On July 1st, the world will celebrate the 95th International Co-operatives Day.

The co-operative movement will show how its unique business model, being based on democracy and openness, creates opportunities for those most at risk from being left behind in the push for a more sustainable future – children and youth, aging persons, women, people with disabilities, and the poor.

This year’s key theme is ensuring that “no-one is left behind” as co-operatives actively seek to reduce inequalities globally, and not only in terms of income. Women in particular, and minority groups, often find themselves denied access to important opportunities and activities essential to improving their lives. The non-discrimination defined in the co-operative principles is multi-dimensional: gender, social, racial, political and religious, ensuring that no-one is left behind.

This slogan echoes the 2016 theme of the UN High-level Political Forum for Sustainable Development (HLPF) and takes forward the 2017 HLPF theme of ‘Eradicating poverty and promoting prosperity in a changing world’.

The International Co-operative Alliance has published a statement for the International Day and I encourage you to read this, carefully thinking about how it applies to life in NZ and how we should be leading and conducting our respective businesses.