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Co-op News - June 2020

The March edition of Co-op News: connecting, challenging and championing the global co-operative movement. This issue looks at where we go next after the Covid-19 crisis, with a look at the changing nature of retail, new demands for co-op development, the financial pressures a recession will bring and the desire created during the pandemic for new ways of working together. We also speak to Ed Mayo, outgoing secretary general of Co-operatives UK, about his time at the helm of the sector body

The March edition of Co-op News: connecting, challenging and championing the global co-operative movement. This issue looks at where we go next after the Covid-19 crisis, with a look at the changing nature of retail, new demands for co-op development, the financial pressures a recession will bring and the desire created during the pandemic for new ways of working together. We also speak to Ed Mayo, outgoing secretary general of Co-operatives UK, about his time at the helm of the sector body

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The world is at a crossroads<br />

- but will it take the co-<strong>op</strong> route?<br />

CONNECTING, CHAMPIONING AND<br />

CHALLENGING THE GLOBAL CO-OP<br />

MOVEMENT SINCE 1871<br />

Holyoake House, Hanover Street,<br />

Manchester M60 OAS<br />

(00) 44 1612140870<br />

www.thenews.co<strong>op</strong><br />

editorial@thenews.co<strong>op</strong><br />

EXECUTIVE EDITOR<br />

Rebecca Harvey<br />

rebecca@thenews.co<strong>op</strong><br />

INTERNATIONAL EDITOR<br />

Anca Voinea I anca@thenews.co<strong>op</strong><br />

DIGITAL EDITOR<br />

Miles Hadfield I miles@thenews.co<strong>op</strong><br />

DESIGN<br />

Keir Mucklestone-Barnett<br />

ART & DESIGN PLACEMENT<br />

Owais Qazi<br />

INTERNATIONAL OUTREACH OFFICER<br />

Elaine Dean<br />

DIRECTORS<br />

Barbara Rainford (chair), David Paterson<br />

(vice-chair), Sofygil Crew, Gavin<br />

Ewing, Tim Hartley, Ray Henderson,<br />

Gillian Lonergan and Beverley Perkins.<br />

Secretary: Richard Bickle<br />

Established in 1871, <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

<strong>News</strong> is published by <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

Press Ltd, a registered society under<br />

the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative and <strong>Co</strong>mmunity<br />

Benefit Society Act 2014. It is printed<br />

every month by Buxton Press, Palace<br />

Road, Buxton, Derbyshire SKI? 6AE.<br />

Membership of <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Press is<br />

<strong>op</strong>en to individual readers as well as<br />

to other co-<strong>op</strong>eratives, corporate bodies<br />

and unincorporated organisations.<br />

The <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative <strong>News</strong> mission statement<br />

is to connect, champion and challenge<br />

the global co-<strong>op</strong>erative movement,<br />

through fair and objective journalism<br />

and <strong>op</strong>en and honest comment and<br />

debate. <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> <strong>News</strong> is, on occasion,<br />

supported by co-<strong>op</strong>eratives, but<br />

final editorial control remains with<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative <strong>News</strong> unless specifically<br />

labelled 'advertorial'. The information<br />

and views set out in <strong>op</strong>inion articles<br />

and letters do not necessarily reflect<br />

the <strong>op</strong>inion of <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative <strong>News</strong>.<br />

W @co<strong>op</strong>news<br />

f co<strong>op</strong>erativenews<br />

The <strong>Co</strong>vid-19 crisis that swept the world is trailing economic disaster in its wake - but<br />

has also reminded pe<strong>op</strong>le of the power of collective working, from mutual aid groups at<br />

grassroots level to state support packages worth billions.<br />

But as the dust settles - and with the even greater challenge of climate change<br />

continuing to escalate - will these new ways of working persist?<br />

Some say that this is the perfect moment for movements such as co-<strong>op</strong>eration to<br />

seize the initiative, now that the benefits of common action and ownership have<br />

