In its International Day, Cooperatives highlight the path to social justice and environmental sustainability

06 Jul 2018


Tomorrow, 7 July 2018, cooperators around the world will be celebrating the International Day of Cooperatives under the international theme of Sustainable societies through cooperation. With almost 200 years of history, the cooperative movement has shown how, thanks to its values, principles and democratic governance structures, cooperatives have sustainability and resilience at their core.

“On the International Day of Cooperatives, we are going to tell the world that it is possible to grow with democracy, equity and social justice. That our societies cannot continue wasting resources and excluding people. That we must improve the present and preserve the future for the next generations. And that we are proud to be part of this movement. A movement with values and principles. A movement committed to social justice and environmental sustainability,” the President of the International Cooperative Alliance, Ariel Guarco, declared.

Watch the full video message from our President for the 96th International Cooperative Day and the 24th United Nations International Day of Cooperatives below:

Sustainable societies are ones that reflect the environmental, social and economic limits to growth. Cooperatives have concern for community (“Cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities”) as the seventh cooperative principle; as a result, they consume, produce and use the resources that the planet offers but in solidarity with the environment and with the communities in which they are embedded. “That is why we are a key partner for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG),” insisted the President of the International Cooperative Alliance. From 2016, cooperatives have been  expressing their commitment to the SDG’s through the campaign  and through it, the cooperative contribution to making the world a better place.

How cooperatives build sustainable and resilient societies? 

By their very nature, cooperatives play a triple role:

  • As economic actors they create opportunities for jobs, livelihoods and income generation
  • As people-centered enterprises with social goals they contribute to social equity and justice
  • As democratic institutions, they are controlled by their members, playing a leading role in society and local communities. 

Click here to read 12 examples from different sectors and regions of the world that highlight how cooperatives can become the vehicle to ensure sustainable consumption and production of goods and services, or SDG12.

How is the movement celebrating #coopsday?

Across the planet, cooperatives are celebrating what makes them special with events, festivals and all sorts of activities. The International Cooperative Alliance together with DotCoop has created an interactive map showing at the click of a button where #coopsday events are taking place as well as the organisations that are hosting them. The International Cooperative Alliance is encouraging its members to use the hashtag #CoopsDay and the Cooperators’ guide to spread the word.

Yesterday, 5 July, a special Event at UN Headquarters was organized in New York. The Committee for the Promotion and Advancement of Cooperatives (COPAC) and the UN Permanent Mission of Argentina invited UN Ambassadors, cooperative leaders and government representatives to explore how cooperative enterprises build sustainable societies through cooperation in innovative and inclusive ways. Participants engaged in an interactive discussion with representatives of COPAC member organizations and cooperators from the field.

Ariel Guarco, President of the International Cooperative Alliance, closed the event highlighting the transformative capacity of cooperatives to build a better and more sustainable world for future generations. COPAC also presented ‘Transforming our world: A cooperative 2030’, a series of case studies that highlight how cooperatives’ can work to achieve the SDGs, available here