Recently I found this cheering message misplaced in my spam filter – do check yours:
Resilient Co-operative Economy holds lessons for UK PLC
Ed Mayo reported that the co-operative sector has significantly outperformed the wider UK economy. The combined turnover of all UK co-operatives grew by 4.4% last year to £33bn, and has grown by 21% since the start of the credit crunch in 2008.
The UK Co-operative Economy 2011, the latest annual analysis into the size and performance of the UK’s unlisted co-operative businesses, reveals that membership of co-operatives has increased with growth of 18% since 2008, to 12.8 million. Although this is a slight drop from a high point in 2009, it means that one in five of the entire UK population is now a member of a co-operative.
Ed, secretary general of Co-operatives UK, the network which collects performance data on co-operative enterprises, believes that the resilience of the co-operative economy holds lessons that could help the UK economy avoid repeating the problems of recent years:
“The evidence we have is of remarkably stable growth across a wide array of co-operative businesses. The values of shared ownership, shared wealth and democratic control appear to provide resilience in the face of economic adversities. Our co-operative economy is in good health – still further proof, to both the public and private sectors, of exactly how economic success can be pursued alongside social responsibility.”
Concerned co-operator from Handsworth writes:
Yes, good stuff! However, we need to be careful with Ed Mayo’s claim that 20% of the total population are members of Co-ops, especially in terms of who we promote this to. Most of these members will be shopping at “The Co-op” and hold a membership card merely to get the “divi”. The line below could therefore be seen as misleading, as the vast majority are not members of “a co-operative” in any active sense.
Nevertheless it does demonstrate how even at that level, co-op retail is in with the big players