Calendar » KCO KU Leuven- ICBA Virtual Round-table: HOW DO FINANCIAL COOPERATIVES CONTRIBUTE TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT?
Cooperatives financial institutions (CFIs) represent a diversity of institutional forms: cooperative banks, credit unions, building societies, savings and credit associations, self-help mutual credit systems and others. Their business model, enrooted in local economies and member-based governance structure, and cooperative values and principles, allowed them to become significant players in the banking sectors in all regions of the world. In Europe, cooperative banks provide access to finance through 43,000 outlets and employ approximately 705,000 people. In Italy, France, Germany and the Netherlands, cooperative banks’ market share in loans ranges between 25% and 45%. In other parts of the world, 85,000 credit unions improve the lives and communities of 274 million members.
Recent developments show that financial cooperatives are champions of sustainable development. They continue to play a significant role in promoting resilience in times of crisis (Birchall, Ketilson, 2009) and contribute to sustainable development in many ways: by committing to Sustainable Development Goals (ICBA, 2020), promoting solidarity finance (Balkenhol, 2019), engaging in green and sustainable finance and fight against climate change (EACB, 2020). Increasing pressure for sustainability reporting, therefore, represents an opportunity to make visible their cooperative difference. Still, it also represents a challenge for smaller institutions in emerging regulatory and supervisory environments.