The conference emphasized change, impact and sustainability and consisted in both plenary sessions and workshops designed to engage participants in critical thinking around the main topics of each day. The key focus throughout the 3 days was on the UN 2030 agenda and how cooperatives can contribute as economic actors with a social and sustainable impact. The speakers presented research, innovations, cases, and concrete tools for working towards meeting the objectives of the SDGs. The workshops provided participants with ideas and solutions to bring back to their home countries and cooperatives.
Ilana’s presentation included some preliminary results from the 2019 World Cooperative Monitor, providing details about the American organizations in the dataset, most of which come from the USA and Colombia. The Americas make up 33% of the Top 300 with a total turnover of approximately 500 billion USD from organizations primarily in the insurance and agriculture/food industries sectors.
Ilana highlighted the need for data collection at the country level in order to be able to describe the economic and social impact of cooperatives. The research on the Top 300 and their contributions to the SDGs provides insights into the specific actions implemented, though the level of participation in the SDG reporting initiatives is relatively low amongst the largest cooperatives. As stated by the UN Secretary General, “without evidence of where we stand now we cannot confidently chart our path forward in realizing the Sustainable Development Goals.” Cooperatives must therefore continue to collect data and use the SDG reporting tools available, including the GRI initiative and UN Global Compact.