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Sustainability Reporting for Co-operatives: A Guidebook

International Co-operative Alliance & SSG Present: Sustainability Reporting for Co-operatives: A Guidebook

Sustainability Reporting for Co-operatives: A Guidebook, prepared by SSG for the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), explores the different types of reporting frameworks used by co-ops globally, the process of developing a chosen framework and how a co-op can then communicate results to members and interested stakeholders.

The Guidebook also provides guidance on how co-operatives can track their contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

You can read more about the report on ICA’s website, or you can download the report directly.

We’re recruiting!

SSG is looking for two inspiring additions to our team as we expand and require additional support.

  1. Finance Coordinator and Administrator: 3 days a week* to start on Thursday 10th March 2016
  2. Communications Specialist: 5 days a month to start Monday 14th March 2016

*Candidates in Ottawa interested in a full-time position should specify this in their covering letter. One of SSG’s partners La Siembra is hiring a part-time bookkeeper as well and opportunities exist to build full-time hours between the two organisations: http://www.lasiembra.com/camino/en/careers

The deadline for applications is 26th February 2016 midnight in Eastern Time.

Please contact rebecca@ssg.coop if you have any queries.

As a workers cooperative, we believe it is the most equitable, accountable and active business model that enables cultural change from within. Our members’ expertise crosses disciplines, cultures and generations to create a different working experience that makes essential sustainability impacts possible.

Mao and Radishes: 21 Stories of Transition @COP21

The common thread through tonight’s event, as asked by Rob Hopkins, the founder of the Transition Towns movement and host of this evening, was the humility, lack of ego and localised thinking. In communities across the world from South Africa to Brazil, the collective brain of the community instinctually and creatively solved a single issue, that spiralled into easing a host of wider problems, as a result of this collaborative effort. The more actors you have in the decision making, the more needs are satisfied. Of the fifteen projects featured from his book 21 Stories of Transition and those we heard from, highlights were a project in France that not only brought together the diversity of seeds, but also diversity of language by including labels for the plants in Latin, in French and the local dialect, that reinvigorated the community again. Read more

The International Co-operative Alliance issues statement on climate change for COP21, Paris

Statement of the International Co-operative Alliance General Assembly to the world leaders involved in the COP21 in Paris

We, the delegates of the 44th General Assembly of the International Co-operative Alliance, gathered in Antalya, Turkey, on the 13th of November 2015, emphasize to the heads of state and government that will meet in Paris in December 2015 for the COP21 that:  

  1. The International Co-operative Alliance, celebrating this year its 120th anniversary, represents one billion individuals, members of more than 2.5 million co-operative enterprises worldwide that provide for the livelihoods of or directly employ 250 million people.
  2. Co-operatives are sustainable enterprises and their important role in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals has been recognized in several global policy initiatives, such as the Rio+20 outcome document, the Financing for Development Outcome Document and the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
  3. Co-operatives are active in many sectors of the economy, such as agriculture, retail, insurance, housing, banking and energy, among others, and can therefore be a vehicle to implement the Sustainable Development Goals across different fields, the fight against climate change included.
  4. The International Co-operative Alliance has urged its members to continue and step up their initiatives to fight climate change.

Therefore,

The International Co-operative Alliance urges the heads of state and government, present in Paris for the COP21, to agree to effective and ambitious measures against climate change and to take into consideration the co-operative movement as a partner in their implementation.

Canada: worker cooperatives taking action to address climate change

(Repost from CICOPA: dated 31st October 2015)

In the Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG) document it is underlined that co-operatives are showing leadership by joining together to develop a co-operative solution to climate change.  CWCF member Sustainability Solutions Group (SSG) has put out a call to action to engage cooperatives in climate change activities, including in their publication “A Co-operative Solution to Climate Change”: 

“Co-operatives represent something special for the climate change challenge. It is a combination of experience and a proven track record, resilience, an unrelenting dedication to universal values, the ability to achieve multiple outcomes at once, and flexibility and versatility.”[1]

The concept of sustainability is embedded within the seven co-operative principles.  By their nature, co-operatives put societal and member concerns ahead of short-term profit.

