Sustainability report reveals the Co-operative Group’s approach to social responsibility, environment and members

Staff, members and customers at the Co-operative Group have raised £6m for its charity of the year, the Carers Trust

Last month the Co-operative Group published its annual sustainability report, which sets out the organisation’s approach to the key sustainability issues for the business in 2013. The report also provides an insight into the business’ performance. Structured in three main parts, the document looks at the Co-operative’s take on social responsibility, protecting the environment and delivering […]


Working with other co-ops to promote your identity

Organisations are promoting the co-operative difference through the global Co-operative Marque

What do energy co-operatives, credit unions and consumer co-ops have in common? They have all found common ground as a co-operative business by getting behind a unique identity. With a defragmented co-operative grocery market in the UK, independent retail societies with many different facia came together to launch a common brand, named ‘The Co-operative’. Set […]


Milton Keynes Council enters new, co-operative era

Milton Keynes became a co-operative council on 10 September (Image: Tom Walker)

Milton Keynes Council has become the first local authority under no overall control to declare itself co-operative. The council became “a co-operative council, improving services and citizen empowerment” at its full meeting on 10 September. It agreed to adopt co-operative values and principles and to “re-think the role of councillors as community connectors, brokers and […]


Co-operative Bank can keep its co-op name


The Co-operative Bank can retain its co-operative name, according to Co-operatives UK. Helen Barber, head of co-operative advice at the UK’s sector body, said it has been working with the International Co-operative Alliance to determine a draft set of guidelines where a non-co-operative organisation can use ‘co-operative’ in their name. The agreed criteria outlines that […]


In good health? Membership of NHS foundation trusts

Alder Hey in the Park

New figures reveal that there are over 2.2 million members of NHS foundation trusts in England. But what does it mean to be a member? NHS foundation trusts were introduced in 2003 as organisations within the NHS structure, but which had a degree of control over operations and budgets. The Department of Health says they are […]


International news round-up 10-24 September

Members of CoOportunity, one of the USA’s thriving CO-OPs

International/Geneva Co-operatives have the potential to contribute to the United Nations’ sustainable development agenda, according to a background paper published by the International Labour Organization. The paper is based on the findings of a survey taken by the ILO’s Cooperatives Unit to determine how co-ops make a difference with concrete actions and engagement at local […]


Engaging with ‘reluctant co-ops’

Farmer-owned First Milk is becoming more vocal about its co-operative values

As the co-operative economy grows, so does the phenomenon of co-operative denial. While many businesses see the benefits of marketing themselves as a co-op, other will simply not use the ‘c’ word. The John Lewis Partnership, for example, is listed in the Co-operative Economy 2014 as the UK’s second biggest co-op, with a turnover of […]


The co-operative putting ethics into lobbying

The Public Affairs Co-op team includes Paula Paterson, Emma Beeby, David Lee, Ben McLeish and Neil Cuthbert

Scotland’s first worker co-operative that offers an ethical approach to lobbying has been launched in Edinburgh. Public Affairs Co-operative is aiming to offer value-led communication strategies to organisations keen to reach the right audiences in government, parliament, media and local communities. Its client portfolio will be carefully chosen and profits shared among staff and chosen good […]


Group’s debt puts it in the hands of banking syndicate

The acquisition of Somerfield was an extremely damaging mistake for the Group

Just how crucial were the banks in driving the reform process at the Co-operative Group? Very, is the simple answer. The background to the Group’s debt owes more to the unwise acquisition of Somerfield than to that other disaster at the Co-op Bank, which was caused to a large extent by a similarly mistaken acquisition […]


Engaging young members in the co-operative movement

Roselyn Xavier (22) represents the South East region on the Co-operative Group young members’ board

In a session at the UK Society for Co-operative Studies annual conference, young members of the co-operative movement looked at the best ways to engage with youth. Kevin Bennett, head of membership at Chelmsford Star explained how in 2008 the society has set up a youth council with members between 15 and 22. This was […]