Rabobank aims to collect 5,000 statements in support of co-ops

14 May 2012

The international banking co-operative, Rabobank, is aiming to collect over 5,000 statements about the values of co-operatives for its new internet forum.

Contributors are being challenged to answer two questions on co-operatives and sustainability in food production; areas close to the bank’s roots. The forum was set up as part of the International Year of Co-operatives.

Elise Van Driel, IYC Project Manager at Rabobank, is passionate about using the forum to raise awareness of co-operatives as an alternative model and helping to bring together people from across the world for a common goal.

The questions are: “What is your definition of co-operative banking and how is it expressed in practice? As a co-operative financial institution, how should Rabobank contribute to the sustainability of food chains?”

Ms Van Driel explained that the population of the world is estimated to be around 9 billion by 2050 and Rabobank, which 100 years ago was set up by rural farmers, has committed itself to ‘feeding the world’ by helping small farmers in the developing world.

She went on to say: “My ambition is to reach 5,000 statements worldwide, so I will have statements from the Netherlands, England, California but also Tanzania, Australia, Equador, Laos: everywhere. It is to show everyone that we have one common goal and by using the co-operative approach and by working together we can reach that goal of feeding the 9bn people.”

She explained that the forum will create a body of evidence supporting the co-operative values. “I want to create a movement. I want people to talk about it. If I ask a colleague what it means to them to work at a co-op bank, then I am ashamed if they don’t have an answer. I want people to have a answer. I don’t want them to have the same answer, but I want them to have an answer.”

The contributions to the forum will also help to constitute the Rabobank Statement, which will detail how Rabobank will commit itself to the two issues. Among the statements on the forum there are many different views on the value of co-operatives.

Rabobank have committed themselves to helping to spread the word of co-operatives and food sustainability across the world. The forum can be found at: www.rabobankstatement.com

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