Buy a Better World

Co-ops build a better world. These are not Thrive’s sentiments, but the words of the United Nations which declared 2012 as the International Year of Cooperatives . The UN notes that cooperativespromote the fullest possible participation in the economic and social development of all people…and contribute to the eradication of poverty.”

Why would the United Nations make such a bold statement and why are cooperatives so integral to community economic resiliency?  This article gives an overview of what co-ops are, why they are still worth celebrating as we move in to 2013  are and why you would want to buy a membership.

What are co-ops?

Co-ops are essentially people that pool their resources for a common goal. They exist to serve their members instead of shareholders. Members may be customers, employees, workers or residents. There are numerous types of cooperatives, including those for:

  • housing
  • child care
  • food
  • finances (such as credit unions)
  • transportation

How do individuals benefit?

Co-ops share their profits with members. They are democratically owned and operated. Members vote and join in decision making. Training and learning opportunities are extended to members.

How does business benefit?

You may be familiar with some cooperatives in Calgary such as First Calgary Financial, Mountain Equipment Co-op and the Calgary Co-op grocery stores. These three resilient examples show how co-operatives (and building community good) can be good for business. In fact, recent research in Alberta noted that that three year survival rates for co‐ops was 82% compared to 48% for conventional firms.

How do communities benefit?

Co-ops have been building local economies and communities for hundreds of years. They do so by:

  • creating local jobs
  • demonstrating care for the planet and people, as well as profits
  • investing in their communities through sponsorship and support for community initiatives

Last year, credit unions returned $81 million in scholarships and sponsorship compared to $54 million on average for Canadian banks as reported in the Globe and Mail.

Buy a better world

Buy a membership to a co-op and build a better community and world. Co-ops contribute to a more thriving local economy for all. Explore some local co-ops listed here or learn more from any of the links below.

The International Co-operative Alliance
The Canadian Cooperative Association
Alberta Community and Cooperative Association

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


I'd like to subscribe to your newsletter.
Neighbourhood Revitilization

RiverWalk in East Village

Calgary’s East Village is being transformed. What was once a neglected inner-city neighbourhood is becoming a hub for creativity, recreation and community. RiverWalk officially opened on the August long weekend, is central to the revitalized look of the East Village and means a better quality of life for all Calgarians.

 Learn More
Meaningful Employment

Green Collar Job Initiative

A meaningful job that pays a living wage, helps the environment and strengthens the economy? That’s a green collar job. Thrive and its partners launched the Green Collar Jobs initiative with the release of the report Green Collar Jobs: New Workforce Development Opportunities for Alberta. The report provides a strong foundation from which to stimulate a green economy in our city.

 Learn More
Innovative Social Finance

Community Capital Networks

Passionate about supporting a sustainable local economy, REAP and its partners host a monthly webinar series called Community Capital Networks. If you are interested in unleashing the flow of capital to support a greener local economy, join the conversation to learn about promising practices across North America and to discuss how to bring them to Calgary.

 Learn More
Local Business Development

Enterprising Non-Profits Alberta

With the launch of Enterprising Non-Profits Alberta, Calgarians can expect to shop from more and more socially conscious businesses. ENP-AB is providing grants and technical assistance to non-profit organizations engaged in social enterprise, the kind that brings both financial and social returns.

 Learn More