been demonstrated. But the movement itself is under financial pressure, with UK<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s joining other social enterprises in lobbying the government to make up gaps in<br />

the <strong>Co</strong>vid-19 support package that threaten the future of thousands of organisations<br />

in the sector (page 5). Lobbying can pay off: as the <strong>News</strong> went to press there were<br />

announcements of new funding for the sector from dormant bank accounts, and also<br />

helpful changes to insolvency legislation.<br />

The letter also highlights the value of co-<strong>op</strong>s and community businesses - and there are<br />

examples of this good work in <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> <strong>News</strong> this month, including Grindleford <strong>Co</strong>mmunity<br />

Sh<strong>op</strong>, a store owned by villagers in Derbyshire (p22-23). Store manager Sarah Battarbee<br />

tells how it has become a focal point for the area's community response to <strong>Co</strong>vid-19,<br />

and is introducing co-<strong>op</strong>erative ideas to new pe<strong>op</strong>le. The UK's bread fund movements<br />

offer other grassroots <strong>op</strong>tions in building a more sustainable future (p44-45), while the<br />

country's retail co-<strong>op</strong>s have a role to play in building a fairer food system (p40-42).<br />

And we speak to Ed Mayo, the outgoing secretary general of <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives UK, about<br />

his time at the helm of the movement, the work it has done and the challenges ahead<br />

(p28-31). All of us here at the <strong>News</strong> thank him for his hard work and wish him good luck.<br />

With a global recession on the way and vested corporate interests still wielding huge<br />

clout, will our idealism be enough? Speaking to experts from the co-<strong>op</strong> devel<strong>op</strong>ment<br />

field (page 32-33) it's clear we have a mountain to climb, while representatives of the<br />

UK's co-<strong>op</strong> council movement warn there are huge holes in their budgets to make up<br />

(p36-37). And, warns Sebastien Chaillou from the Youth Network of the International<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Alliance: "The capitalist tycoons are cleverer than we are, they have played<br />

the crisis game time and again, only to profit from it and get stronger" (p43).<br />

There are hard times ahead, then, and much work to be done, if the world's co-<strong>op</strong><br />

movements are to emerge on the other side of this crisis in a winning position.<br />

MILES HADFIELD - DIGITAL EDITOR<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative <strong>News</strong> is printed using vegetable oil-based<br />

inks on 80% recycled paper (with 60% from post-consumer<br />

waste) with the remaining 20% produced from FSC or PEFC<br />

certified sources. It is made in a totally chlorine free process.<br />

JUNE <strong>2020</strong> I 3


THIS ISSUE<br />

CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT:<br />

Obituary, Denis Goldberg (p26-27); Ed Mayo<br />

leaves <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives UK as secretary general<br />

1 (p28-31); What lessons can be learnt from<br />

the US co-<strong>op</strong> movement? (p34-35);<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> councils brace for the threat of<br />

austerity (p36-37); and Prof Leigh Sparks<br />

looks at the UK's retail sector (40-42)<br />

22·23 MEET ... SARAH BATTARBEE<br />

The manager of Grindleford <strong>Co</strong>mmunity<br />

Store on its responses to <strong>Co</strong>vid-19<br />

38·39 IRISH POLITICS<br />

Dr Patrick Doyle analyses the co-<strong>op</strong><br />

agenda of the Irish political parties<br />

COVER: What direction will the<br />

world take to recover from the<br />

<strong>Co</strong>vid-19 crisis? And how can<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s ensure they have a role?<br />

