Co-oped Up (Not Enough Champagne Podcast Appearance)

Shaz appears on the podcast again to discuss how we can grow the Co-op sector

Back in December, I appeared on the Not Enough Champagne Podcast to talk about Co-operatives. We talked about my experiences of being members of many Co-ops and a policy report from the New Economics Foundation report, “Co-operatives Unleashed” about doubling the size of the Co-operative movement.

Below are some notes from the podcast. If the notes interest you, you can listen to the episode here.

  • A way of structuring an organisation that the stakeholders have ownership over it. There are many types, Three types. examples include Birmingham Friends of the Earth. A Community Benefit Society. A Co-op designed for social good. The members vote in the Board of Directors.

Central England Co-op is a retail Co-op. Employees can be employees and so can                  customers.

  • Workers Co-ops. Where the employees own the business in Birmingham, examples include the Birmingham Bike Foundry and Loaf

 

  • They are very different, but they all have similar values. Co-ops have a higher buy in from their members. The community benefit stays within the communities that the members live in more than many multinational PLC juggernaut. The biggest Co-ops paid more tax than the likes of Amazon and Starbucks.

 

  • When people work together, they can support each other. They empower workers. Support structures are placed in the Governance structures. Co-ops tend to be more resilient, have lower levels of staff turnover. Members can feedback and have more influence over the Co-op that they are members of.

 

  • There is a lack of support from Government for Co-ops. It is not taught at schools. They come under the FCA rather than Companies House. Accessing capital for Co-ops can be harder than other organisational structures.

 

  • Co-ops are in many forms that a lot of people won’t realise. For example, Credit Unions and Building Societies have Co-operative structures.

 

  • New Economics Foundation report says to set up an investment bank to help fund Co-ops. Make it easier to run a Co-op, being audited by the FCA is much more stringent than other types of structure.

 

  • Accelerate the switchover of businesses to become Co-operative.

 

The New Economics Foundation has the following policy recommendations.

 

A new legal framework for co‑operatives.
Finance that serves the co‑operative agenda.
Deepening co‑operative capabilities through a Co‑operative Development Agency.
Transforming business ownership.
Accelerating community wealth building initiatives.
 

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