Euro Coop

Celebrating the International Day of Cooperatives: Building a Better Future Together

Celebrating the International Day of Cooperatives: Building a Better Future Together

On July 6, 2024, Euro Coop proudly joins the global cooperative movement in celebrating the International Day of Cooperatives. This year’s theme, "Cooperatives Build a Better Future for All," resonates deeply with our mission and the collective efforts of our members. We are honoured to be part of this celebration, marking the 30th International Day of Cooperatives recognised by the United Nations and the 102nd International Cooperative Day.


The Importance of Cooperatives

For over a century, cooperatives have played a pivotal role in addressing global challenges and promoting sustainable development. The United Nations General Assembly officially proclaimed the International Day of Cooperatives in 1995, on the centenary of the International Cooperatives Alliance (ICA). Cooperatives are unique in their structure and purpose, prioritising the needs of their members and communities over profit. By fostering democratic decision-making, equitable distribution of resources, and community engagement, cooperatives are vital in building a just and sustainable future.

Looking Ahead: The 2025 International Year of Cooperatives

The International Cooperative Alliance has designated "Cooperatives Build a Better World" as the theme for the 2025 UN International Year of Cooperatives (IYC2025). This theme highlights the significant and lasting global impact of cooperatives, emphasising their role as essential solutions to many of the world's challenges. It underscores the cooperative model's importance in accelerating efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030, showcasing how cooperatives contribute to a more sustainable and equitable future for all.

Consumer Cooperatives: Leading by Example

Euro Coop represents consumer cooperatives across Europe, each dedicated to serving their communities through ethical business practices and innovative solutions. Here are some best practices and initiatives from our members that showcase how consumer cooperatives are creating a better future for all:

 Central Co-op Malawi Partnership: Launched in 2022, this collaboration with the Malawi Federation of Co-operatives (MAFECO) and the Co-operative College exemplifies Co-op Principles VI and VII. It aims to lift Malawi, the world's 5th poorest nation, out of poverty by supporting local producers. It boosts Malawi’s trading capacity through the sale of products like tea and macadamia nuts, symbolising resilience and community spirit. The initiative has increased coffee production from 300,000 kg to 500,000 kg, expanded organic fertiliser use, distributed 1,000 macadamia seedlings, facilitated clean water access for 37,000 people, and helped the Highland Macadamia Co-op Union regain Fairtrade status.

 Hispacoop's Circular Consumption Education: Hispacoop is dedicated to building a better future for all by educating and inspiring individuals to adopt sustainable lifestyles and make informed choices that benefit the environment and society at large. They launched the School of Circular Consumption, an educational platform that provides informative documents, tutorials, and guides aimed at a national audience. Hispacoop collaborates directly with educational centers, schools, youth centers, and various organisations to promote sustainable practices. Hispacoop also started the project 'Food Habits for a Sustainable Future,' which includes a significant awareness campaign and a detailed study on how food habits affect the environment in Spain.

 Foresta Blu by Coop Italy: The "Foresta Blu by Coop" campaign aims to replant, protect, and monitor the reforestation of 200m² of Posidonia oceanica in the protected marine areas along the Italian coasts. The campaign identifies and monitors areas where Posidonia meadows are regressing, implementing urgent protection measures. To share the passion and protection of the marine ecosystem, Coop Italy is also active with the Sea Explorers Project, a free knowledge and training path created in collaboration with the EIIS (Education, Innovation and Sustainability Institute). Launched in mid-April, Sea Explorers is designed for the community of Coop activists under 35, offering them the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the Mediterranean Sea, its species, and the threats it faces. The objective is to empower young people with the knowledge and skills to contribute actively to the protection of our marine environment.

 Coop Czech's Innovative Approach: Coop Czech has emerged as a frontrunner, leading a transformative approach to the shopping experience by collaborating with municipalities. This initiative has resulted in the establishment of unmanned stores in small towns and local villages nationwide. Coop Czech seeks to redefine community shopping, enhance accessibility, minimise environmental impact, and revitalise rural areas. By integrating modern technologies with a socially conscious environment, Coop Czech aims to reduce environmental costs while fostering employment opportunities for local communities, suppliers, and regional producers. Such technological innovation enables Coop Czech to keep retail outlets open in rural areas amidst the challenging retail landscape across Europe.

 Samkaup's Commitment to Social Sustainability: The social sustainability endeavours of Samkaup in Iceland have garnered significant attention, spotlighting the company's dedication to fostering an inclusive and sustainable working environment. The cooperative has implemented comprehensive steps, including championing equal pay, prioritising employee training and education, and embedding sustainability into its corporate structure. Samkaup places people at the center of its operations, nurturing an inclusive and informed workplace environment. Initiatives like Samkaup’s workshops and strategy days underscore the company's commitment to individual progress and active staff involvement in strategic planning. Education and cultural development are integral to Samkaup’s identity, with personalised educational programs catering to a diverse workforce. Their year-long leadership program, focusing on both leadership skills and personal development, exemplifies their dedication to continuous employee growth and empowerment.

 The Consum Solidarity Program: With a € 28.1 million endowment, this initiative supported 235,000 vulnerable individuals in 2023. Key efforts included the Profit Food Donation Program, providing 8,516.4 tons of food to nearly 85,000 people. Consum also facilitated social sales and supported numerous social projects, with clients contributing over € 700,000 through donation campaigns.

A Vision for the Future 

As we celebrate #CoopsDay, it is essential to recognise the vital role cooperatives play in building a better future for all. 

“There is not greater distinction than that of the United Nations! The 2023 UN Secretary-General Report dedicated to Cooperatives in Social Development rightfully acknowledges cooperatives as vehicles for socioeconomic development, especially with regards to marginalizedEuro Coop Board & Secretariat groups in our society. Our members combat climate change and foster social cohesion. As such, we welcome the UN’s appeal towards national governments to show support for cooperatives through an enabling regulatory and policy environment, which will surely allow us to amplify our social, economic, and environmental contributions.” - shared Todor Ivanov, Euro Coop Secretary General.

Euro Coop and its members are committed to advancing the co-op mission and vision of building a better world by safeguarding community relations, enhancing local resources, advocating for social responsibility, and adopting sustainable, ethical and long-term business practices. Together, we can inspire policymakers, civil society organisations, and the public to embrace the cooperative model as a powerful tool for positive change

In alignment with the ICA’s vision, we invite everyone to join us in this celebration and to demonstrate cooperative’s success in generating inclusive and sustainable growth worldwide, as well as our significant contributions to achieving the UN SDGs. Let’s cooperate to build a more just, inclusive, and sustainable future for all.

Happy International Day of Cooperatives!


Euro Coop Team

Join the conversation on social media using #CoopsDay #BetterFutureForAll and share your cooperative stories and initiatives with the world!


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