Agricultural Cooperatives in Sustainable Development (IFAP / IISD)

Read at : “Neil Sorensen (IFAP)” <neil.sorensen@ifap.org>

Sustainable Development Announcement List <sd-l@lists.iisd.ca>

News Flash: Agricultural Cooperatives in Sustainable Development

Press Contacts
Neil Sorensen, Communications Coordinator
Email: neil.sorensen@ifap.org
Jessica Goodfellow, Communications Officer
Email: jessica.goodfellow@ifap.org

On May 26, 2009, 80 farmer leaders and representatives of international organizations from 40 countries came together to discuss the Comparative Advantages of Agricultural Cooperatives in Sustainable Development: Coops as Forward-looking Organizations in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

The conference demonstrated that the cooperative model not only drives economic development, but also political and social responsibility, leading t a fairer way of doing business in which social and ethical values are the part of the way business is done.

Cooperatives operate under the seven cooperative principles: voluntary and open membership; democratic member control; member economic participation; autonomy and independence; education, training and information; cooperation among cooperatives; and concern for community. If these principles are respected, they naturally lead to socially responsible organizations.

Through cooperatives, farmers can achieve economies of scale, by reducing the unit costs of inputs and services, and focus on producing goods, improving product and service quality and reducing risks, developing new market opportunities or expanding existing markets. Moreover, agricultural cooperatives continuously invest and innovate in order to secure a fair position in the food chain.

The conference delved into CSR to give participants key elements for starting the development of their own strategy. After sharing the objectives of companies setting up CSR strategies, discussions particularly tackled the various initiatives a cooperative can start with, the means for evaluating progress, the importance of the coop governance, their collaboration with external stakeholders and their responsibilities to the local community.

Because CSR is a way of doing business and embedding stakeholde preferences in business strategy and behavior, agricultural cooperatives can lead the way by integrating sustainable practices fromfarm-to-for highlighting the cooperative principles. Making CSR a reality takes investment, but a CSR program can in turn become a means to generate income and enhance the long term sustainability of agricultural cooperatives.

In his summary of the conference, Marcus Borgstm, Chair of the IFAP Committee on Agricultural Cooperatives, saiDuring the food and financial crises, we easily forget the most important principles. The cooperative, in its structure, is both social and sustainabl

One result of the meeting was a decision to author a white paper on the topic of the conference, which will provide guidance to governments and others on the benefits of supporting agricultural cooperatives for sustainable development.

The conference presentations can be viewed on Vimeo from the links below. The conference presentations are also available on the IFAP website in pdf format at:  http://www.ifap.org/en/issues/CooperativesinSustainableDevelopment.html

For more information, please contact Fabienne Derrien at Fabienne.derrien@ifap.org

Marcus Borgstm opens the IFAP Conference on the Comparative Advantages of Cooperatives in Sustainable Development

Marcus Borgstrom, Chair of the IFAP Committee on Agricultural Cooperatives, gives a keynote speech at the IFAP Conference the Comparative Advantages of Agricultural Cooperatives in Sustainable Development: Coops as forward-looking organizations in Corporate Social Responsibility.

Welcome address by Claus Sgaard-Richter, Deputy Director General, Danish Agricultural Council

Claus Sgaard-Richter, Deputy Director General, Danish Agricultural Council, gives his welcome address to the IFAP conference.

ésentation de Fabienne Derrien, Responsable des politiques Senior, FIPA

ésentation de Fabienne Derrien, Responsable des politiques Senior, FIPA – veloppement durable et responsabilit sociale des entreprises : un positionnement strégique des entrepriseà travers le monde.

Overview of the cooperative movement in SD and C by ren Svendsen, Center for Corporate Governance, Copenhagen Business

Ulla Nilsson, Vice President Corporate Quality and Environment, ARLA Foods

Building a dairy cos CSR strategy: Our Responsibility   by Ulla Nilsson, Vice President Corporate Quality and Environment, ARLA Foods.

A CSR experience from an IFAP member coop by Han-Ho Choi, NACF (Korea)

In this presentation, Han-HO Choi, NACF (Korea) shares his coop’s experiences with Corporate Social Responsibility. The objective of this session was to give orientation to coop leaders on how to proceed in setting up a proactive sustainable development approach for efficient risk management, to share the experiences of cooperatives involved in CSR to learn concretely how they deal with the obstacles they encounter.

Experiencia de los cafetaleros peruanos por Lucila Quintana, Junta Nacional del Caf

Las cooperativas agrcolas en sus contextos local y nacional: la importancia de establecerólidos acuerdos de colaboraón y asociaón con interesados locales y nacionales – Experiencia de los cafetaleros peruanos por Lucila Quintana, Junta Nacional del Caf.

GRI Reporting – an internationally recognized tool in CSR

GRI Reporting – an internationally recognized tool in CSR, and its usefulness for agricultural cooperatives by Koen Boone, Global Reporting Initiative. This presentation answers the question ‘How to measure agricultural cooperativs performance in the 3 pillars of SD?

Normes de gestion de la RSE : la future norme ISO 26000

Comment mesurer la performance des coératives agricoles dans les 3 piliers du DD? Normes de gestion de la RSE : la future norme ISO 26000 Michel Capron, Professeur, Institut de Recherche en Gestion, Universi de Paris-Est.

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About Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.
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