Chapter XI - Sustainable Human Settlement Development

   This document has been made available in electronic format
      by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA

  Contribution of Co-operative Enterprises and the International
     Co-operative Movement to Implementation of UN AGENDA 21:
       Programme of Action for Sustainable Development 

                     Prepared jointly by
             the International Co-operative Alliance
                      the United Nations
  Department for Policy Coordination and Sustainable Development

                 Geneva and New York, April 1995

        For information purposes only. Not an official
   document of the United Nations and not officially edited.

                        CHAPTER XI

A.  Comprehensive approaches to sustainable human settlements
    development in rural regions

    In some countries co-operative movements promote
comprehensive approaches to the achievement and maintenance of
sustainable human settlements in rural regions, including
villages and small urban central places.  Thus in Japan the
National Federation of Agricultural Co-operative Associations
(ZEN-NOH) includes within its strategy for sustainable
agriculture and forestry the devotion of greater attention and
resources to improving the environment in villages, and the
quality of life of rural communities, particularly in the context
of a rapidly ageing rural society. 129/

    In Japan almost all rural households are members of
agricultural co-operatives organized at sub-regional or regional
(prefectural) levels. These have extended their functions from
production supply and marketing to broader community development
activities.  With the expansion of suburbs into previously rural
areas, these co-operatives have taken an interest in promoting
housing co-operatives for in-migrants (Nohjuh Kumiai Co-
operatives). These are being developed in close collaboration
with the Japanese Federation of Employers' Associations and
Rengo, the largest federation of trade unions, with special
attention to provision of condominium housing for workers. 130/ 

    In the United States also innovative forms of housing co-
operative have appeared recently, including co-operative
retirement villages and mobile trailer parks.  In California
between 1984 and 1994 owners of mobile homes have formed co-
operatives in order to own the trailer parks in which they live.
By doing so homeowners protect themselves from being displaced,
build up equity and preserve the stock of affordable housing in
their communities. 131/

B.  Comprehensive approaches to sustainable human settlements
    development in urban regions

    In many countries community development co-operatives play
an important role.   These are multi-functional co-operative
enterprises owned by significant proportions of a local
population, which provides a substantial share of resources, but
which usually are funded also by other private as well as public
sources. They play an important role in the restoration,
preservation and development of urban communities, notably inner-
city communities in the developed market economies, and low-
income communities throughout urban centres in developing market

    In the United States, for example, such co-operatives, as
well as co-operatively structured community development
corporations, have played an important role since they originated
in the War on Poverty Movement of the 1960s. In New York City,
for example, the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation, the
first community development corporation, was established in 1967
and has operated since then on the principle that people could
rebuild their local communities if helped to mobilize necessary
resources. By 1994, through various employment programmes it had
placed 25,000 persons in private-sector jobs; built or renovated
2,225 residential units; provided US $ 60 million in mortgage
loans to homeowners who could not obtain mortgages from
traditional sources; developed a US $ 15 million commercial,
theatre and arts centre and established a health-care clinic
serving 55,000 patients a year. 132/

    In Egypt the Co-operative Housing Foundation has organized
probably the largest housing project in any developing country. 
 The project, located in Helwan, north of Cairo, whose aim was
to build new houses for 100,000 and to upgrade slum areas for
75,000 other persons, was co-financed by USAID and the
Government. Schools were built, and used as community centres
during the evenings. The new community has its own brick factory,
bank and savings and loan programme. 133/

C.  Special areas for intervention

1.  Sustainable approaches to the construction and maintenance
    of housing

    Housing co-operatives provide significant proportions of
total shelter in many countries. For example in Germany in 1990
more than 2.3 million housing units were provided by housing co-
operatives. 134/  Here housing co-operatives plan in terms of
modernization and maintenance rather than demolition and
reconstruction. Emphasis is given to ecological and social
considerations. Attention is given to construction of housing for
the aged, housing for low income or large families, kindergartens
and playgrounds. They try to create an environment propitious to
neighbourly contact. The housing co-operative in Mannheim, formed
by residents who took over responsibility for the administration
and upkeep of their 400 social dwellings, encourages personal
contributions to the community and social activities.   They
promote multi-cultural integration by furthering local
understanding of immigrant cultures, while simultaneously
encouraging and facilitating immigrant integration to life in the
host society. 135/

