Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies (Environmentally Sustainable Investment) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:51 am on 11th September 2020.

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Photo of Anna McMorrin Anna McMorrin Shadow Minister (International Development) 9:51 am, 11th September 2020

I thank the hon. Member, but she is being very selective in her comments. She fails to mention that Co-operatives UK also said that it fully supports the Bill and that what this needs is more detail in the Public Bill Committee. That is exactly what is needed. We are on Second Reading now. We need to take the values and strengths of the Bill through to the next stage to make this legislation able to really transform communities across the country. I hope that the hon. Member will be with me on that.

Legislation of this kind is, in fact, already in force around the world, from Australia to Canada, Italy and the Netherlands, demonstrating that this can be done. Back in 1844, the co-operative pioneers envisioned a community business model where shared values of sustainability, equality and fairness took priority. Co-operatives can play a major role in helping to rebuild our communities, end fuel poverty, create jobs and foster a sense of community pride in helping to tackle climate change.

Each one of us must play our part in the fight against climate change, but for so many people, the feeling of being able to physically effect change feels remote or expensive. Pundits, legislators and policy makers talk of climate change, quite rightly, as the greatest threat facing us, but many workers are focused only on making it to the end of the month. Climate action often feels distant, but it is our job to find ways of not only solving the crisis, but rooting the solution in the lives of workers and families. It must be viewed as a benefit to their health, wealth and happiness.