Action areas

The SDGs have been grouped into action areas: eradicating poverty, improving access to basic goods and services, protecting the environment, and building a more sustainable food system

Co-operative enterprises can make significant contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) through the following action areas:

Action Area

Eradicating poverty

Poverty alleviation was the origin of the co-operative idea, and remains the driving force for co-operative initiatives in many parts of the world. Co-operatives mobilize self-help mechanisms that simultaneously create opportunities, extend protection and facilitate empowerment. These three elements, opportunity, protection and empowerment, are seen as the essential ingredients of any poverty reduction strategy. Co-operatives can reduce poverty in situations where the state and individuals fail.

How co-operatives can contribute to the SDGs related to poverty reduction:

Suggested pledge

We commit to increase our members’ agricultural production by X% by 2030.

Suggested indicator

Volume of agricultural production per member and/or average income of producer-members, by sex and indigenous status

Related SDGs

Goal 1

End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Related Targets

  • 1.2
    By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

Goal 2

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture

Related Targets

  • 2.3
    By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and the incomes of small-scale food producers, particularly women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets, and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment

Suggested pledge

We commit to create X jobs by 2030.

Suggested indicator

Number of jobs created

Related SDGs

Goal 1

End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Related Targets

  • 1.2
    By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

Goal 8

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Related Targets

  • 8.5
    By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value

Suggested pledge

We commit to hire X young people under the age of 24 (as trainees, interns, apprentices or employees) by 2020

Suggested indicator

Number of young people engaged by co-operative

Related SDGs

Goal 1

End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Related Targets

  • 1.2
    By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

Goal 8

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Related Targets

  • 8.6
    By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training

Suggested pledge

We commit to increase by X% by 2030 the proportion of co-operative members originating from and living in slums or informal settlements.

Suggested indicator

Proportion of co-operative members who come from slums, informal settlements or inadequate housing

Related SDGs

Goal 1

End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Related Targets

  • 1.2
    By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

Goal 11

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Related Targets

  • 11.1
    By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services, and upgrade slums

Suggested pledge

We commit to source X% of our products from developing countries.

Suggested indicator

Percent of imports from developing and least developed countries

Related SDGs

Goal 17

Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Related Targets

  • 17.11
    Increase significantly the exports of developing countries, in particular with a view to doubling the LDC share of global exports by 2020

Action Area

Improving access to basic goods and services

People unite to form co-operatives in order to meet their economic, social and cultural needs. These needs are often related to access: to shelter, to energy, to water, to markets, to decent work, to financial services or to fresh and quality food, to name only a few. By creating access to basic goods and services, co-operatives fill a void in the communities in which they operate. The role of co-operatives in improving access is particularly vital in rural areas and to the 2030 vision of leaving no one behind.

How co-operatives can contribute to the SDGs related to improved access:

Suggested pledge

We commit to increase our members’ agricultural production by X% by 2030.

Suggested indicator

Volume of agricultural production per member and/or average income of producer-members, by sex and indigenous status

Related SDGs

Goal 1

End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Related Targets

  • 1.2
    By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

Goal 2

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture

Related Targets

  • 2.3
    By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and the incomes of small-scale food producers, particularly women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets, and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment

Suggested pledge

We commit to increase the proportion of nutritious food offerings in our stores by X% by 2030.

Suggested indicator

Number of nutritious offerings (compared to less healthy alternatives)

Related SDGs

Goal 2

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture

Related Targets

  • 2.1
    By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round

Suggested pledge

We commit to insure an additional X number of people by 2030.

Suggested indicator

Number of people covered by health insurance

Related SDGs

Goal 3

Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Related Targets

  • 3.8
    Achieve universal health coverage (UHC), including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health care services, and access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all

Suggested pledge

We commit to achieve gender parity in Board membership and/or top-level management by 2030.

Suggested indicator

Number of women in Board and/or leadership positions (compared to human sex ratio in country)

Related SDGs

Goal 5

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Related Targets

  • 5.5
    Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life

Suggested pledge

We commit to extend electricity to X additional households by 2030.

Suggested indicator

Number of persons served without previous access to electricity

Related SDGs

Goal 7

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Related Targets

  • 7.1
    By 2030, ensure universal access to affordable, reliable, and modern energy services

Suggested pledge

We commit to increase the number of bank account holders by X% by 2030.

Suggested indicator

Number of new account holders (15 years and older)

Related SDGs

Goal 8

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Related Targets

  • 8.10
    Strengthen the capacity of domestic financial institutions to encourage and to expand access to banking, insurance and financial services for all

Suggested pledge

We commit to create X jobs by 2030.

