Koperattivi Malta (KM) stands in agreement with recent articles, including those by the Malta Chamber and the MHRA , which highlight pressing concerns affecting the nation. Issues such as traffic, power outages, waste management, economic challenges, and declining quality of life have become prominent topics of discussion across various platforms.

In response to these challenges, KM firmly believes that embracing sustainable, community-based business models offers a potential solution. Rather than relying solely on government assistance, the co-operative model offers an important vehicle to drive positive change in Malta’s economic landscape.

The co-operative approach involves citizen-owned businesses that prioritize sustainability and community well-being. By promoting and fostering such co-operatives, Malta can pave the way for a more resilient and inclusive economic future.

Addressing the challenges as citizens

According to the 2023 edition of the State of the Nation survey, Malta’s quality of life has experienced a sharp decline. Since 2021, the percentage of individuals perceiving their standard of living as below average has nearly doubled, rising from 5% to 9%. Concurrently, the proportion of those considering their standard of living to be above average has declined from nearly 20% to 12%. Additionally, close to one-fifth of respondents express a desire to have been born in a different country.

Daniel Schembri, CEO of Koperattivi Malta stated: “These concerning trends highlight the urgent need for effective, long-term solutions to improve living standards. Citizens hold more power than they think in driving change. Beyond government involvement, people have the opportunity to join forces for a common purpose to address these issues that are impacting businesses and citizens alike.”

Mr. Schembri went on to explain that by pooling costs, resources, expertise, and efforts, co-operatives unlock their collective potential, benefiting both members and their communities. This approach distributes risks across the group, enhancing resilience to market disruptions and reducing individual vulnerabilities and making them ideal for sustainable growth.

What is a co-operative?

A co-operative is a unique business entity owned and operated by its members who come together with a shared purpose. Typically consisting of five or more like-minded individuals, co-operatives function democratically and can be found in various sectors, including agriculture, finance, housing, energy, retail, and worker-owned enterprises.

There are a number of examples internationally where co-operatives have been created by individuals to address national issues. One such example is The Zeewolde wind farm in the Netherlands where over 200 farmers and local residents created the largest onshore wind farm in the Netherlands with 320 MW of installed capacity. The wind farm was developed through a collective investment of $500 million by households in the project area.

It comprises 83 wind turbines, including different types from Vestas, with a total capacity of 3.9 MW per turbine. The wind farm can supply electricity to around 300,000 homes, offering the participating farmers a reliable source of income alongside their traditional harvests. The construction was completed on schedule and within budget, with smaller wind turbines nearby set to be removed by the end of 2026.

In the local context, the co-operative model has also started being advocated as a solution to address pressing environmental challenges. One successful example is GreenPak, a packaging waste recovery organization that operates as a co-operative venture, promoting recycling and responsible waste disposal practices.

Other potential co-operative ideas include community gardens, sustainable food provision co-operatives supporting local farmers, educational entities promoting environmental awareness, and waste management assistance co-operatives which can further alleviate national issues and pave the way to a more sustainable future.

By encouraging citizens to join forces through co-operatives, Malta can foster sustainability, resilience, and community-driven positive change, leading to a more inclusive and environmentally conscious economic future.

Koperattivi Malta stands as the Apex organization for co-operatives in Malta, urging businesses and individuals to embrace these collective efforts for the nation’s well-being.

“We firmly believe that Malta, with its strategic location, can harness the co-operative model as a means to empower its people and drive meaningful change. We want to create more awareness about the opportunities that setting up a co-operative can offer citizens who would like to address the current issues. Every new established co-operative signifies a significant step towards a more sustainable and inclusive economic landscape.” continued Mr. Schembri.

Taking action

Koperattivi Malta urges businesses and citizens to consider this shift towards sustainable co-operative models as a collective effort to address the nation’s current challenges effectively. Together, citizens have the power to make a lasting impact on Malta’s overall prosperity and well-being.

Koperattivi Malta is a non-political entity standing as the Apex organization for co-operatives across the Maltese Islands. Should you be interested in setting up a co-operative you can contact them in [email protected] for a complimentary consultation