Read more: p32-47<br />

25 WORKER CO-OP WEEKEND<br />

This year's event was held on line, with<br />

speakers from the UK, US and Canada<br />

26·27 OBITUARY, DENIS GOLDBERG<br />

South African social campaigner who was<br />

active in the struggle against apartheid<br />

28·31 INTERVIEW, ED MAYO<br />

Rebecca Harvey speaks to the outgoing<br />

chief executive of <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives UK about<br />

his time at the helm of the organisation<br />

32·47 CO-OPS AT A CROSSROADS<br />

32·33 CO-OPERATIVE DEVELOPMENT<br />

We talk to independent co-<strong>op</strong><br />

devel<strong>op</strong>ment agency CASE and<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives UK about how to grow<br />

the movement after <strong>Co</strong>vid-19<br />

34·35 CO·OP DEVELOPMENT<br />

IN THE USA<br />

What lessons can be learnt from the<br />

US movement?<br />

36-37 BRACING FOR AUSTERITY?<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> council leaders fear more cuts<br />

will endanger services they provide<br />

40-42 THE STATE OF RETAIL<br />

Prof Leigh Sparks shares his view of how<br />

to fix the UK's 'broken' retail sector and<br />

deliver a food system that works for all<br />

43 WHERE NEXT?<br />

Sebastien Chaillou, president of the<br />

ICA Youth Network, encourages<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s to work with the wider social<br />

and solidarity economy movement to<br />

achieve systemic change<br />

44·45 SOLIDARITY<br />

What can a post-<strong>Co</strong>vid economy learn<br />

from breadfunds, friendly societies and<br />

other financial mutuals?<br />

46·47 TECHNOLOGY<br />

How have co-<strong>op</strong> retailers been using<br />

tech so they can safely <strong>op</strong>erate through<br />

the pandemic?<br />

REGULARS<br />

5-12 UK updates<br />

13-21 Global updates<br />

24 Letters<br />

50 Digital events


CO-OP GROUP MOTIONS 2019:<br />

WHAT HAPPENED NEXT?<br />

In his letter, Mr Leighton also updated<br />

members on 2019 activity. Last year<br />

the organisation delivered £17m to<br />

over 4,000 local causes and had been<br />

proactive on the key motions passed at the<br />

2019 AGM.<br />

On the back of a motion calling for<br />

increased support for Fairtrade products,<br />

the Group launched an advertising<br />

campaign that focused on the difference<br />

Fairtrade chocolate makes to pe<strong>op</strong>le and<br />

the planet; increased visibility ofFairtrade<br />

products in-store (offers, radio, magazine<br />

and labelling); and created a webpage that<br />

helps sh<strong>op</strong>pers find Fairtrade products<br />

and businesses.<br />

Another motion saw <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group<br />

members vote in favour of maintaining<br />

levels of investment in technology and<br />

security measures to keep colleagues safe.<br />

Since then, it has rolled out Intelligent<br />

CCTV to more stores; is supporting<br />

colleagues with training on abuse and<br />

anti-social behaviour; commissioned<br />

research from the University of London<br />

to produce the first study into this area<br />

of crime; and persuaded the government<br />

to issue a call for evidence on retail crime<br />

and abuse.<br />

On responsible sourcing, the<br />

organisation has pledged to reduce<br />

its direct and indirect greenhouse gas<br />

emissions by 50o/o by 2025; has started to<br />

share its key 30 ingredients and activity<br />

around them online; and is working with<br />

Chester Zoo to replant 5,000 trees on a<br />

former palm oil plantation, among others.<br />

THE CO-OP GROUP MOTIONS<br />

<strong>2020</strong>: WHAT ARE MEMBERS<br />

VOTING ON?<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group members will be asked to<br />

vote on 12 motions this year, including<br />

three submitted by independent societies<br />

and the Members' <strong>Co</strong>uncil.<br />

The Members' <strong>Co</strong>uncil motion<br />

recognises the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group's active<br />

position in the fight against climate<br />

change but calls on it to do more to address<br />

this issue on global and local levels. "Our<br />

planet is facing a climate emergency<br />

and we need to accelerate our actions<br />

to address the potentially catastr<strong>op</strong>hic<br />

effects this will cause to our businesses,<br />

our supply chains, our communities and<br />

future generations," reads the motion.<br />

Independent societies submitted two<br />

motions, the first on ethical retailing.<br />

While it may be a leader in this area, the<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group is being asked to build on the<br />

