The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. They address the global challenges we face. European agricultural and forest cooperatives are contributing every day to the achievement of the SDGs in a way that is economically viable, inclusive, people-focused, long-term and innovative.
Poverty isn’t only about the lack of money. European agri-cooperatives are fully engaged in fighting rural poverty, which is linked to the specific disadvantages of rural areas. With their core activities increase farmers’ incomes and find additional income sources. With their special actions, agri-cooperative offer to farmers and their families opportunity to increase standards of living, education, participation in cultural activities, wellbeing and happiness.
Everyday European agri-cooperatives produce fresh and processed foods and deliver vital proteins, nutrients and tasty food products to people all over the world. Through partnerships and investments in research and development, European agri-cooperatives aim at making their products and processes always more sustainable. "We will find a way to feed the world with sustainable solutions" is the mantra of European agri-cooperatives.
As agri-food businesses, agri-cooperatives are at the forefront of consumer-led nutrition trends. Their success is dependent on collaboration with customers and strong ties with their farmer-owners and other suppliers. Through these collaborations, European agri-food cooperatives are contributing to solutions to improve health, livelihoods and sustainable food production.
European agri-cooperatives actively contribute to the economic viability of rural areas and women’s participation in the labour market and governance life of these enterprises is of great importance. Gender representation is a major factor of progress in agricultural and forest cooperatives and for this reason, they put in place instruments to improve the representation of women in their governance and management bodies.
Through their investment in education and training programmers, European agricultural and forest cooperatives have a community of passionate farmers, directors, employees who work hard to build strong and trusted brands, backed by their leadership in education.
The growing global population and economic activity have put increased pressure on the world’s water resources and water scarcity is now one of the greatest global challenges. European agricultural and forest cooperatives are coping with this challenge and saving water, CO2 and energy without compromising food safety and production.
European agricultural and forest cooperative are actively addressing the challenge of reducing energy consumption and increasing the contribution the sector makes towards renewable energy production. It is clear that the energy and agriculture nexus is not just about a trade-off. It also provides indeed significant opportunities for synergies. The synergies are transposed into benefits for farmer-members
People working for agricultural and forest cooperatives bring cooperatives values to life and enable the enterprises to fulfil their purpose of delivering high-quality produce and food while empowering farmers members in the food supply chain. The talent, commitment and pride of the people working for European agricultural and forest cooperatives are fundamental to their long-term success.
Innovation is the engine for the growth of European agricultural and forest cooperatives. By supporting farmers in addressing the societal goals, agri-cooperatives became more efficient. They are now innovation excellence in the sector. They create new products that delight consumers and help them live a balanced and healthier life. Their research, digital and innovation teams push the boundaries of science and technology to build a bright future for agriculture.
Agricultural and forest cooperatives are keenly aware of their social responsibilities with regard to their farmer-members, employees and wider society. They implement initiatives to improve the position of farmers in the food supply chain and their standards of living. They care about the quality of life at work and they support the local and often disadvantaged communities where they operate.
Minimising resource consumption in the food and fibre production is an integral part of the daily work of all European agricultural and forest cooperatives, especially when it comes to the consumption of natural resources, waste minimisation and the implementation of cleaner technologies. European agri-cooperatives efforts are driven by a common goal: build sustainable communities.
Food waste is a very important challenge that needs to be tackled from farm to fork because it has a significant social, environmental and climate impact. European Agri-cooperatives approach aims at reducing food waste by optimising the food value chain in its entirety and shifting from linear use of resources to circular use.
Agricultural and forest cooperatives are investing in technologies and adopting targeted programmes that will allow them to take climate actions. European agri-cooperatives recognise the importance of becoming ever more efficient and taking every available opportunity to reduce emissions and implement adaptation actions.
European agricultural, fishermen and forest cooperatives prevent and significantly reduce all forms of marine pollution also through the selection of suppliers who adhere to marine pollution reduction programs, especially that resulting from activities carried out on land. Additionally, specific programmes and projects are promoted by ichthyic and fishing cooperative enterprises aiming at preserving local ichthyic reserves.
Through their on-farm programmes, European agricultural and forest cooperatives are working to enhance both the land and water quality embedded in Goal 15, which as they interpret it also includes the health and welfare of their livestock and biodiversity.
The key principle of agri-cooperatives is a democracy and the participation of their farmer-members in the decision-making process is of extreme importance. In this context, European agri-cooperatives put in place participatory stakeholder consultation processes on economic, environmental and social issues to ensure an inclusive decision-making approach. They also develop codes of good governance and reporting related to the financial statements, sustainability and environmental performance of the cooperative enterprises.
European agricultural and forest cooperatives strengthen partnerships to support and achieve the ambitious targets of the 2030 Agenda, bringing together national governments, the international community, civil society, the private sector and other actors. In this respect, Cogeca, the European voice of agri-cooperatives is also a platform for the exchange of best practices where its members assess the advances in certain areas and the necessary steps to be done to accelerate progress.