The Society's Commitment to Sustainable Development (Sitoumus in Finnish) is a key instrument for implementing the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Finland. In order to reach the objective operational commitments have been established with societal operators, such as companies, municipalities, organisations, administration, educational institutions, and local actors. Private individuals can also make operational commitments.
Pellervo made an umbrella commitment in 2019 and has challenged all cooperatives to join it with their own operational commitments and to increase diversity and equality in their activities.
The decision-making process of cooperatives is based on democratic membership. Cooperative companies are therefore committed to working together to increase diversity at all levels of decision-making, particularly on boards of directors and senior management. Each cooperative company defines its own concrete actions and joins Pellervo's umbrella commitment with their own operational commitment. Cooperatives themselves determine how to increase diversity and how they intend to measure it.
Diversity at all levels of decision-making is important in cooperatives. For example, in 2019, women are not yet sufficiently represented, particularly as chairmen or vice-chairmen. There are also only a small number of women as CEOs and members of management teams. In addition, young people and immigrants are underrepresented and cooperatives could better provide job opportunities for persons with disabilities.
Membership democracy is based on the fact that members elect their own cooperative decision-makers amongst themselves. It should be noted that candidates for election to the Representative Council are created among members and free voting (candidate selection) is a democratic right for each member, and no gender or other equality quotas can be imposed. However, cooperative activities also share common, internationally defined values, such as equality and justice, according to which they are to function.
Research on the positive effects of diverse governments is also quite undeniable. From this point of view, cooperative enterprises should be pioneers when it comes to the composition and diversity of governing bodies. As member-based organizations, cooperatives are well placed to promote diversity in corporate decision-makers and management.
Pellervo's ubrella commitment: Cooperative companies are committed to increasing diversity and equality in their activities