International Co-ops Day

On July 1, co-ops and their members around the world will celebrate the International Day of Co-operatives, united by the slogan, “Co-ops 4 Sustainable Development.”

Celebrated worldwide for more than a century and officially proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1995, the International Day of Co-operatives is annually commemorated on the first Saturday of July.

This year, the co-operative movement will celebrate under the theme, Co-ops 4 Sustainable Development, demonstrating how our business model, rooted in our shared values and principles, has the accomplishment of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as part of its DNA.  During #CoopsDay, co-operators around the world will communicate to their members and shoppers, policymakers, community organizations, and the general public about the contribution of co-ops to a just and sustainable future for all.

Here in our region, the Neighboring Food Co-op Association (NFCA) and its member co-ops are spreading the word: when you shop at your local food co-op, you’ll not only find good food, you’re also helping build more healthy, sustainable, and inclusive communities by supporting…

  • Local Food Systems. The NFCA’s annual impact survey found that member co-ops reported that an average of 25% of their sales were local products, supporting small producers and building more resilient communities.
  • Food Security. When you shop at your co-op, you’re making healthy, affordable food more accessible to everyone in your community, and ensuring reliable markets for local farmers and producers.
  • Good Jobs. You’re supporting more full-time jobs and higher wages for employees. 60% of co-op staff are also members, sharing in the ownership of their grocery store.
  • Sustainability. Your dollars support family farming, organic agriculture, reduced packaging, and a business model based on meeting people’s needs rather than maximizing profit.
  • A More Inclusive Economy. Food co-ops are jointly owned and democratically governed by their members, people like you who shop there and are working together to build a better economy that works for everyone.

As natural vehicles of collaborative partnership and prosperity for all, co-operatives contribute to economic, social, and environmental sustainability across regions and economic sectors. From farmer co-ops to food co-ops, worker co-ops to credit unions, housing co-ops to mutual insurance, co-operative businesses strengthen communities, enhance local resources, advocate for social responsibility, and promote sustainable business practices based on long-term well-being rather than short-term profits.

So, it may not be surprising that the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) was the first worldwide business network to endorse the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and be recognized as a partner in their advancement. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all UN Member States in 2015, offered a blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. At its heart are the 17 goals that recognize that ending poverty and other deprivations must go hand-in-hand with strategies that improve health and education, reduce inequality, and spur economic growth – all while tackling climate change and working to preserve our oceans and forests. September of 2023 will mark the mid-point in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and seek ways to accelerate progress in the SDGs.

“At the mid-point of the 2030 Agenda, efforts need to be deepened, and this can only be done with more co-operation. Enterprises, which are responsible for organising the production and distribution of goods and services, must focus on people and the planet. Co-operatives have a model for doing this, and have been demonstrating it for almost 200 years”, says ICA President Ariel Guarco.

The NFCA is joining the ICA in encouraging co-ops and their members around the world to celebrate International #CoopsDay and show the world what can be achieved through the power of co-operation.

Erbin Crowell, NFCA Executive Director and Carla Decker, Board Chair, NCBA/CLUSA celebrating the 2022 International Day of Co-operatives

Learn more about how Co-operatives Build a Better World by visiting your local food co-op.   You can find a searchable map at this link.

Read our International Co-ops Day article in Green Energy Times.