Co-operatives Fortnight 2013June 20, 2013 by The Co-operative Food
Co-operatives have been around a long time. The roots of the modern day co-operative movement can be traced directly back to the Rochdale Pioneers who got together in 1844 to create a new way of doing business that was fair to both suppliers and customers. People can pay ÂŁ1 to become a member, and receive a dividend or a share in the profits of the business.
Today when we think of the co-operative we tend to think of the food stores that are in every post code region up and down the country, or maybe the pharmacy, bank or travel businesses. However the co-operative movement stretches much wider than this and incorporates hundreds of member run businesses across Britain.
Just up the road from my desk in south Manchester we are lucky to have Unicorn, a workerâ€™s co-operative wholefoods and organics store which frequently wins awards as one of the best independent retailers in the country. Many people now use the PhoneCoop for their landline, mobile and broadband services. There are hundreds of other loved and trusted businesses and even schools that also work to a co-operative business structure. Yet chances are, if youâ€™re not involved, you wonâ€™t know much about it.
Co-operatives UK, the hub of the movement, is involved in helping start co-operative businesses in this country and abroad. The Co-operative Group works with the Fairtrade Organisation to help farmers in developing countries to create co-operatives to ensure they receive fair prices for their produce.
Co-operatives Fortnight is an annual event in its third year thatâ€™s been developed to draw peopleâ€™s attention to co-operatives in their many guises and let people know how they can take part too. While a co-operative isnâ€™t by definition a more ethical business, many of those do adhere to stronger ethical practices and certainly seek a fair distribution of their incomes.
This year Co-operatives Fortnight takes place from 22 June â€“ 6 July, and of course Congress, the major annual gathering of all co-operatives, will happen in Cardiff over the three days of 28 â€“ 30 June. For information, or to get involved visit http://www.uk.coop/choosecoop/local-loved-trusted.