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Sustainability focus of International Day of Co-operatives

7 July 2014

Sustainability the focus of International Day of Co-operatives

The 92nd ‘International Day of Co-operatives’ was celebrated around the world on Saturday 5th July, with this year’s theme “Co-operative enterprises achieve sustainable development for all”.

Henry Lynch, Chief Executive of the body that represents 22 co-operatively owned credit unions and building societies, the New Zealand Association of Credit Unions (NZACU), says the theme was chosen to reflect how co-operatives are at the forefront of modern sustainability and how concern for the community is one of the movement’s founding values.

It’s estimated that 1 in 4 New Zealanders are part of co-operative organisations in a wide range of industries from food to finance and that most New Zealanders have some form of interaction with a co-operative organisation.

“Many co-operatives, like our Members, give back generously to their local communities by way of sponsorships and staff donating their time” said Mr Lynch.

“Co-operatively owned credit unions and building societies in New Zealand have a long and proud history of investing in community sustainability by helping people improve their financial management and help sort out their money worries” said Mr Lynch. “We also think it’s important from a sustainability perspective that all profits made are kept in New Zealand and don’t go offshore.”

“NZACU has itself been proudly operating as a co-operative and representing financial co-operatives for over 50 years and is ranked 28th amongst Co-operative Business New Zealand’s “Top 40” co-operative and mutual businesses.”

New Zealand Association of Credit Unions (NZACU):
Credit unions and mutual building societies are co-operatively owned financial service providers, providing their members with a similar range of services to a bank. Credit unions and building societies are all independently owned and operated by their members for their members, and any profits are returned to the members in a combination of ways i.e. fairer fees, interest rates and community involvement.

NZACU is the industry association for credit unions and building societies ( and exists to represent, promote and support its 22 Member credit unions and building societies, providing cost-effective business services.

NZACU's members employ over 550 staff, represent 205,000+ members, with more than 90 branches, assets of over $1.3 billion and collectively are the sixth largest financial transactor by volume in New Zealand. NZACU also wholly own Credit Union Insurance Ltd (, a fully licensed insurance provider, under the Insurance (Prudential Supervision) Act 2010, with over 67,000 lives covered.

The NZACU is a member of global trade association WOCCU, the World Council of Credit Unions, which
represents over 200 million people in 101 countries across the globe. This international network operates under the vision:

“Improving people's lives through credit unions” and promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial co-operatives around the world.

The NZACU is also a member of Cooperative Business New Zealand (, the industry body whose mission is “bringing together the country’s cooperative and mutual businesses to promote, encourage and support the co-operative and mutual business model, and act as the advocate for those engaged in co-operatives and mutuals.”

Collectively the mutual banking sector, including mutual banks, building societies and credit unions, represent more than $600 million in revenue per year with a number of these organisations among Cooperative Business New Zealand’s “Top 40” co-operative and mutual businesses (by revenue) and NZACU is ranked at number 28.


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