launch of its vegan range, GRO, by focusing<br />

its future strategy on "what matters most<br />

to customers when they're sh<strong>op</strong>ping, such<br />

as animal welfare, environmental impacts<br />

and healthy eating".<br />

The second independent society<br />

motion looks at the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group's role<br />

in supporting the wider UK co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

movement. The motion "welcomes the<br />

positive role that the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Group<br />

has played in the wider co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

movement over many years", and calls<br />

for the board and the National Members'<br />

<strong>Co</strong>uncil to confirm their ongoing support<br />

for the "organisational infrastructure<br />

necessary for a growing and thriving<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>erative economy". This includes<br />

"the provision of independent news<br />

and comment, co-<strong>op</strong>erative education<br />

and training, heritage and international<br />

devel<strong>op</strong>ment work, as well as policy,<br />

finance, legal and governance advice".<br />

Alongside the motions, members<br />

will also be asked to vote for a membernominated<br />

director. This year, there<br />

are three candidates standing for one<br />

position, who will be elected for three<br />

years: David Jones; Margaret Casely­<br />

Hayford; and Angela Luger. There are also<br />

168 candidates standing for places on<br />

the Group's National Members' <strong>Co</strong>uncil,<br />

across 12 regions.<br />

CD NEED TO KNOW<br />

DOES MY SOCIETY HAVE<br />

TO HOLD AN AGM?<br />

The <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative and <strong>Co</strong>mmunity<br />

Benefit Societies Act 2014 and<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mpanies Act 2006 do not require<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s registered under them to have an<br />

AGM - but they may be a requirement of<br />

an organisation's governing document.<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives UK is recommending<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s hold electronic AGM wherever<br />

possible - or to consult with its<br />

members if a postponement may result<br />

in a rules breach. For further details:<br />

uk.co<strong>op</strong>/coronavirus.<br />

CO-OP GROUP:<br />

AM I ELIGIBLE?<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group members are eligible to<br />

vote on AGM motions and elections<br />

if they spent £250 in Food or by trading<br />

with another <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> business in 2019.<br />

Members can check their eligibility by<br />

emailing agm@co<strong>op</strong>.co.uk or calling<br />

0800 0686 727; eligible members can<br />

then vote on line at co-<strong>op</strong>erative.co<strong>op</strong>/<br />

vote using the voting codes printed in<br />

their voting packs, which they should<br />

receive by 13 May by email or post.<br />

Voting is <strong>op</strong>en from 4 May to 1 <strong>June</strong>; the<br />

Group is also asking members to submit<br />

any questions they have to agm@co<strong>op</strong>.<br />

co.uk by midday on 1 <strong>June</strong>.


COVID-19<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group launches<br />

school meal scheme<br />

for eligible pupils<br />

The <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group has launched a gift card<br />

scheme to help schools across the UK<br />

provide free meals to eligible pupils.<br />

Around 1.3m pupils who qualify for<br />

free school meals are having difficulties<br />

accessing them due to school closures.<br />

The government is giving schools an<br />

allowance of £15 a week per eligible<br />

pupil to fund free meals, administered<br />

by company Edenred - but neither the<br />

Group nor the independent co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

societies are among the retailers with<br />

which these vouchers can be redeemed.<br />

Through the Group's parallel scheme,<br />

families can use gift cards, redeemable at<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group stores. Education secretary<br />

Gavin Williamson says schools will<br />

be fully reimbursed and refunded for<br />

purchasing gift cards from the Group.<br />

Michael Fletcher, chief commercial<br />

officer at the Group, said: "It's important<br />

that vulnerable children who are eligible<br />

for free school meals don't go hungry.<br />

We are delighted to be able to help and<br />

support the schools and children in the<br />

communities we serve."<br />

But the gift cards are not redeemable<br />

with the independent co-<strong>op</strong> societies,<br />

Midcounties pledges<br />

£75k for community<br />

groups hit by lockdown<br />

Midcounties <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> has announced a<br />

