Energy Co-ops Bring Energy by the People, for the People Through Social Innovation

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Energy Co-ops Bring Energy by the People, for the People Through Social Innovation

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Learn how #energy co-ops are bringing energy to the people through #socialinnovation http://3bl.me/gr9gdv @justmeans @Sangeeta_Haindl
Tuesday, February 12, 2013 - 4:45pm

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When we think of community energy projects, we often look to the developing world, where local social innovation schemes bring energy by the people, for the people, and where these initiatives bring jobs in construction, operation and maintenance. Yet, these energy co-operatives are becoming increasingly popular in the West, too. They are a global network of independent, local businesses owned by those they serve. They share a common set of business principles and values like self-help and democracy, and, crucially, co-ops exist to meet the needs of its members.

According to the Washington, D.C.-based National Cooperative Business Association more than 29,200 cooperatives nationally now employ two million Americans. One in every four Americans is a co-op member, but the scope of the cooperative network doesn't stop in the U.S. More than one billion co-op members exist worldwide, and co-ops generate 100 million jobs globally. They strive for sustainable development of communities through member-driven social innovation policies, with co-op leaders elected by members.

In the U.S., one good example is the Energy Co-op in Philadelphia. It is a not-for-profit, member-owned organisation that gives residents in the region clean energy options. It has also recently joined the growing network of renewable energy providers that offer products certified by Green-e Energy, North America's leading certification and verification program for renewable energy. Green-e Energy provides independent, third-party certification to ensure that certified renewable energy meets strict environmental and consumer-protection standards.

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Sangeeta Haindl is a staff writer for Justmeans on Social Enterprise. When not writing for Justmeans, Sangeeta wears her other hat as a PR professional. Over the years, she has worked with high-profile organizations within the public, not-for-profit and corporate sectors; and won awards from her industry. She now runs her own UK consultancy: Serendipity PR & Media.

Keywords: Social Impact & Volunteering | Cause Global | Energy | Green Companies | Social Entrepreneurship | Social investment | best practices | energy co-op | green-e energy | national cooperative business association | nonprofit organizations

CAMPAIGN: CSR Blogs

CONTENT: Blog

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