Building Co-op a Carbon Neutral World

The BC Institute for Co-operative Studies and the British Columbia Co-operative Association would like to thank all of the presenters, technicians, regional forum organizers, sponsors and the participants in Vancouver and around the world who helped make this years Building Co-operative Futures conference such a success.


Would you like to organize the Building Co-operative Futures conference for 2009? Are you interesting in hosting a regiona forum? Are you interested in sponsoring a forum? Check out the write-up below to see how we did things this year and to find out what is involved.






June 2nd and 3rd, 2008

The annual Building Co-op Futures youth conference is back again and this time it's going Carbon Neutral AND going live around the world! Through regional forums, live video conferencing and webstreaming, youth from around the world will have the opportunity to participate in the Building Co-op Futures conference through forums in their own region or on the internet.

Quick links: Live Webstream * BC Forum * Karachi Forum * Buenos Aires * Ontario Forum * Saskatchewan Forum


Taking on sustainability.

With daily reports of glacial ice and permafrost melting beyond the most extreme predictions of leading climatologists and graphs showing that Peak Oil was reached in 2006, the shape of our future is on the verge of changes on a scale beyond anything we have seen before. Few can argue that young people face a future entirely different than the world we live in today. People around the world are asking: What kind of a world will this be? What do we want it to be? How will we work together? And most importantly, how can we build a sustainable co-operative future?

These questions cannot be taken lightly. While youth involvement in the co-op movement today is significant, we all know the future of the co-operative movement will be in the hands of today’s young people. Yet is the way in which the co-operative movement organizes itself rooted in a petroleum-based economy that itself is on the verge of collapse? Is the success of the co-operative movement reliant on this economy?

Previous youth conferences have emphasized sustainability and Fair Trade as the way of the future. This year we want to ask:

  • How can we, as young people, further sustainability in our communities and our co-operatives?
  • How can we organize ourselves and adapt our methodology to align with these goals of sustainability?
  • What are young people around the world doing to create sustainable communities through co-operation?
  • What do we need in order to further this work?

International video conference

The online video conference will be a live interactive conference with participants and presenters located in regional forums around the world: Buenos Aires, Vancouver, Pakistan, Ontario, Saskatoon. The video conference will consist of 1 four-hour session with time before and after for activities organized at the regional level. Each regional forum is organized to meet the needs of youth in that region's co-op movement. During the conference, participants will be able to view the presenters from the other regions via video projection, ask questions in real time and present best practices in their region. The co-ordinating regional forum or ‘bridging’ will take place in Vancouver.

Regional Community Forums

The regional forums may be as large or small or as short or long as the local organizing committee desires. For example, the forum may be a 3-day forum with 60 people or a 1-day forum with 15 people. The video conference/plenary portion of the forum will be 6 hours, split into 2 sessions. Due to time zone limitations, some regions may choose to participate in only one of these sessions. The timing will ensure that all regions will be able to attend at least one of the sessions during daytime hours. Regional forum organizers are encouraged to compliment these plenary sessions with interactive discussions, local co-op mentors, workshops and/or tours of local co-operatives.

How can you get involved?

Attend an existing Regional Forum:


Buenos Aires
Guelph, Ontario

Host a Regional Forum: The regional forums may be held anywhere in the world with either high speed internet connection or ISDN lines and the capacity to project the digital video image onto an appropriate sized screen at a chosen venue. If you would like to find out how to host a regional forum, click here. (We are no longer accepting new regional forums for this year's event. However, please let us know if you are interested for next year!)

Join Live on the Internet

This year, everyone with access to the internet will have the opportunity to join the Building Co-op Futures Conferences. By tuning in to our conference webstream, young co-operators will have the opportunity to watch and listen live to presentations and discussions between all of the regional forums as well as send your thoughts and questions through live text messaging. You may also post ideas to the website and participate in online discussions that can continue after the conference. Register for the live webstream now!.

*Note that some slower internet connections may have difficulty with the video streaming.


Sponsor the Event

The 6TH Annual Building Co-operative Futures Conference offers an excellent opportunity for your organization to support young co-op leaders, the co-operative system and its vast volunteer/leadership network. Your support will help create a truly memorable conference.

All sponsorships are gratefully appreciated and will be recognized in a variety of ways before and during the 6th Annual International Building Co-operative Futures conference. Please download our sponsorship opportunities document to find out how you can support this fantastic event. You may also choose to sponsor a particular regional forum directly! Please contact us for more information.


The BC Co-operative Association and the BC Institute for Co-op Studies
are jointly hosting this year's Building Co-op Futures Conference. Our
Vancouver Regional Forum partners include Coast Capital Savings and the
SFU Centre for Sustainable Community Development.


Going Carbon Neutral. The best place to start is everywhere.