Co-operative and Mutual Climate Policy

Co-operatives and Mutuals Declaration of Climate Action

Co-operatives and mutual enterprises (CMEs) are coming together to accelerate action towards tackling climate change. This declaration sets out how CMEs will respond to the net zero transition over the coming years and take advantage of the opportunities for prosperity from a low carbon economy.

As a signatory to the Co-operatives and Mutuals Declaration of Climate Action we agree:

  • The response from our organisation to climate change includes transitioning to net zero as per the recommendations of the United Nations Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
  • The transition must be just, which means ensuring that climate action protects the planet, people and the economy.
  • Co-operatives and mutuals have a singularity of commitment to our stakeholders, our members, our community and wider society to act in the interests of people and planet as outlined by Principle 7 of the International Cooperative Principles which enshrines “care for the community” in our business DNA.
  • As co-operatives, we can use the special relationships we have with our members, customers, workers, suppliers and communities to achieve net zero and work with them to take advantage of the opportunities from the low-carbon transition.

We commit to the following: 

  • We will act urgently and proportionately in our response to climate change – reducing our emissions to net zero before 2050 and putting in place actions to start decarbonisation as soon as possible.
  • We will undertake an assessment on the risks and opportunities posed by climate change on our organisation, our customers, members and business model, and develop a plan to mitigate these risks and build resilience to climate related shocks.
  • We will measure our carbon footprint so we know our baseline and set meaningful targets aligned with climate science.
  • We will use carbon offsets cautiously and as recommended by climate science and not as a proxy for taking action within our own organisation.
  • We will communicate on our climate progress and the implementation of this declaration to our stakeholders on a regular basis.
  • Our journey to net zero will maximise wider sustainable development benefits such as protecting nature, improving air-quality and job creation.
  • We will establish supporting governance for the journey to net-zero including ensuring the response to the climate crisis is reflected in different areas/functions of our organisation.
  • In line with Principle 6 of the International Cooperative Principles – “Cooperation among Cooperatives” – we will collaborate with other organisations across the BCCM family from multiple sectors, to share practices and learnings as well as explore new opportunities from the low carbon transition.

Meet the signatories

Australian Unity Logo
Great Southern Bank logo
HCF logo
Heritage Bank Logo
RACQ logo
Bank Australia logo
Northern Australia Aboriginal Kakadu Plum Alliance
NRMA logo

BCCM Position Statement on Climate Change

Climate change is a first order risk to the Australian environment, society and economy. 8 in 10 Australians are members of at least one co-operative or mutually owned organisation and co-operatives and mutual enterprises (CMEs) are key to Australia delivering on the global imperative for net zero greenhouse gas emissions and the Australia Climate Change Bill 2022.

By their very nature, CMEs seek to build value over the long-term for their members and the communities they serve. This includes working collectively to respond to the urgency of the risks posed by the climate crisis as well as identifying the opportunities for increased prosperity and resilience from a fair and just transition to the low-carbon economy. This is a model for future prosperity if we take strong climate action now and in the coming years and ensure a just transition.

The BCCM supports the goals of the United Nations (UN) Paris Agreement on Climate Change and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The aim is to keep global warming to within 1.5 degrees, or as close as possible, within the twenty first century including reaching net zero in advance of 2050 with a focus on short-term decarbonisation.

We will take a staged approach to supporting our members including recognising that our membership consists of organisations from multiple sectors and at different points of progress on the journey towards a low carbon economy.

The BCCM will:

  • Advocate for climate action in the CME sector and beyond including the transition to net zero in line with the UN Paris Agreement on Climate Change and supporting our members on that journey
  • Promote the adoption of the Co-operatives and Mutuals Declaration of Climate Action to co-operatives and mutuals within Australia and beyond
  • Work to build a network for climate action amongst our members so that they can collaborate in line with Principle 6 of the International Cooperative Principles – “Cooperation among Cooperatives”
  • Work with members to raise awareness of climate change and the impacts of climate change, manage risk and develop solutions including awareness of disaster preparedness in communities
  • Provide support for our members as part of their decarbonisation and net zero initiatives including developing and signposting supporting resources and training
  • Work with governments, regulators and other key stakeholders to promote action on climate change and other environmental issues such as biodiversity and the protection of nature

Sustainability strategy for co-operatives and mutuals

The BCCM is developing a new internationally accredited training program with consultancy input focussing on the ‘E’ in ESG and helping CMEs respond to the net zero imperative

Participants will develop an actionable plan to protect their members and build value and resilience for the future and the course will finish with a 1 on 1 session to review and refine their approach

  • Module 1 – Foundations
  • Module 2 – Action
  • Module 3 – Transformation

Early-bird sales are now open for the world-first accredited environmental sustainability course for CMEs delivered online by sustainability strategist and educator Peter Watts. Early-bird sales end 16 December 2022. Book now for February 2023.

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