A vote of confidence for co-operatives

Lincolnshire Co-operative uses local suppliers rather than generating profits for global investors and suppliers

lincs coop logoEarlier, on Localise West Midlands’ website, research by K2A followed the money spent by customers of the successful Lincolnshire Co-operative. Its finding: money increased in value, going to local suppliers, to customers as a dividend and to employees, who in turn spent a proportion of their money locally. On conservative estimates, using internationally accepted benchmarks, the co-operative generated an additional £40 for the local economy for every £100 spent by a customer, rather than generating profits for outside investors and global suppliers.

lincs local food2Ursula Lidbetter, the independent Lincolnshire Co-operative’s innovative chief executive (now head of the Co-operative Group) has overseen a transition to local food procurement and their stores now stock a wide range of local food. The co-operative has a meat procurement policy “which supports local farmers and reduces food miles”

Quakers and Business: a vote of confidence

q&b logoQ&B is to devote most of its Birmingham gathering in April to the sector.  One  workshop session will be led by co-operative development worker Jim Pettipher from Co-operative Futures (www.futures.coop) on how to start a new co-operative business.

There are 6,000 co-operatives in the UK alone, and a new one sets up each day. Credit unions have a million members. Two-thirds of Scotland’s farmers are in co-operatives.

Pre-empting an observation about recent events, the Guardian editorial says: “The weakness of the Co-op bank wasn’t that it was a co-operative, but that it was a bank”.

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