£75,000 <strong>Co</strong>mmunity Restart Fund to<br />

provide immediate financial support for<br />

its partner community groups, whose<br />

funding and <strong>op</strong>eration has been hit by the<br />

<strong>Co</strong>vid-19 pandemic.<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmunity and charity partners that<br />

are facing extra challenges or financial<br />

hardship as a result of coronavirus<br />

can apply for grants of up to £1,000,<br />

which will be paid directly into their<br />

bank accounts.<br />

The scheme was launched by<br />

Midcounties on 16 May at its virtual AGM<br />

and partner groups have until 29 May to<br />

get their applications in.<br />

Group CEO Phil Ponsonby said: "Many<br />

of the groups we support are working<br />

incredibly hard in their communities to<br />

which use paper gift vouchers rather<br />

than plastic cards. The Group's gift card<br />

is incompatible with the Electronic<br />

Point of Sale Digital Systems of the<br />

independents.<br />

A spokeswoman for the Southern<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> said: "We are unable to accept<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group's plastic vouchers. We are<br />

responding to local requests for free<br />

school meal vouchers and targeting<br />

schools where they are not easily served<br />

by the national scheme to make sure they<br />

are getting the support they need."<br />

John Street, head of business<br />

transformation at Midcounties, said:<br />

"We're all disappointed we haven't been<br />

help pe<strong>op</strong>le through the outbreak. At the<br />

same time, lockdown restrictions and<br />

the huge changes to pe<strong>op</strong>le's day-to-day<br />

lives have made it increasingly difficult<br />

for them to raise funds through their<br />

usual activities. Our <strong>Co</strong>mmunity Restart<br />

Fund is designed to help fill that gap and,<br />

crucially, do it quickly.<br />

"Supporting our communities and<br />

members is at the heart of what we do at<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Midcounties, and always will be.<br />

able to provide a unilateral co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

