Cooperatives: key actors in Europe for sustainable future

The 2018 Cooperatives Europe General Assembly took place between 16-18th of May in Helsingor, Denmark. Focusing on the role of cooperatives for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), European Cooperative Movement worked during the sessions to inspire, exchange and develop actions to further the impact of people-centred enterprises.

The role and success of cooperatives in addressing inequalities, social exclusion and the crises faced was highlighted by President of Jean-Louis Bancel in his introduction to the participants. Ariel Guarco, President of the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), highlighted by the role of the ICA in answering the needs of its members while increasing visibility.

Mogens Lykketoft, the invited key-note speaker and former President of the United Nation’s General Assembly, in his speech emphasized the role of women, embracing renewable energy, and innovation among other topics, warning of impossibility of achieving an equal social and economic world without a fair distribution of resources and urging cooperators to take action concerning each UN’s Sustainable Development Goal.

During the meeting, different work panels were developed on themes such as:

  • Gender equality and the cooperative model. The contribution of European cooperatives to achieve empowerment for all women and girls and to better understand where European Organisations and cooperatives stand in terms of gender equality
  • Collaborative economy and youth. The needs and challenges met by cooperative platform start-ups to emerge and scale-up. Strategies implemented by existing cooperatives to adapt their business models to the digital society.
  • International development of the cooperative model. On the 10th anniversary of the Cooperatives Europe Development Platform (CEDP), showcased cooperative best practices on renewable energy, migration, and ethical consumption – highlighting the links between European initiatives and their global outreach to support international development.

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