Over the next 12 months, Co-operative News is taking an in-depth look at sustainability, both in print and online.
We will examine the big sustainability issues and what they mean for the co-operative sector, asking some difficult questions and searching for answers. And we will look at best practice in co-operatives large and small, in the UK and internationally, as well as identifying points of learning from beyond the co-operative movement.
The Southern Co-operative is acting as a partner because, like all organisations leading the way on sustainability, it has embedded it in the business plan as a whole rather than treating it as an add-on or marketing device.
Through this hub we aim to provide a platform for the co-op sector to share, learn and talk with one another on this most critical topic.
But first, what is sustainability? In business, sustainability is often used to encompass how a business operates in three areas: the environment, community and the economy.
For The Southern Co-operative, this trio is translated into an understanding of sustainability as “working together to make a positive difference to the local economy, the environment and our communities”.
More broadly, sustainability is about the impact that businesses have on the world. The term ‘sustainable development’ was first used by the United Nations in 1987 to refer to “development which meets the needs of current generations without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”.
We will be seeing, over the coming months, the impact that co-operatives are having and looking at strategies for ensuring it meets the needs of current and future generations.