Chief Executive Euan Sutherland told Co-operative Group members that values and principles would be guiding its future strategy.
Speaking at the Group’s annual Values and Principles Conference in Manchester, Mr Sutherland said that when he joined the Group’s food board in 2009, he was impressed with its way of delivering values and principles.
“Values and principles become the heart of everything we do because that’s the difference, that’s the co-operative difference”, he said. Mr Sutherland encouraged members of regional Values and Principles Committees to contribute ideas and help develop a single strategy based on co-operative values and principles, which would then be implemented across the country.
“You have my unquestioned support to make this as big and as possible as it can,” he said.
The Group Chief Executive also spoke of 2013 as a difficult year for the society. He said the plan to recapitalise the bank was a fair one for the Group, adding that ethics would remain at the heart of the bank, with customers and members playing a deciding role in making that happen.
“We are all in the service of the higher purpose”, Mr Sutherland said, referring to his role as Chief Executive of the Group.
Nick Folland, external affairs director of the Group also thanked members for their dedication. Mr Folland, who transitioned career from legal services to corporate social responsibility, joined the Group this year from Kingfisher.
“At Kingfisher we used to look at The Co-operative and admire it. We couldn’t believe what it had achieved. I believe that co-operation and being co-operators and co-operatives brings us a great advantage. We’ve got something in here that’s relevant to all generations. We need your wisdom, we need to know what is going to work and what is going inspire you", he said.
Herbert Daybell, Chair of the Values and Principles Board also highlighted the importance of making mutuality relevant for the future. "Our values are non negotiable. Our commitment is non negotiable. We are in a position that we have to accept change, but we ned to make sure it’s change for the better," said Mr Daybell, arguing the co-operative had to maintain its different approach by capitalising on membership participation.