Bringing the Sustainable Development Goals to Life
To mark the adoption and proclamation, on 10 December 1948, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights we’re exploring ways we can commit to including the sustainable development goals in our entrepreneurial journey. Below we highlight ways in which worker coops help meet the global goals and how they contribute to a better world.
"Sustainable development is the pathway to the future we want for all. It offers a framework to generate economic growth, achieve social justice, exercise environmental stewardship and strengthen governance."
Goal 8: Decent Work & Economic Growth
Algorithms and other technologies have been replacing workers in most fields in the last few years, and the pandemic has accelerated the trend by sending workers home and asking them to telecommute. Amidst such shifting trends, the idea of collaborating to create jobs for themselves, to own a business, and build democracy at work appears as a strong alternative to the traditional business model. By giving workers a say in the operations of the business, including its financial direction, worker coops are an environment designed to foster sustainable and equitable economic growth for their workers.
Goal 12: Responsible Consumption & Production
Current levels of consumption in the business community are unsustainable from an environmental standpoint. Cooperative entrepreneurs can lead through democratic decision-making in the enterprise, to decrease the negative impacts on our environment and the large quantities of waste associated with the operations considered normal in today’s business. If Canadians intend to pass onto future generations a high quality of life, cooperative entrepreneurs must aggressively support the transition towards green energy and local democratic economies. By placing workers in the position to make key decisions in the enterprise, worker coops provide a democratic framework to help drastically reduce waste and help encourage other businesses to adopt increasingly sustainable practices throughout their business.
Goal 16: Peace, Justice, and Strong Institutions
Unlike the traditional corporation that concentrates decision-making among major shareholders and the boards of directors they elect, worker coops place workers in the position of being their own board and to be accountable for the decisions of the enterprise. This non-hierarchical arrangement ensures accountability and transparency at all levels of the organization as it gives those doing the work a vote on all key decisions.
Originally published Dec. 9, 2020