Housing Co-operatives and Climate Change
ICA members adopted a resolution at the 2007 General Assembly calling on the co-operative movement to do its share in combating climate changes. The resolution suggests three ways on how the co-op movement can act now:
- Measure and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that arise as a result of our activities
- Communicate with, inform and motivate members towards a lower carbon lifestyle
- Use political influence at home to encourage each government to play a constructive part in the Kyoto negotiations.
CHI is committed to this plan of action and wants to contribute. By dedicating a specific section on our website, we hope to encourage the exchange of information and stimulate a debate on how housing co-operatives can do better. Because actions made by the co-op housing sector can make a difference.
According to the Natural Step, residential buildings (76 million) and the commercial buildings (5 million) in the USA account for 36% of the total energy use, 30% of the greenhouse gas emissions, 30% of the raw materials use, 30% of the waste output and 12% of the potable water use.
In Sweden, a report has said that 39% of all domestic CO² emissions come from real estate. Housing co-operatives are enterprises with social values. Long-term viability, protection of member’s assets and fulfillment of social goals have always been in their action plan. Environmental concerns are now high on the list of priorities for cooperatives, whether it involves building design and construction, building renovation and ongoing maintenance or the management of community living.
There are already several success stories. Here are some examples presented at the ICA Housing meeting and GA in Singapore. Click on these links to see the documents presented by the Housing & Development Board of Singapore, the SHE project co-ordinated by Federabitazione, the HSB Sweden and CHF Canada. If you have implemented an environmental policy; or you are developing a particular program or initiative, whether inside your co-operative or with the larger community, please let us know.
Remember, any action undertaken, small or big, can help another housing co-ops somewhere in the world.