Our view: A new way to shout the co-op difference

This is the fifth year of our Community Impact Index, which shows just how much co-operatives do for their communities

This is the fifth year that Co-op News has compiled the Community Impact Index.

The main aim of the Index is to show the overall impact that co-ops have, and how much money they give back to communities compared to retail rivals.

This year, we have found that almost 12% of profits have been given back. While the privately owned retailers give just under 6% back.

By making this stark comparison, we can see the co-op difference. And for the first time, we have decided to shout about the co-op difference solely. Previously, we had ‘league’ tables almost pitting co-ops against co-ops.

We still publish this data in full online, for those interested. Instead, we are choosing to focus on the collective impact of co-ops.

While the Index is a record of what has happened, it’s also an insight into what co-ops could do. For example, retail rivals such as Tesco and Asda give a fantastic £165.2m back to communities. It’s a lot of money and a generous gift.

But the overall picture shows it’s just 5.9% of their profits. If co-ops had that market share, and still gave away almost 12% of its earnings, then you would expect that figure to double to more than £230m.

Over the five years of the Index, the impact of both co-ops and rivals has increased. There is now competition in being ethical.

Within the Index, we look at where co-ops perform best, and also look at the latest trends within the social impact sector.

Click here to view the full Community Impact Index for 2017

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