Co-ops focus on climate change

ICOS president Michael Spellman; Agriculture Minister Michael Creed; and ICOS CEO TJ Flanagan, at the ICOS AGM in Killenard, Co Laois.

Climate change is the challenge of our generation and for generations to come, ICOS president Michael Spellman said at the co-op umbrella groups 124th annual meeting in Killenard, Co Laois.

“The agriculture sector obviously has much to contribute to sustainability, has already made major strides in this requirement, and is playing its part in working towards a low carbon future, relative to the essential and far reaching benefits which this vital source of food production brings to our society and the economy,” said Mr Spellman.

“Brexit is a major threat and its outcome is of critical importance to our industry. This will eventually be resolved for either a reasonable, bad or middling outcome,” he added.

Our industry must rise to meet this challenge with new levels of competitiveness and market access.

The Irish Co-operative Organisation Society represents more than 130 co-operatives — including the Irish dairy processing co-operatives and livestock marts — whose associated businesses have a combined turnover in the region of €14bn, with some 150,000 individual members, employing 12,000 people in Ireland, and 24,000 people overseas.

“Co-operative enterprise is a positive force through mutual endeavour in the interests of farmers and rural communities.

This is also the case in our co-op marts where competitiveness and transparency in sales and pricing act as a counterfoil to dominant market forces, in the interests of producers and consumers.

“We are also deeply aware that the environment and climate change is a lifetime challenge that affects a global population with the potential for truly catastrophic outcomes for nature and humanity if our international political, economic and industry leaders do not act in concert together to address the totality of issues involved. It is the most pressing challenge for this generation and our generations to come.”

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