CWCF recently adopted a Statement on Climate Change[2] which begins as follows:

“From November 30 to December 11, 2015, the nations of the world will come together in Paris, France to negotiate a global treaty on climate change. The Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (CWCF) is an organisation representing worker co-operatives across Canada, and Principle 7 of the Co-operative Principles states that “Co-operatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies approved by their members”.  Climate change unequivocally threatens not only sustainable development, but the survival of millions of people around the world through undermining food security, extreme weather events, sea level rise, ocean acidification and other impacts. CWCF is therefore mandated on behalf of our members to advocate for meaningful action on climate change according to the co-operative values of self-help, self-responsibility, democracy, equality, equity and solidarity. In so doing, CWCF joins a diverse and growing movement within society.

To this end, CWCF calls for an agreement in Paris that includes the following elements:

Commitment to 100% renewable future by 2050: In order to stabilise the climate at safe levels as called for by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the world needs to transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy by 2050[3]. This also means that more than 2/3 of all present commercially viable fossil fuel reserves will need to stay in the ground[4].  …” 

The Pathway to Paris, co-organized by SSG, is a collection of artists, activists, academics, musicians, politicians, and innovators coming together to make their voices heard in the context of the UN climate talks in Paris in December 2015.  SSG has been participating in the UN climate negotiations for several years, and the meeting in Paris this December is a unique opportunity to agree upon a coordinated international response to climate change. The meeting is unique because of a coalescing of acknowledgement by heads of state, particularly China and the US, that substantive action is urgent.

Many Worker Co-operatives in Canada in addition to SSG are working towards sustainability and climate justice, including the following:  

  •  Forêt d’Arden is a worker cooperative in Quebec, which provides education about the environment.
  • EnerGreen Builders Co-operative located in New Brunswick, is committed to building and maintaining high quality sustainable buildings and they endeavour to use environmentally friendly building materials and practices.
  •  Aster Group Environmental Services, also in New Brunswick, is a worker co-operative that delivers environmental consulting services.
  •  The Fourth Pig, a worker cooperative in Ontario, is a construction company that doeshome and commercial renovations and building. Their work is based on natural and green building techniques and materials. 
  • Vancouver Renewable Energy Co-op (VREC) sells, installs and provides consulting services for renewable energy systems in British Columbia.
  •  Natural Cycle Worker Co-op Limited is a group of enterprises, located in Manitoba, Canada focused on human-powered transportation.  They have four worker co-operative members including a courier business, a bike shop, a fabrication company and a distribution company.
  • Urbane Cyclist Workers Co-op is a bike shop located in downtown Toronto that includes retail and service. Urbane Cyclist supports all pedal-powered cycling and their shop services all kinds of bicycles.
  •  Old Town Glassworks in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories is a community of workers and artists who create hand-crafted glassware from recycled bottles.
  • Urban Eatin’ Landscapes, located in Manitoba, transforms underutilized space into beautiful edible landscapes. 
  • Tourne-Sol Co-operative Farm, in rural Quebec, is a farming cooperative that is committed to producing the highest quality organic products in the most sustainable ways possible to nourish our local community and enrich the landscape.

Yuill Hebert of SSG noted that, “Cooperatives are very active around the world in addressing climate change; from renewable energy cooperatives to car sharing, from low-carbon housing to providing critical financing but certainly they can do more, much more. The unique value proposition is that cooperatives, unlike many other models of enterprise, can enable the transition to a fossil fuel-free society while combating inequality, enhancing democracy and ensuring local involvement and control, thus simultaneously achieving different aspects of the sustainable development goals- a win-win-win solution. If we attempt to solve climate change with unrestrained capitalism, the result may be reduced emissions, but there are also other social and economic problems that must then be addressed.” 

Co-operatives in Canada and elsewhere are already implementing sustainable business practices and services.  CWCF urges all co-operatives to get involved in working together to address climate change.  This can be done by adopting a Climate Change Statement, advocating with governments, creating climate-related policies, participating in Pathways to Paris or similar activities, implementing more sustainable business practices and services and collaborating to encourage other co-operatives, community organizations, and businesses to address climate change issues

The Canadian Worker Co-operative Federation (CWCF) is a national, bilingual grassroots membership organization of and for worker co-operatives, related types of co-operatives (multi-stakeholder co-ops and worker-shareholder co-ops), and organizations that support the growth and development of worker cooperatives.  CWCF’s e-newsletter is available free of charge to anyone with an e-mail address and an interest in worker co-operative developments in Canada.

