The co-operative movement can play a key role in a number of crucial areas that need addressing to achieve the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
According to Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Prime Minister of Norway, co-ops have been “a vital force for good”. Speaking at the Alliance’s Global Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Dr Brundtland praised the movement for the initiatives taken in eradicating poverty, improving access to basic goods and services, protecting the environment, and building a more sustainable food system.
Dr Brundtland is known as the Mother of Sustainability. Under her guidance in 1987, the World Commission on Environment and Development produced the landmark report Our Common Future, also know as the Brundtland report. The document coined the concept of sustainable development.
A member of a co-operative herself, Dr Brundtland said co-operative values were part of her upbringing in Norway.
Looking towards the future, she said she was “optimistic” but the business sector had to focus on respecting human rights, and addressing inequalities within the corporate culture and committing to leading on the Sustainable Development Goals.
Co-operatives are already pledging to the SDGs via the Alliance’s platform Coopsfor2030.
“Businesses generally, as well as the co-operative sector specifically have long been a force for wealth creation. Today, they can also be a much greater force for justice and peace.
“Working with and for society, they can help fulfill the vision of sustainable development we launched three decades ago,” she said.
Photo (c) ANGKASA