International Day of Co-operatives: Building Sustainable Societies

Today is the International Day of Co-operatives around the globe! It’s an annual event marking the many contributions co-operative enterprises bring to their communities.

The theme for this year is sustainable consumption and production of goods and services – a key United Nations Sustainable Development Goal. Co-ops have selected a slogan for this year’s celebrations: Building sustainable societies through co-operation.

Our work around the globe reflects the co-op commitment to sustainable societies, consumption and production. Here’s a brief look at how co-operatives in Indonesia, Peru and Ghana are living out sustainable consumption and production every day.


Seaweed farmers in South Sulawesi (Indonesia) are changing their aquaculture practices to increase production yields and quality while caring for the environment. This includes using more durable, less wasteful flotation devices and eliminating the use of harmful fertilizers.

Ridwan farms seaweed on the land in North Luwu. When he tried reducing the use of pesticides and fertilizers in his seaweed pond he soon saw his production improve and his costs of inputs drop. In this photo, Ridwan is using palm fronds to protect the walls of his new pond until stabilizing vegetation takes root. CDF Canada is also helping farmers like Ridwan to access financial services and markets through their co-operatives.

Learn More about CDF Canada’s work in Indonesia.


Seaweed farmers in South Sulawesi are combating ocean acidification and climate change with their seaweed crops?


Cacao and coffee farmers in Peru are bringing back their trees and their young people.

Elpido (Leo) Leobidas Viera Aguilar is part of a new generation of young farmers hoping to reverse the out-migration of youth to cities in search of better opportunities. “My plan has always been to go out and study and then to come back to my village and help my community, to create something.”

Leo is creating reasons for young people to believe again in the value of farming. An inspiring member of the Norandino Co-operative, he involves young people in the Co-op’s nursery project which produces high quality cacao trees and coffee plants for a growing market of buyers wishing to replace older trees and plants. The knowledge they gain in nursery management and co-operative business gives them an appreciation for the value Norandino brings to its farmer members and the environment. And more young co-operators spells renewal for Norandino’s aging membership.

Learn More about CDF Canada’s work in Peru.


Norandino nurseries produced and sold 50,000 cacao seedlings in five months – one third of them by women farmers.


Smallholder farmers in Northern Ghana are using small loans from their credit unions and microfinance groups to eliminate hunger gaps during the year.

A small loan was all it took for Konye Kosie to stem her family’s hunger. She used the money to start farming soybean. It’s a highly nutritious, drought and pest resistant cash crop which grows well in the harsh weather conditions of her region.

“It was a turning point in my family,” says the mother of eight. “We had difficulty getting food to eat even once a day. I can now feed my family nutritious meals and I am able to buy fish and meat.” Konye has opened a small kiosk and is now saving to build a house.

In the past five years, nine small credit unions in Northern Ghana have helped farmers double their soybean production and sales, and enabled 25,000 women to increase their annual incomes tenfold. Children under five are enjoying much improved nutrition. Farmers are applying their newly learned climate smart approaches to increase yields, lower production costs and improve the fertility of their land.

Learn more about CDF Canada’s work in Ghana.


Hunger gaps can last as long as half the year for families living in Northern Ghana.

Tell us how co-operatives are building sustainable societies in your country!

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