approach to school vouchers ... but<br />

we will continue to support schools in<br />

our trading areas through the paper<br />

vouchers. We have an important role to<br />

play in the provision of vouchers for our<br />

most vulnerable children and we are<br />

determined to fulfil that role."<br />

Both the Group and the independent<br />

societies are concerned about the<br />

government's expectation for schools<br />

<strong>op</strong>erating with a budget surplus to selffund<br />

the cost of free school meal vouchers.<br />

"There should be parity with the<br />

Edenred scheme to ensure all schools are<br />

treated fairly," added Mr Street.<br />

Together with our colleagues, members<br />

and customers, we've already raised over<br />

£100,000 for our charity partners over<br />

the last year, and we're pleased to be able<br />

to provide even further support at this<br />

crucial time."<br />

Previous initiatives by the society<br />

during the <strong>Co</strong>vid-19 crisis include the<br />

launch in March of its home delivery<br />

service and a food bank fund.<br />

► Visit mid.co<strong>op</strong>/RestartFund


COVID-19<br />

Woodcraft Folk goes on line for lockdown activities<br />

Woodcraft Folk, the co-<strong>op</strong>erative youth<br />

organisation, is offering a range of online<br />

activities to help young pe<strong>op</strong>le through<br />

the lockdown.<br />

The programme includes weekly<br />

activities, online worksh<strong>op</strong>s and<br />

educational projects that can be done in<br />

the home and garden<br />

On its website, the organisation says:<br />

"Our normal Woodcraft Folk activities<br />

can't happen during lockdown, but the<br />

fun can continue at home. Our work is<br />

more important than ever - linking up<br />

young pe<strong>op</strong>le, playing games, making<br />

friends and continuing a sense of<br />

community and connection while we are<br />

physically apart."<br />

Each week, young pe<strong>op</strong>le are<br />

taking part in challenges and posting<br />

the results online with the hashtag<br />

#DreamBigAtHome. Tasks set so far<br />

include making and sending a thankyou<br />

card to farmers for Fair Trade Day,<br />

making peace bunting for the VE Day<br />

anniversary and creating a biodiversity<br />

area in the garden.<br />

Woodcraft Folk is also running a series<br />

of live sessions - worksh<strong>op</strong>s, storytelling<br />

and virtual campfires, "connecting<br />

children and young pe<strong>op</strong>le online and<br />

continuing a sense of community and<br />

connection while we are physically apart".<br />

These range from virtual campfires,<br />

with joke-telling and sing-alongs, to<br />

storytelling sessions and educational<br />

worksh<strong>op</strong>s on issues such as climate<br />

change, fake news, critical thinking and<br />

how activists can tackle bias in the media<br />

and society.<br />

And there is a wide selection of games,<br />

quizzes and creative challenges, many of<br />

them based around the Woodcraft Folk's<br />

values of equality and co-<strong>op</strong>eration.<br />

The organisation - a registered charity<br />

- is seeking donations to help maintain its<br />

activities through lockdown.<br />

"Woodcraft Folk is needed more<br />

than ever in these difficult times," it<br />

says. "The demand for our work is<br />

increasing as children and families are<br />

faced with isolation from friends, school<br />

and community.<br />

"With the closure of both our regular<br />

weekly group nights and our amazing<br />

outdoor activity centres, we are appealing<br />

for donations so we can continue to<br />

support thousands of young pe<strong>op</strong>le across<br />

the UK."<br />

► Obituary: Denis Goldberg, former<br />

honorary Woodcraft Folk president, p26-27<br />

.& Woodcraft Folk set children the task of<br />

making peace bunting for VE Day<br />

COVID-19<br />

Historic worker co-<strong>op</strong><br />

celebration moves<br />

online for lockdown<br />

Next month sees the 150th anniversary<br />

of one of Britain's most successful early<br />

worker-led co-<strong>op</strong>s, the Hebden Bridge<br />

Fustian Manufacturing <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative.<br />

Lockdown measures mean the original<br />

plans for events and exhibitions in the<br />

West Yorkshire town have been cancelled<br />

but the organising committee is moving<br />

key activities online.<br />

A national conference, planned<br />

for 4 July in Hebden Bridge, has been<br />

postponed but the break-out sessions and<br />

main plenary will go ahead via Zoom.<br />

Participants will be invited to discuss<br />

how, after the pandemic, we can<br />

restructure our businesses in ways which<br />

offer genuine worker engagement and<br />

democracy.<br />

The video conference will take place<br />

from 10am until noon. The keynote<br />

speakers are:<br />

Diana Dovgan, secretary General of<br />

CECOP, the Eur<strong>op</strong>ean confederation of<br />

industrial and service co-<strong>op</strong>s.<br />

Alice Martin, an author whose latest<br />

book, on trade union renewal and worker<br />

democracy, is due out this autumn.<br />

Molly Scott Cato, an academic<br />

specialising in green economics, who is<br />

also an environmental and community<br />

activist. From 2014 until <strong>2020</strong> she was a<br />

Green Party MEP.<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-organiser Mark Simmonds said:<br />

"It's important to ensure that the country<br />

doesn't just revert to 'business as usual'<br />

after coronavirus. July 4, this year's<br />

International Day of <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives, is an<br />

ideal time to discuss ways that we can<br />

promote worker co-<strong>op</strong>eration, worker<br />

democracy and worker rights, and ways<br />

in which the economy can be run for all."<br />

This event is being organised by<br />

Calderdale <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Association, a<br />

federation of co-<strong>op</strong>eratives trading in the<br />

borough of Calderdale.<br />

The previous evening's talk by Andrew<br />

Bibby is also moving online. He will<br />

discuss the 19th century antecedents of<br />

today's workers' co-<strong>op</strong>eratives.<br />

► Both events are free but prior<br />

registration is essential. More details at<br />

www.calderdale.co<strong>op</strong>.