By Kaye Grant, CWCF
Image from Sustainability Solutions Group

See our report: “A Cooperative Solution to Climate Change”

December concert tickets on sale

— FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE —

“PATHWAY TO PARIS” TICKETS ON SALE FOR FINAL CONCERT EVENT AT LE TRIANON, PARIS, DECEMBER 4th 2015 WITH THOM YORKE, PATTI SMITH, FLEA, BILL MCKIBBEN, NAOMI KLEIN, VANDANA SHIVA, JANE FONDA AND MANY MORE

Pathway to Paris is an initiative in partnership with 350.org that brings together musicians, artists, activists, academics, politicians and innovators to participate in a series of events and dialogues to help raise consciousness around the urgency of climate action and the importance of establishing an ambitious, global, legally binding agreement at the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015.

Co-founded by musicians Jesse Paris Smith and Rebecca Foon, Pathway to Paris kicked off with an intimate evening of music and speakers at Le Poisson Rouge immediately following the People’s Climate March in New York City in September 2014, with a series of similar events unfolding in New York and Montreal over the ensuing year. The final Pathway to Paris concert will take place December 4th 2015 in Paris and will include the musicians and speakers listed below (among others still to be announced):

PATHWAY TO PARIS December 4th 2015

Le Trianon, Paris FR

BILL MCKIBBEN • NAOMI KLEIN • VANDANA SHIVA

PATTI SMITH • THOM YORKE • FLEA • DHANI HARRISON • JANE FONDA
TENZIN CHOEGYAL • JESSE PARIS SMITH • REBECCA FOON

Doors: 18:30 Show: 19:30

Tickets are on sale now!

www.pathwaytoparis.com

For ticket info and to book them follow this link to FNAC

All participants donate their time, skills and talents; while the primary aim of P2P is consciousness-raising and call-to-action, the events also raise funds, with all proceeds going to 350.org. Supported by Ben & Jerry’s, Pathway to Paris is a collaboration with 350.org, with additional support from Tree Laboratory, Sustainability Solutions Group, Modo Yoga NYC and The Flux.

For more information:

Production and French media requests: Alain Lahana pathway.to.paris@gmail.com

Coordination and interview requests: Rebecca Foon rebecca@ssg.coop

Communication related to 350.org: Jamie Henn jamie@350.org

www.pathwaytoparis.com

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The pressure mounts with 87 days to go until #COP21

A biweekly climate briefing for municipalities

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In this Issue #15

  • A UN meeting in Bonn with [mostly] hopeful results
  • Country commitments are falling way short of expectations
  • Under 1.5C is cheaper than high carbon business
  • Islamic scholars follow the lead of Pope Francis II
  • Overcoming the gap: is the solution in non-state actors?
  • News from other networks
  • Featured network: Compact of States and Regions

 

On the road to Paris; a UN meeting in Bonn with [mostly] hopeful results

Negotiators met in Bonn this week to continue narrowing in on the elements of the Paris agreement, with nation states putting forward their preferences for a formal agreement. A series of high level meetings will follow where ministers seek to overcome a number of roadblocks. On the sidelines, campaigners joined climate vulnerable countries to ask to prioritise the loss & damage sections of the agreement that provide compensation to countries which experience the impacts of climate change, for example those who are displaced. Many developed countries have opposed the loss and damage mechanism but the discussions are increasingly constructive. The general tone as a result of the Bonn meetings is hopeful for a meaningful agreement in Paris. For a detailed review, see this press conference. Similarly, if you wish to see more and catch up with other webinars and ongoing, see this page for recordings.

Read more

SSG Newswire June 2015: How does our work at the provincial level affect the bigger picture?

A monthly newsletter on news and inspiration at the nexus of sustainability

[Recently completed]

Future Oxford: our plan is endorsed by Council

“Community’s vision for its future emphasizes education and creativity, a growing sustainable economy, and environmental leadership”.

A year and a day after the Community Sustainability Plan Steering Committee was announced, the final draft of Oxford’s first Community Sustainability Plan was tabled and endorsed at County Council last week. We have worked with them and our partners InDeco since 2014 in a thorough and ambitious public engagement process. Online, this included a website futureoxford.ca (http://www.futureoxford.ca/) and related social media tools and offline, World Cafe’s and a competition for community members and students to envision Oxford County life in 2030, using video, artwork or writing. They also recently gained attention for their aspirational target to be 100% renewable by 2050! Read more