Aus Co-Op Joins Global Pledge on UN’s Sustainable Development Goals
13 July 2016 at 9:59 am
Grain industry giant, the CBH Group, has become the first Australian co-op to sign onto a global campaign, pledging its support for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.
The #CoopsFor2030 campaign was launched by the International Co-operative Alliance, where co-ops can nominate which of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) they will work to address. They can show how they plan to achieve their goals, as well as track their progress.
The CBH Group, one of Australia’s largest co-operatives, has pledged to achieve the SDGs in four areas:
- substantially increase the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix
- halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level, and reduce food losses along production and supply chains including post-harvest by 2030
- encourage companies, especially large and trans-national companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle
- take urgent and significant action to reduce the degradation of natural habitats, halt the loss of biodiversity and, by 2020, protect and prevent the extinction of threatened species.
The CBH Group is owned and controlled by around 4,200 Western Australian grain growers, and has total assets of more than $2 billion.
The campaign comes after the International Day of Co-operatives was celebrated on 2 July, with this year’s theme fittingly “the power to act for a sustainable future”.
The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) CEO, Melina Morrison, told Pro Bono Australia News the campaign was “absolutely integral” to all businesses whether cooperative or not.
She said it was important to incorporate the SDGs into business strategy, and ensure businesses have a social, environmental and economic licence to operate.
“It’s great to see Australia’s largest cooperative by turnover to be the first to sign up with very explicit and clear goals given that they have such a huge share of the Australian grain export and storage and handling market,” Morrison said.
“It’s very important that they showed leadership and they have done so with these ambitious targets.
“[BCCM] is definitely spearheading the call to action to encourage as many Australian co-ops to join the example set by CBH and sign up to the pledge but more and more we are finding that leading businesses, whether they are cooperatives or not are acknowledging or recognising that these are really important goals to bring within their business strategy.
“For all business it is about being sustainable and relevant to all of your stakeholders.
“We have to aspire to make those goals achievable. The UN has set them because they have recognised that we need to bring a triple bottom line to the way we do business, particularly in the aftermath of the GFC when both businesses and communities suffered. There is only one way forward and that’s to make business and the economy and communities sustainable.”
President of the International Co-operative Alliance, Monique Leroux said: “By their nature, co-operatives are sustainable businesses with a long-term vision for their development. Owing to their values and principles, they are well positioned to contribute to the well-being of communities and to meet their needs. It’s in their DNA.
“It is important for the Alliance to share its work with the United Nations as the co-operative movement contributes in a tangible way to the SDGs. The co-operative business model needs to be promoted and shared because co-operative enterprises foster democracy, social inclusion and operate with concern for the environment. Co-operatives are sustainable businesses that have the power to act at local, national and international levels.”
She said that with co-operatives so entrenched in the communities that they serve, this was a rare opportunity to collaborate on a global level to advance shared interests.
The UN adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in September 2015. The SDGs aim to end extreme poverty, fight inequality and fix climate change over the next 15 years.