   In Sweden more than one quarter of a million dwellings are
provided by housing co-operatives and half a million persons live
in co-operative housing.  When the Union of Housing Co-operatives
(HSB) was established 70 years ago the principal issues it
confronted were social safety, economic security and housing
quality. In the early 1990s the principal issues included such
environmental questions as conservation of rain water, composting
of household waste, encouragement of good neighbourness,
provision of communal meeting places, parent - run play groups
and health services. 136/ 

    In Finland the Haka construction enterprise, part of the Eka
Corporation, a multi-functional co-operative enterprise owned by
400,000 members, has implemented a comprehensive environmental
programme adopted by EKA in 1900 by constructing an urban complex
of ecologically-operated apartment buildings. 137/

2.  Replacement of non-renewable by renewable energy

    Co-operative movements - particularly consumer movements -
in a number of countries have introduced renewable and non-
polluting energy systems in their retail and wholesale
enterprises, and in their factories producing consumer goods. 
This has been the case in the Japanese consumer co-operative
movement. 138/

3. Reduction in solid wastes

    Co-operatives engaged in primary production are able to
contribute to reduction of waste at the outset of product life
cycles. For example, in Canada the Victoria Farmers' Co-operative
- an agricultural marketing co-operative - had stopped dumping
old produce by 1989, and instead made it available to members for
use as animal feed and compost, thereby reducing its waste
disposal bill by 25 per cent.139/

    Consumer co-operative movements in a number of countries have
taken action to reduce wastes by recycling.  Customers (who are
members and owners) collect such items as milk cartons, aluminium
cans, steel cans. Retail and wholesale enterprises recycle, for
example styrene foam trays and textiles. 140/

    The Japanese Consumers' Co-operative Union organized in 1991
the collection of nearly 120 million used milk cartons,
approximately 40,000 tons, half the total collected in Japan.  
These were used in the production of toilet rolls and tissue
papers. By early 1992 400 stores had facilities for collecting
polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and trays and in 200
there were facilities for collecting used metal cans.141/

    The Finnish co-operative EKA Corporation makes an effort to
keep abreast of the latest developments in refuse management.  
Employees are instructed in waste classification and control,
encouraged to recycle wherever possible and to process "problem
waste" carefully.  The HAKA construction subsidiary has
introduced waste control procedures at its construction sites. 
These include a central vacuum cleaner and a waste compressor
which has reduced the volume of waste transported to dumping
sites to one quarter of the previous volume. A monthly total of
FIM 17,000 was being saved in 1992 by means of waste sorting at
the site. 142/
    In some cases co-operative enterprises have combined a
contribution to the solution of urban waste problems with that
of providing employment, particularly to persons likely to
experience difficulty in finding regular employment.   For
example, the 240 worker-members in a workers co-operative in
Liege, Belgium ("Terre") salvage 450 tons of used clothes each
month for resale in Belgium and abroad.  Clothes were sorted,
packed and sent to distribution points in Africa, Pakistan and
other countries. Almost all members were previously considered
unemployable - over 70 per cent were ex-convicts, drug addicts,
alcoholics and persons with disabilities. A financial surplus of
over US $ 10 million per year was obtained, and almost all
donated to co-operatives in developing countries. 143/

    Financial co-operatives contribute by collecting waste paper
for recycling.  For example, in Canada the Co-operators Group,
which provides insurance, data processing and other services to
co-operatives and credit unions, conducts recycling programmes
in all its offices, and uses recycled paper for its
publications. 144/

129/ Review of International Co-operation, vol. 85, No. 4
     (1992), p. 141.
130/ International Conference on the Environment and Sustainable
     Growth ..., op.cit., pp. 100, 102-103.
131/ National Cooperative Bank, op.cit., p. 5.
132/ Ibid., p. 7.
133/ Communication from ICA, March 1994.
134/ ICA News, No. 5, 1990, p. 5.
135/ Communication from ICA, March 1994.
136/ Ibid.
137/ ICA News, No. 3, 1992, p. 10.
138/ Review of International Co-operation, vol. 85, No. 4
     (1992), p. 146.
139/ Review of International Co-operation, vol. 83, No. 2
     (1990), p. 80.
140/ Review of International Co-operation, vol. 85, No. 4
     (1992), p. 146.
141/ ICA News, No. 3, 1992, p. 19.
142/ Ibid., p. 10.
143/ ICA News, No. 5, 1994, p. 6.
144/ ICA News, No. 3, 1992, p. 15.