On July 7, the International Cooperative Alliance, ACI, celebrates the International Day of Cooperatives every Saturday in July. Its slogan in its 96th edition is “sustainable societies thanks to cooperation”. The values, principles and structures of governance, sustainability and resilience are part of the cooperative movement that has more than 1.2 billion members in the world. Sustainable societies are those that reflect the environmental, social and economic limits of growth.
By their very nature, cooperatives play an important role:
• As economic actors create employment opportunities, livelihoods and income generation. The union of the producers in cooperatives allows a greater organization of the offer, a better power of negotiation and a market ordering, making our partners benefit from the added value generated in the chain. In addition, cooperatives generate economies of scale, make partner farms more efficient, reduce their production costs, access technical assistance services and the common purchase of supplies, guaranteeing the traceability of the process and the product and a continuous supply to its customers. The cooperatives offer stable employment to workers, fixing people in rural areas and forming the workforce continuously and believing in their professional possibilities.
• As companies with social objectives and people-centered, they contribute to equity and social justice. Our mission is to improve the lives of partner farmers and by extension of their families and the towns and areas where they live. Cooperatives also address equal opportunities for men and women with the implementation of policies and lines of action that contribute to increasing the percentage of women in the decision-making and governance bodies of cooperatives, necessary for the construction of a society egalitarian and sustainable. We try to attract talent and young producers to the sector, fundamental for the maintenance of the population and the rural environment.
• As democratic institutions, they are controlled by their members and play a leading role in society and local communities. As a business project in its strategic conception, cooperatives incorporate benefits to society and the agents that surround them as a complementary objective. Thus, cooperatives provide support to municipalities and other social agents in activities that improve the lives of rural municipalities, involve members in the strategic decisions taken by the cooperative through its democratic bodies, are transparent to its members , clients and workers, etc.
• As entities committed to the environment. Cooperatives carry out production, transformation and commercialization activities with the minimum possible impact, being aware that natural resources are the basis and the future of their activity. Cooperatives have been pioneers in the use of biological control as an alternative and complement to phytosanitary treatments; in the implementation of product quality management systems, integrated production standards and environmental management systems. And in recent years we have introduced energy efficiency techniques, we have reduced the carbon footprint or incorporated renewable energy or cogeneration. Cooperatives are committed to a new competitive and decarbonised agriculture, to new opportunities based on the circular bioeconomy, with the sustainable use of by-products and waste streams that have been underused so far.
From Cooperativas Agro-alimentarias de España we are clear that we must contribute to the sustainability of the Spanish agri-food sector. We are convinced that it should not be limited to a commitment to image, we must actively facilitate a real sustainability based on the three pillars of the 3,740 cooperative companies and the more than one million families that we represent.
Much of our values and what we contribute to society is reflected in the following video Cooperatives, together we are stronger
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