New governance code under way for Swedish co-operatives

The code is being developed by Cooperatives Sweden with input from the Stockholm School of Economics

A new governance code is being created for Swedish co-ops, focused on democratic processes, members’ financial contribution and social responsibility.

It is being developed by Svensk Kooperation (Cooperatives Sweden), the country’s trade body for the sector, which was launched last May by the Federation of Swedish Farmers (LRF), the Swedish Co-operative Union (KF), the HSB co-operative housing association and the KFO Employers’ association. The new body brought consumer, producer, worker and housing co-ops together for the first time.

Work on the code, which is aimed at large co-ops, is being led by Bo Thorstrop, former legal adviser at LRF (Federation of Swedish Farmers) and Lars Wennberg, former partner at PWC. A working group with representatives from consumer and producer co-operatives and the Stockholm School of Economics is also involved in the project.

“This highly sought-after code will increase the visibility of co-operative enterprise, its positive characteristics and its competitive power,” said Anders Källström, chair of Co-operatives Sweden and managing director of the Federation of Swedish Farmers (LRF).

Sweden’s top 100 co-operatives employ around 100,000 people and have an annual turnover of SEK 400bn (£35.10bn), playing an important role in the economy.

The movement has a long history in the country, with the first co-ops being set up in the 1890s.