Accepted paper:

Large cooperatives and sustainable development: evidence from the World Cooperative Monitor


Chiara Carini (European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises)

Paper short abstract:

This study explores the areas of action in which the cooperatives, ranked in the 2018 World Cooperative Monitor report, are working to meet sustainable development goals (SDGs). It focuses on the cooperatives that joined the UN Global Compact project and/or the Global Reporting Initiative.

Paper long abstract:

The lack of a full understanding of the potential for action by cooperatives to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) affects not only cooperatives operating locally, but also large cooperatives that have been able to maintain their cooperative nature despite being leaders in their sectors and competing with for-profit companies, even at the international level. Having said that, and with the conviction that good data are necessary for monitoring and achieving the SDGs, this study examines the top 300 cooperatives listed by the World Cooperative Monitor to better understand to which SDGs large cooperatives pay more attention and in which areas of action cooperatives are working to facilitate achievement of the 2030 agenda objectives. Starting from an analysis of the degree of adhesion to the UN Global Compact project and the Global Reporting Initiative, the study focuses on the areas of action addressed by large cooperatives highlighting that they have taken several actions with various aims ranging from poverty reduction to equitable, inclusive education, environmental protection and combating inequalities. Moreover, the analysis highlight that such cooperatives mainly promoted actions in line with the SDGs 8, 12 and 13. This study is based on an analysis of the sustainability reports of the largest cooperatives, which draws from the UN Global Compact project and the Global Reporting Initiative. Moreover, it presents case studies of large cooperatives that, in different continental areas and sectors, have taken actions to promote environmental sustainability, equal, decent working conditions and diversity and equal opportunities within organizations.

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