Our view: Are we taking responsibility for nature?

Co-ops around the world have pledged to protect the environment – and that should extend throughout their global supply chains

World Environment Day 2017 is asking us to remember the value of nature.

Nature can only exist through the careful assessment of our impact on the environment.

The environment is an area that co-operatives are conscious of. Last year, the International Co-operative Alliance launched a special website for co-ops to pledge support for the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

On that website, there are over 100 entries from co-ops around the world pledging to protect the environment, such as sustainable tourism co-op Costa Balenae in Italy, Australian agricultural co-op CBH and the National Co-op Grocers Association in the United States.

These pledges talk about support for renewable energy, sustainability reporting and awareness campaigns.

The pledges talk about the action we can do at home, where our co-operative operates. But what about our wider impact, for example, where we source ingredients from producers?

Looking specifically at the UN’s goals, the conservation and sustainable use of lands, water and ecosystems is a top aim of the organisation.

The wider impacts that our businesses have is the focus of our interview with Dr Jeremy Haggar from Greenwich University. Along the supply chain, businesses should be aware of the environmental needs of producers. Without this focus on corporate social responsibility, there is a threat to the sustainability of those producers, many of whom are co-operatives.

By being co-operative, we are different. When looking at the larger supply chain, there is an opportunity for co-ops to ensure corporate social responsibility extends all the way from farm to fork.