The third day of the IRU General Meeting – The Raiffeisen Forum – thematically focused on “Green Cooperatives”. It was a captivating exploration of how cooperatives are contributing to a more sustainable and environmentally conscious future. Here are the exciting highlights of the morning session on October 5, 2023:
Opening Insights from the German Energy Cooperative Sector
The morning session kicked off with Benjamin Dannemann from the Bundesgeschäftsstelle Energiegenossenschaften of DGRV (The Federal Office for Energy Cooperatives). This department of DGRV plays a pivotal role in advancing the transition towards sustainable energy solutions. Focused on the cooperative model, DGRV collaborates with energy cooperatives to promote renewable energy generation, local ownership, and community engagement. Based on this, Benjamin introduced the audience to the dynamic and thriving German renewable energy cooperative sector. Besides facts and figures, the presentation delved into the sector’s current key topics and challenges as well as the sharing of inspiring success stories. The high amount of questions and interaction of the IRU members underlined the importance of the topic.
Vianova Cooperative: Pioneers in Sustainable Urban Mobility
How such a transition towards sustainable energy solutions cooperatively works in practice was in the following shown by a dynamic input by Mr. Reinhard Sczech, Managing Director of Vianova Cooperative. This innovative organization is dedicated to revolutionizing urban mobility through sustainable and cooperative solutions. Vianova’s commitment to cooperative principles is driving a holistic approach to transportation, benefitting both individuals and the environment. Vianova’s vision fosters collaboration among various stakeholders to develop integrated mobility services. These services encompass public transit, cycling, car-sharing, and more. Inclusivity and community engagement are at the core of their mission, ensuring mobility solutions are tailored to the diverse needs of urban populations.
During his engaging input, Mr Sczech underlined the importance of energy transition and showed how e-mobility in a cooperative way contributed to climate protection. He concluded that while climate change is one of the most massive problems humans currently face, it is also the “perfect problem” as
Yet, renewable energy cooperatives can play a pivotal role in solving this “perfect problem”.
Global Insights from IRU Member Organizations
Following these engaging presentations, the Raiffeisen Forum turned its focus to the accomplishments of IRU member organizations. With speakers from India, Belgium, and South Tyrol, we heard exciting examples of Green Cooperatives making a significant impact to mitigating the impact of Climate Change.
Ms Savitri Singh, Chief Executive Officer of the National Cooperative Union of India, shared inspiring Indian examples of Green Cooperatives. Among classic renewable energy approaches, this also included organic fertilizer and pesticides as successful approach to reduce environmental polution. Her presentation underscored the relevance of these cooperatives in combating the impact of climate change and their crucial role in supporting rural communities in India.
Ms Paulina Schwarz, Deputy Director of Raiffeisen Südtirol, provided insight into cooperative success stories of South Tyrol. She showcased how these cooperatives have adeptly managed their respective business areas while contributing to sustainable growth. The two practical examples showcased how an entrepreneurial business orientation can go hand in hand with environmental protection and served as food for feed for the audience.
The day concluded with a compelling message from Hannes Hollebecq, Advisor Cooperative Entrepreneuership at Cera CV, emphasizing the advantages of Green and renewable energy cooperatives in promoting sustainability, creating a positive societal impact, and combating climate change. Highlighting a quote of Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen
Hannes called out to the IRU members to jointly approach climate change by innovative renewable energy cooperatives approaches. This call certainly was not left unheard and we are excited to see how our member organisations are engaging with this urgent topic.
The Raiffeisen Forum’s exploration of Green Cooperatives on October 5 was a testament to the innovation, dedication, and collective spirit that cooperatives bring to pressing global challenges. These sessions further solidify the IRU’s commitment to fostering economic and social progress while championing sustainability and environmental responsibility.
We look forward to more enlightening discussions as the reflection of the General Meeting progresses. Stay tuned for further updates!