Winners of the 5th European Award for Cooperative Innovation have been announced

More than 100 agricultural and forestry cooperatives submitted projects for the European Award for Cooperative innovation, with six farm sustainability initiatives taking the main prize.
calendar icon 7 July 2021
clock icon 3 minute read

More than 100 agricultural and forestry cooperatives participated in the 5th edition of the European Award for Cooperative Innovation; a record. The award, organised by Cogeca and supported by the Spanish cooperative bank Cajamar Caja Rural, aims to recognise innovations that deliver value under the economic, social and environmental pillars of sustainability. The number and the quality of submissions from across Europe confirm that agricultural transitions are underway in all domains, driven by the cooperative enterprises.

The names of the cooperatives that have won an innovation award in the 6 categories opened by Cogeca were announced. Two Spanish, one Polish, one Irish, one Belgian and one Swedish cooperative were rewarded:

  • Mans cooperative (ES) won the social value creation award for their actions towards people with difficulties, especially young people at risk of social exclusion.
  • The Belgian association of fruit and vegetable cooperatives (BE) won the award for traceability and consumer information for its project “Care4Growing”, a multifunctional platform around data gathering and digitalisation creating new analytical capabilities that enable cooperatives and their members to optimise their performance in the supply chain.
  • The Glanbia cooperative (IE) won the prize for support to farmer-members for its Twenty20 Beef Club project, an innovative beef production model that is integrated right across the supply chain and has at its heart the long-term economic and environmental sustainability of its Farmer Members.
  • The Okregowa cooperative (PL) won the prize for innovative product for its unique valorisation of whey protein that are upgraded to create a fresh whey protein consumer cocktail. It is the first and only such product on the Polish market.
  • The Camara Arrosera cooperative (ES) won the bioeconomy and circularity prize for its ORYZITE project, a plastic substitute made from rice husks. This new material is the result of a circular economy project and the valorisation of rice by-products after more than 10 years of research.
  • Lantmännen (SE) won the natural resources and biodiversity award for its ThermoSeed project, a unique biological method that treats seeds to make them free from seed-borne infections, reducing the need for pesticides within agriculture, benefiting the environment as well as reducing costs for the farmer.

Commenting on the outcome of the award, Cogeca President, Ramon Armengol said, “I was truly impressed by the number and the quality of the entries. It was really hard for the Jury members in some categories to make a choice. When I see all these concrete initiatives, I can't avoid drawing a link with the discussions that are currently taking place at European level. While we are working on a high number of initiatives in the framework of the European Green Deal, European Agri-Cooperatives are already contributing to transforming the food systems and the forestry sector they are operating in. I invite everyone to carefully check what our cooperatives are doing on the ground.“

For Eduardo Baamonde, President of Cajamar Caja Rural, “The winners and all cooperatives that have participated in the award are demonstrating, once again, their driving force to move the agri-food and forestry sectors towards an enhanced sustainability, creating positive environmental, social values for farmers while preserving farmer members economic benefits. I was truly delighted to be able to reward fellow co-operators.’’

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