Suggested indicator

Number of jobs created

Related SDGs

Goal 1

End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Related Targets

  • 1.2
    By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

Goal 8

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Related Targets

  • 8.5
    By 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities, and equal pay for work of equal value

Suggested pledge

We commit to increase by X% by 2030 the proportion of co-operative members originating from and living in slums or informal settlements

Suggested indicator

Proportion of co-operative members who come from slums, informal settlements or inadequate housing

Related SDGs

Goal 1

End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Related Targets

  • 1.2
    By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

Goal 11

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Related Targets

  • 11.1
    By 2030, ensure access for all to adequate, safe and affordable housing and basic services, and upgrade slums

Suggested pledge

We commit to hire X young people under the age of 24 (as trainees, interns, apprentices or employees) by 2020.

Suggested indicator

Number of young people engaged by co-operative

Related SDGs

Goal 1

End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Related Targets

  • 1.2
    By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

Goal 8

Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Related Targets

  • 8.6
    By 2020, substantially reduce the proportion of youth not in employment, education or training

Suggested pledge

We commit to increase the participation of members in our decision-making bodies by X% by 2030.

Suggested indicator

Number of members participating in general assemblies (or other decision-making bodies) and elections, in particular members that belong to disadvantaged population groups (ethnic, racial or religious minorities, disabled or other minority status)

Related SDGs

Goal 10

Reduce inequality within and among countries

Related Targets

  • 10.2
    By 2030, empower and promote the social, economic and political inclusion of all irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion or economic or other status

Action Area

Protecting the environment

One of the principles to which all co-operatives subscribe is ‘concern for community’, which means that co-operatives run businesses that make the well-being of the natural world a priority. Before CSR was a standard corporate practice, co-operatives were exploring ways to reduce their carbon footprint and make their communities more sustainably minded. Co-operatives are therefore important partners to achieve environmental sustainability by 2030.

How co-operatives can contribute to the SDGs related to environmental protection:

Suggested pledge

We commit to increase by X% the share of renewables in our energy mix offerings to members.

Suggested indicator

kW of renewable energy generated/offered

Related SDGs

Goal 7

Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Related Targets

  • 7.2
    Increase substantially the share of renewable energy in the global energy mix by 2030

Suggested pledge

We commit to reduce post-harvest and/or retail-level food waste by X% by 2030.

Suggested indicator

Tons of food wasted

Related SDGs

Goal 12

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Related Targets

  • 12.3
    By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level, and reduce food losses along production and supply chains including post-harvest losses

Suggested pledge

We commit to including sustainability aspects into our annual performance reports (written or oral) to members.

Suggested indicator

Publication and dissemination of annual sustainability reporting

Related SDGs

Goal 12

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Related Targets

  • 12.6
    Encourage companies, especially large and trans-national companies, to adopt sustainable practices and to integrate sustainability information into their reporting cycle

Suggested pledge

We commit to reduce our carbon footprint by X% by 2030.

Suggested indicator

Tons of CO2

Related SDGs

Goal 13

Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts

Related Targets

  • 13.1
    Strengthen resilience and adaptive capacity to climate-related hazards and natural disasters in all countries

Action Area

Building a more sustainable food system

Is your co-operative active in the food and agriculture sector? Thanks to the support of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), we have a dedicated space for co-operatives in this sector to explore their potential contributions to the SDGs and commit to action.

Food and agriculture co-operatives have a particular role to play in eradicating hunger, improving food security and securing the livelihoods of rural people. They are the most common form of co-operative and represent a substantial portion of the global co-operative economy. Co-operatives help small agricultural producers solve the numerous challenges that confront them as individuals. These challenges include access to markets, to information about food prices and market trends, to high-quality inputs (equipment, seeds, fertilizer), to loans to purchase these inputs and to transport, storage and other infrastructure.

Co-operatives in the food and agriculture sector also impact their communities by serving as a platform for producers to participate in policy processes, diversifying the food supply and increase local producers’ influence through the power of the collective.

Given these important benefits, co-operatives have much to contribute to a more sustainable food system.

How co-operatives can contribute to the SDGs related to food and agriculture:

Suggested pledge

We commit to increase our members’ agricultural production by X% by 2030.

Suggested indicator

Volume of agricultural production per member and/or average income of producer-members, by sex and indigenous status

Related SDGs

Goal 1

End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Related Targets

  • 1.2
    By 2030, reduce at least by half the proportion of men, women and children of all ages living in poverty in all its dimensions according to national definitions

Goal 2

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture

Related Targets

  • 2.3
    By 2030, double the agricultural productivity and the incomes of small-scale food producers, particularly women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets, and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment

Suggested pledge

We commit to increase the proportion of nutritious food offerings in our stores by X% by 2030.

Suggested indicator

Number of nutritious offerings (compared to less healthy alternatives)

Related SDGs

Goal 2

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture

Related Targets

  • 2.1
    By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round

Suggested pledge

We commit to reduce post-harvest and/or retail-level food waste by X% by 2030.

Suggested indicator

Tons of food wasted

Related SDGs

Goal 12

Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Related Targets

  • 12.3
    By 2030, halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer level, and reduce food losses along production and supply chains including post-harvest losses

Goal 2

End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture

Related Targets

  • 2.1
    By 2030, end hunger and ensure access by all people, in particular the poor and people in vulnerable situations including infants, to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round