Co-operatives Europe has published its brochure on Co–operative Social Responsibility.
The report (see below) looks at how co-operatives are different from other businesses, not only because of their structure and organisation, but also because they place a strong emphasis on social responsibility.
Co-operatives are owned and controlled by their members who are fully involved in the decision making process, and they lobby for their member’s needs as well as for social responsibility, ensuring a sustainable development.
The principle of one member – one vote enables a democratic exercise of power within co-operatives. Being social responsible is a core value for co-operatives. Co-operatives promote social inclusion and international co-operation.
“Co-operative businesses that have stayed faithful to co-operative values and principles and the co-operative banks which rely on members’ funds and are controlled by local people have generally been able to resist the crisis very well,” Jose Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, said in January 2009.
Another important aspect of co-operatives is solidarity not only between their members, but also among co-operatives themselves. Co-operatives promote energy-efficient and environmental-friendly policies.
Co-operatives Europe’s plan for social responsibility
Co-operatives Europe believe co-operatives can be the driving force towards economic recovery and sustainable development. Co-operatives across Europe are determined to continue their effort to secure sustainable development and promote social responsibility.
The plan for the future has been revealed by Co-operatives Europe and includes promoting sustainable practices and organic production in agriculture, develop the production and distribution of renewable energy and awareness of environmental issues, reduce own energy consumption and carbon emissions, reprocess waste and promote sustainable fishing and fair trade.
Co-operatives Europe also aim to improve the representation of women in the board of directors of co-operatives and to share and encourage best practices. The final purpose is to offer consumers safe, high-quality and sustainable goods at affordable prices.
Etienne Pflimlin, Co-operatives Europe co-president said: "We are proud of this publication: it shows that co-operatives are an integral part of CSR policies, which they develop with their unique identity and governance specificities."
Co-operatives Europe is the European cross-sectoral organisation promoting the co-operative business model on behalf of 90 co-operative organisations from 34 European countries across all business sectors. Co-operatives Europe has 123 million members from 160,000 enterprises which account for 5.4 million jobs.