As we count down to this year’s Co-operatives Fortnight, this two-part article brings you some facts about co-operatives that you may not have known. Part two will be published next week, but if you have an interesting co-operative fact that you would like to share with us, please leave it in the comments below.
1) Co-operatives share their profits
In contrast to “normal” businesses, where profits are distributed amongst shareholders, co-operatives split their profits between members, giving everyday people a share in the wealth that they helped to earn.
2) Co-operatives are owned by their members
Co-operatives are owned and run by their members. This means that everyone is given an equal say in how the business is run, regardless of factors that are in danger of being discriminatory such as age, position or length of service.
3) Co-operatives narrow the gap between rich and poor
The theme of this year’s Co-operatives Fortnight is: “Yours to share”. Co-operative all over the UK will be holding events to raise awareness of the co-operative model and the ways in which sharing profits and ownership make co-operatives ethical and responsible. If you would like to find out more, please click here to visit the website.
4) There are 4,990 independent co-operatives in the UK
These co-operatives share a set of internationally agreed principles and work together to help build a better world through co-operation.
5) Co-operatives work in all parts of the economy
Co-operatives aren’t just supermarkets and funeral services – although these are the most commonly seen co-operatives on the high streets.
Some of CaSE-da’s most successful co-operatives are involved with community arts, provide advocacy services for disabled people or operate a healthy food co-operative shop. There really is no limit to what a co-operative can achieve.
6) 13 million people in the UK are members of a co-operative
This is up 17.8 % on previous years, and has cemented the co-operative sector’s claim as the biggest membership movement in the UK.
7) Co-operatives contribute £33billion to the UK economy
Because co-operatives aren’t focused on bringing benefits to outside shareholders and investors, co-operatives can turn their attention to making sure that their members and customers get the best service, meaning more people are choosing to work, trade and shop co-operatively.