HERITAGE<br />

A piece of history: Archives uncovered as the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group leaves Miller Street<br />

Some of the items charting the history of<br />

the co-<strong>op</strong>erative movement are finding<br />

new homes as the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group completes<br />

its move out of its former head office in the<br />

CIS Tower on Miller Street, Manchester.<br />

Over the past two years, the Group's<br />

Pr<strong>op</strong>erty and Legal teams have been<br />

working with the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Heritage<br />

Trust to preserve items and archives<br />

accumulated by the Group, which have<br />

been held in storage in the building's<br />

basements.<br />

The Trust employed two additional<br />

archivists to sift through all materials and<br />

has been advising on the preservation<br />

of co-<strong>op</strong>erative assets of historic value.<br />

Items identified as having historic value<br />

and which are not duplicates of previous<br />

materials with the collections will be<br />

moved into an extended archival space<br />

within neighbouring Holyoake House so<br />

more detailed archiving can take place.<br />

"These records will be then used for<br />

both historical purposes and to inspire<br />

the co-<strong>op</strong>erators of the future, in line<br />

with Principle Five," said Ed Powell,<br />

partnerships manager at the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group<br />

and secretary of the Heritage Trust.<br />

Some of the items include architectural<br />

plans, business documents (including<br />

those pertaining to the ill-fated Britannia<br />

deal) and AGM papers. Also discovered<br />

were glass slides used to project adverts<br />

onto walls for painters - and the<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> press Centenary Tr<strong>op</strong>hy which was<br />

commissioned in 1971 for the Press's 100th<br />

anniversary and presented annually for<br />

the advertising that best reflected the<br />

'movement's social purpose'.<br />

The work carried out by the<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Heritage Trust was complete<br />

by October 2019 and the Trust is now<br />

awaiting agreement from the Legal Team<br />

overseeing the project to be able to move<br />

materials into the archive and commence<br />

the next stage.<br />

"The Pr<strong>op</strong>erty Team and <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

Heritage Trust have taken considerable<br />

time and effort to try to make sure that<br />

we 'do the right thing' with the material<br />

available," said Mr Powell. "This<br />

collection will considerably extend the<br />

holdings overseen by the Trust, who have<br />

just received notice that the first part of<br />

the collection is now ready to be moved.<br />

"Currently there are restrictions to<br />

access in place both at Miller Street and<br />

Holyoake House, as well as a reduced<br />

capacity within the Trust team to start<br />

the next stage of archiving. As lockdown<br />

restrictions ease and in line with<br />

guidance, the Trust will carry out this next<br />

phase and, with permission of the Group,<br />

look to share this archive for the benefit of<br />

current and future co-<strong>op</strong>erators."<br />

Alongside the Trust's support, other<br />

historic assets of value or interest were<br />

identified and details provided to the<br />

Pr<strong>op</strong>erty Team to make a decision on their<br />

use. To move towards this, the Pr<strong>op</strong>erty<br />

Team has arranged an auction of some of<br />

the items of value, which is taking place<br />

online and at Miller Street on 4 <strong>June</strong>.<br />

Viewing takes place on Tuesday 2 <strong>June</strong><br />

<strong>2020</strong> (by appointment between 10am<br />

and 3.30pm). Some of the items include<br />

commemorative china, biscuit tins, milk<br />

bottles, medals, steel deed boxes, tr<strong>op</strong>hies<br />

- and a number of framed artworks and<br />

Chinese tapestries.<br />

For more details on the auction of<br />

'Historical Artwork and Memorabilia<br />

from The <strong>Co</strong>-Operative Group of<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mpanies', visit pinderassetsolutions.<br />

com/online-auctions.


