- Product: Food, Insurance, Legal Advice and Membership
- Purpose: To champion a better way of doing business, empowering people and communities
- What can we learn? The power of community
Co-Op show the power of collaboration through their embodiment of community in everything they do. Consider how you can cultivate community through your own business, how are you representing the needs and interests of the people that support you? Are you reaching out to include those new to your work? There’s strength in numbers; a collective of like-minds with a shared goal are far more powerful than the sum of their parts.
What's The Co-Op's story?
The Co-op is one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives, running initiatives across food, funerals, insurance and legal services and with a clear purpose of championing a better way of doing business for people and their communities. They operate under the co-operative model (the clues in the name!), a movement that began in the North of England in the mid-19th century in which businesses are owned and run by their members. Whether those members are the customers, employees, or the local community, they share the profits and have an equal say in how the business is run.
Co-ops tend to have social goals that exist beyond business ones, and a less hierarchical structure compared to conventional businesses. They create ecosystems through acting as a business anchor through distributing, recycling, and multiplying local expertise and capital within a community- making even limited resources go a long way.
What can we learn?
With an aim to stimulate and strengthen community action, the Co-Operative run their stores on principled credentials; building more resilient communities by offering fairer access to food, mental wellbeing services, and education and employment for young people. They directly engage their members in contributing to community support by donating 2p of every pound to local causes. This year they celebrated a £1 million payout to over 4,500 local causes, proving the profound power of collective community action. Co-ops are both purposeful and profitable, owned by more than 17.5 million people. In this decade of purpose, where businesses are learning they have to offer far more than just value for money to win the spend of consumers, perhaps we will see a surge in more businesses that give voice to their communities. Businesses that, like the Co-Op, promote an of the people, for the people mentality