Many cooperatives are joining the march to meet their members’ rapid shift toward a more digital lifestyle. This transformation has brought about equally rapid changes in ways of thinking, keeping up with new technologies, and ways to communicate and engage with each other.

The pandemic brought about an agility test that forced the need for cooperatives to quickly adapt on how best to continue services. We globally witnessed how larger cooperatives offered support to the smaller enterprises in many communities.

Global crises notwithstanding, the digital way of living IS the way forward. And while newer applications of technology like artificial intelligence is not widely accepted yet, other uses like virtual meetings, webinars, online shopping, and myriad communications applications, are all second nature to millions on our planet. To this end, many cooperative enterprises are moving in the right direction.

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For example, Le Consortium formed a partnership with the Quebec Council for Cooperation and Mutuality (CQCM), the Chantier de l’économie sociale, social economy hubs and the Cooperative for Regional Development of Quebec, to support the strategic planning work for an initiative by the Government of Quebec to accelerate the digital shift of businesses.

The benefits are clear. With digital tools in place, our global community can grow even without face-to-face meetings. Cooperative governance efforts to engage members can also yield more participation, with just an Internet connection. Groceries can be delivered to homes directly, and schools can still deliver education. And the direct correlation between less travel and the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions is promising. According to the International Monetary Fund’s Climate Change Indicator Dashboard, carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases plunged 4.6 percent in 2020, as lockdowns in the first half of the year restricted travel. However, this doesn’t translate to a long-term solution. The same IMF dashboard showed that in 2021, annual global greenhouse gas emissions rebounded to 6.4 percent, eclipsing the pre-pandemic peak as global economic activity resumed.

In Montreal, attendees will hear how digitization and artificial intelligence is transforming our lives and businesses, and the leap to the future is happening today. Workshops will engage attendees to discuss and debate how digital technologies can help cooperatives meet their sustainable goals, challenges to strengthen governance models, how to improve cooperation among cooperatives and ways to expand cooperative education. Learn more about how you can get involved in these exciting discussions.

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