17 January 2022
Peter Hunt, Mutuo
Just before Christmas, the 33rd Global Cooperative Congress took place in Seoul, Republic of Korea.
With all of the logistical challenges presented by the pandemic, it was some achievement for the Korean hosts to be able to put on an international conference with delegates from all parts of the co-operative world.
The conference theme was about ‘deepening our co-operative identity.’ Sometimes these big ideas get a little lost in translation but the sessions were organised around how co-operative and mutual businesses can distinguish themselves from their competitors.
At a time when business purpose is being considered by all types of corporate, the big question for co-operatives is how they can leverage their particular reason for doing business. The importance of sustainability at all levels – moving far beyond the environmental challenge to look out the social impact and corporate governance inherent in co-operatives was a big theme.
The challenge for co-operatives is to be able to present a holistic view of the sustainability. This needs the sector to be able to develop tools that can help to identify and measure the environmental social and governance impact that cooperative and mutual businesses are delivering.
The work that we are undertaking in Australia is therefore of importance far beyond our own businesses.
By working across different industry sectors we have a unique opportunity to cross-fertilise ideas and practices from Australia’s most progressive CME‘s. We need to be prepared to share this with co-operative colleagues across the world.