Singapore co-ops celebrate sustainability at second Co-operative Movement Night

300 co-operators gathered to celebrate 15 co-ops’ work under the banner of ‘Sense & Sustainability’

Over 300 co-operators gathered in Singapore for the second annual Co-operative Movement Night on 21 September.

Organised by the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF), Co-operative Movement Night 2023 (CMN 2023) commemorated sustainability activity undertaken by 15 local co-ops within the event’s theme of Sense & Sustainability.

Attendees were invited to explore sustainability through their senses, including tasting cricket-based protein bars, browsing upcycled dresses and listening to music played on instruments made from recycled materials. 

Singapore’s minister of state for culture, community and youth, Alvin Tan, commended a number of projects showcased at the event, such as preschool co-operative NTUC First Campus, where preschoolers participate in national gardening programmes, and Mushroom Buddies, a project launched by the Employment for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities Co-operative, which promotes local food production by growing, harvesting and selling organic and nutrient-rich mushrooms.

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Tan also announced a new S$500,000 (£299,613) Sustainability Grant to support co-ops as they develop and implement sustainable practices, as part of the Central Co-operative Fund (CCF), a trust fund distributed by the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth.

The grant will be administered through SNCF, whose chief executive Ang Hin Kee said the work is “about the aggregation of marginal gains”, and SNCF is “happy to support the co-ops on their percentage improvements in the sustainability journey”.

CMN 2023 also saw SNCF sign a memorandum of understanding with the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) promising to work together on developing co-ops’ capacity in the area of sustainability. This follows the first collaboration between SNCF and SUSS in September on a course about Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations for co-ops.

“Co-ops are set up with the intent to champion different social causes and have long been adopting social and governance practices,” said Ang. “SNCF hopes to help co-ops to get started and to embrace sustainability by taking a more conscientious and long-term approach.”