operative movement spanning the current decade. The “2020 Vision” aims for the co-operative form of business to become: a) the acknowledged leader in economic, social and environmental sustainability, b) the model preferred by people, and c) the fastest growing form of enterprise. The strategies to attain these goals have the five pillars of participation, sustainability, identity, legal frameworks and capital.

Leaders of Sustainability Join the Group

In his opening note, Mr. Charles Gould mentioned the background to the launching of the Sustainability Advisory Group. “We asked a Canadian group to undertake a survey on how co-operatives are engaged in sustainability. We identified co-operatives around the world which are leading sustainable practices, and we found all of you.” Eight organizations from seven countries joined the group: iCoop Korea, CIC Insurance Group (Kenya), Unimed do Brasil (Confederação Nacional das Cooperativas Médicas), Banca Etica Italy, Legacoop Abitanti (Italy), Vancity Credit Union (Canada), Organic Valley (U.S.A.), and SCCCU. “We hope that you will help us guide the agenda of sustainability with your expertise and experiences,” Mr. Gould told the members.

Toward the Principle of Self-sufficiency in Food, Energy and Care

The main theme of the first meeting was the introduction of the members. Mr. Kochi Kato, President of SCCCU, said "Sustainability has always been at the top of our agenda, and we have always focused on the theme of sustainability as we have developed and implemented different programs and activities. We are delighted and honored to be invited to this group. During the International Year of Co-operatives in 2012, Japanese co-operatives recognized the principle of self-sufficiency in self-reliance, represented by the three initials, FEC (Food, Energy, and Care),” he emphasized. “We would like to capitalize on this opportunity of being invited to join the group and hope that we can share with everyone our 50 years of experiences in the upcoming discussions.”

The group will have three more virtual meetings and one physical meeting, in which they will discuss recommendations for co-operatives on sustainability, a measurement scheme for co-operatives, and the UN process on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).