Celebrated by cooperatives nationwide during the month of October, National Co-op Month is an annual opportunity to look at the many qualities that make them unique. Cooperatives are motivated by people and their needs, not by profit. The seven cooperative principles guide electric cooperatives to operate differently from other electric utilities, putting the needs of their members first.
The seventh cooperative principle is “concern for community,” which states cooperatives work for the sustainable development of their communities through policies supported by the membership. Great River Energy provides a strong foundation for the communities it serves by powering them with affordable, reliable and cleaner electricity.
Great River Energy’s commitment to community doesn’t end at providing energy. The organization gives back to the communities it serves and empowers its employees to do the same. Great River Energy provides monetary donations, materials and used equipment to nonprofit organizations. In 2021, these donations amounted to more than $1 million.
“A recent survey of our internal experts on the importance of our environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts suggests that our commitment to community is highly valued,” said Great River Energy Environmental and Sustainability Administrator Erik Heinen. “’Community vitality’ was ranked as a top priority in the social category among those surveyed.”
From spending millions of dollars on local purchases to supporting the development and expansion of local businesses, Great River Energy works to support local economies. In 2021, the organization spent more than $88 million on goods and services from local businesses in Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin. Additionally, the cooperative provides economic development expertise and connects businesses with the resources they need to grow and thrive.
Great River Energy’s founding principles emphasize the importance of environmental stewardship, supporting its local communities and its employees, while providing reliable and affordable power. As a result, these principles are ingrained in everything the organization does. You can read more about Great River Energy’s commitment to community and other sustainability efforts at greatriverenergy.com/sustainability.