Meet the co-op movement

Against backdrop of 2017 has emerged a plethora of community owned businesses. From tech co-ops to worker co-ops to funeral co-ops, there’s been a growth of cooperatives in recent years as people begin to turn to new models of economic sustainability. It’s from this new understanding of shared business that funders such as Power to Change – who we have had the pleasure of working with – have emerged. Today, we’re looking back to one of the oldest, most established cooperatives, which is still thriving today. This week, we welcome our heroes of change, The Co-operative.

You may think of The Co-op as your local store to buy an early morning pint of milk, but behind the shop-front lies a whole ideology that forms the basis for thousands of movements around the world. The cooperative movement is based on principles of jointly owned and democratically owned business. The Co-op embodies these principles. Its members are democratically involved in setting business strategy, and there are a number of schemes in place to give its members as much autonomy as possible.

What’s the secret of their success?

The secret to The Co-op’s success lies in their continual regeneration to remain relevant in the coming years. They have integrated campaigning with funeral services with banking to create a cooperative that involves its members every step of the way. The Co-ops continual innovation can be seen in their recent ‘Members Pioneers’ scheme. The Co-op is launching this scheme to foster a greater sense of affinity towards the cooperative within communities. The responsibility of a ‘Member Pioneer’ would be to host meetings and events, and build relationships amongst co-op members in their community,

What’s next?

The co-op have begun to tap into the local needs by introducing this Member Pioneers scheme. What they’ll need to ensure is that the pioneers are well supported, are involved in a peer network with each other so that they can share in each other’s work, and Co-op HQ needs to ensure that the member pioneers are engaged in meaningful action with suitable rewards. These are all key to building a successful movement, which you can read more about here

We work with change makers to create sustainable movements that transform the world.