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  • Writer's pictureKelsie Papenhausen

WOCCU to Put World Credit Union Conference Climate Action Donations...

...Toward Conservation and Sustainable Agroforestry Efforts in Colombia

Credit union-led initiative to restore degraded pastureland will be beneficiary of WCUC attendee generosity

MADISON, Wis.—World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) announced today that climate action donations from 2023 World Credit Union Conference (WCUC) attendees will go toward a cooperative-owned initiative to restore and reforest 3,500 hectares (8,649 acres) of degraded pastureland in rural Colombia.

Cooperación Verde (Green Cooperation) was created through the direct investment of 48 cooperative organizations. About 80% of its shareholders are credit unions that belong to FECOLFIN, WOCCU’s direct member organization in Colombia.

“It is a Sustainable Development Program promoted by the Colombian cooperative sector that was founded in 2009, with the purpose of offering the planet a comprehensive program to mitigate climate change through the conservation and restoration of 1,000 hectares (2,471 acres) of riparian forest with native trees,” Cooperación Verde states on its website.

The organization has surpassed its original goal and now owns a total of 3,500 hectares (8,649 acres), where it provides a sustainable alternative to illegal logging by expanding employment in the area through sustainable agroforestry and related value chains, such as honey production and ecotourism. Through its restoration and agricultural activities, Cooperación Verde is also protecting habitats important for water resources and native animals.

Thomas Belekevich, WOCCU Director of Member Services, visited the Cooperación Verde property in early 2023.

“This is an inspiring example of the potential for cooperation among cooperatives to address the shared challenges that we face globally. By embracing nature-based solutions, Cooperación Verde is supporting a circular economy and creating new opportunities in the rural countryside. This is an area that was at the intersection of narcotrafficking and paramilitary violence for many years. Thanks to the direct investments from credit unions, there is hope for a brighter future. It’s a model for cooperative climate action that has tremendous potential for replication elsewhere,” said Belekevich.

The upcoming gift to Cooperación Verde is just one example of WOCCU's continued commitment to promoting more equitable and resilient communities.

Credit union professionals still planning to register for the 2023 World Credit Union Conference, to be held July 23-26, in Vancouver, Canada, can contribute to this effort by selecting the climate action donation option at checkout. Conference registration is open at

World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development platform for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.

World Council has implemented 300+ technical assistance programs in 90 countries. Worldwide, 87,914 credit unions in 118 countries serve 393 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at


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