24 May 2012
Australia will have several industry representatives at the Imagine 2012 Conference, an international conference on co-operative economics, in Quebec City, Canada, October 6-8.
Australia will have industry representatives at the Imagine 2012 Conference, an international conference on co-operative economics, in Quebec City, Canada, October 6-8.
The conference is the official preliminary event for the 2012 International Summit on the Co-operative. It will bring together 15 highly respected researchers seeking more sustainable economic models and an international panel of co-op and credit union representatives.
Their task is to hammer out the framework of what could become a universally accepted body of theory, analysis and practice called ‘Co-operative Economics’.
One Australian attendee is Valerieanne Byrnes, Executive Manager of People, Communities and Credit for Community Mutual Group in NSW. Byrnes is a second year student in the Master of Management, Co-operatives and Credit Unions program (MMCCU), which is a co-producer of the Imagine 2012 Conference.
“The principle of self-help and co-operation has always resonated strongly with me,” Byrnes says. “Structurally, I knew and understood how we were different. But the MMCCU program has deepened my understanding of the benefits of co-operation to levels I could not have imagined.”
Imagine 2012 will aim to provide participants with a similar experience, which Byrnes describes as “an understanding of the societal benefits that co-operative economics offers, in comparison to the model we have embraced today but constantly complain about.”
Other Australian attendees will include several members of the board of directors of bankmecu. With reserves now standing at $287million, bankmecu is one of the strongest customer-owned financial institutions in the country.
The directors are coming to Imagine 2012, says Manager of Development Rowan Dowland, because bankmecu “has taken a position to become a thought leader on co-operative enterprise and responsible banking.” Dowland recently submitted a five-year Development Plan for bankmecu with this purpose in mind.
“We are strongly committed to proving the business case for a more responsible approach to capitalism and sustainable development,” said Dowland.
Dowland expects his directors to come away from Imagine 2012 and the Co-op Summit with, “knowledge gained by accessing the leading thinkers on responsible capitalism and co-operative enterprise…with the aim of bringing this knowledge back into our own business.”
Tom Webb, one of the planners of Imagine 2012, agrees. “At Imagine 2012 co-operative leaders will have the opportunity to explore alternative economics and the ideas we need to create an economics of hope. At the Summit, co-operative leaders will use those economic tools and that analysis to begin to shape strategies to build a better world over the next decade.”
“In 2007, most economists told us the global ‘economy’ was very healthy, and the fundamentals were sound. That year, 1.3 million children starved to death and 5.8 million more suffered from severe malnutrition. An economy that fails to provide food for more than 7 million children is not sound, nor is the economic system that claims it is so.”
To find out more please visit www.imagine2012.coop