'Co-operatives have the potential to change the status-quo'

18 Nov 2011

Philippe Cousteau tells the ICA General Assembly that the co-operative movement has solutions to the big global issues that will provide the world with hope for the future. 

The environmentalist, journalist & filmmaker Philippe Cousteau today addressed the International Co-operative Alliance General Assembly in Cancun, Mexico with a message that co-operatives hold the answer to many of the big challenges facing the world.

The broadcaster expressed that in his view the economic status quo is not working. He told assembled co-operators from around the globe that ‘the world is setting itself up for failure’. He went on to tell delegates that ‘the status quo will change. It is up to us to change it on our terms’

Mr Cousteau took time to highlight the values of the co-operative movement, which are rooted in local communities. ‘Co-operatives are not just run by some distant executive committee worried about profit margins. By their very nature co-operatives care about communities. The very values of sustainability that you need to even be considered a co-operative, are the values that the world needs to embrace if we are going to have a sustainable future’. He added ‘These are the values that you stand for and you have always stood for. The world just needs to hear about them.’

Cousteau is a member of the legendary family of ocean explorers. His grandfather was the explorer Jacques Cousteau and Philippe is continuing this legacy by educating the public about environmental and conservation issues. He is the co-founder of EarthEcho International, which aims to ‘empower youth to take action that protects and restores our water planet.’

It was this work with young people that led him in his speech  to encourage the co-operative movement to continue its work to inspire young people with a co-operative message of hope. ‘Co-operatives should focus on young people. You need to do everything you can to channel the passion of young people because young people have the power to change consumer behaviour’

Mr Cousteau also stressed the importance of the work that co-operatives do to promote equality in a world where for so long women have not been considered as equals. He told the conference that the fact that co-operatives around the world give women a vote who have never had a voice was an ‘amazing thing’ and he urged the movement to continue to empower women in this way.

He asserted his support for the co-operative movement with the words ‘I am with you. I am so excited about the potential of the co-operative movement. A movement which has been around for a long time, but a movement that has the potential to blossom and reignite passion in the world’

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