GLOBAL UPDATES<br />

GLOBAL<br />

ICA postpones World <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative <strong>Co</strong>ngress<br />

The World <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative <strong>Co</strong>ngress has been<br />

postponed and will be held from 1-3 March<br />

2021 in Seoul, Republic of Korea.<br />

The International <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Alliance,<br />

which is organising the event, has made<br />

the decision in light of the <strong>Co</strong>vid-19<br />

pandemic and lockdown measures. It was<br />

originally scheduled for December <strong>2020</strong>.<br />

It says when the event is held next year,<br />

it will be "an <strong>op</strong>portunity to look back<br />

and validate the co-<strong>op</strong>erative movement's<br />

resilience, leadership and solidarity<br />

during times of crisis."<br />

This event, it adds, will serve as an<br />

important forum to:<br />

• Discuss why the co-<strong>op</strong>erative identity,<br />

including definition, principles and<br />

values, is needed now more than ever;<br />

• Show co-<strong>op</strong>erative resilience by sharing<br />

experiences and testimonies; and<br />

• Discuss how co-<strong>op</strong>eratives can<br />

significantly contribute to the global<br />

economic, social and environmental<br />

reconstruction.<br />

The <strong>Co</strong>ngress will keep to its original<br />

theme, 'Deepening our <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative<br />

Identity.'<br />

"Looking beyond the <strong>Co</strong>vid-19<br />

pandemic," said the ICA, "we look<br />

forward to deepening our understanding<br />

of how our co-<strong>op</strong>erative identity has<br />

enabled us to tackle this crisis and how we<br />

will overcome other global challenges like<br />

climate change, sustainable devel<strong>op</strong>ment,<br />

peace and equality. Together, we can<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>erate to create a better, fairer and<br />

more inclusive world for generations<br />

to come."<br />

The ICA added that World <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative<br />

<strong>Co</strong>ngresses are "historical moments" for<br />

the movement, and this event celebrates<br />

the ICA's 125th anniversary and the 25th<br />

anniversary of the Statement on the<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Identity. It is expecting about<br />

2,000 participants consisting of ICA<br />

members and co-<strong>op</strong>erators from around<br />

the world. "We will discuss an array of<br />

themes that are linked to the co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

identity and will be useful both for<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>eratives' positioning at the national<br />

and international level," it says.<br />

This comes at a time "when the<br />

recognition of our specificities is<br />

oee\lening_our<br />

(o<strong>op</strong>erat\\le<br />

,oent,t'J<br />

.A. The event has been postponed until 1-3 March (T<strong>op</strong> photo: Sunyu Kim)<br />

increasingly difficult" and organisers<br />

h<strong>op</strong>e the event will help co-<strong>op</strong>s learn how<br />

to better use the co-<strong>op</strong>erative identity to<br />

do business and increase their business<br />

sales in a context of global competition.<br />

To this end, a number of high-quality<br />

papers and studies will be prepared and<br />

presented, it adds.<br />

The <strong>Co</strong>ngress itself will be preceded<br />

by two preparatory events: the ICA<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Research <strong>Co</strong>nference (26-<br />

27 February 2021) and an International<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Law Forum (27-28 February<br />

2021), which will discuss themes related<br />

to the <strong>Co</strong>ngress. Several other side events<br />

will also be organised.<br />

More information is promised soon;<br />

the new dates "are subject to be further<br />

rescheduled should the pandemic make it<br />

necessary for force majeure".


T<br />

GLOBAL<br />

Woccu urges flexible regulation for credit unions during pandemic<br />

The World <strong>Co</strong>uncil of Credit Unions<br />

(Woccu) has published a <strong>Co</strong>vid-19<br />

Regulatory Guide looking at responses by<br />

regulators in different countries.<br />

Credit unions must be considered<br />

"essential" during the crisis, says Woccu,<br />

adding that the regulatory response to<br />

the pandemic is "critical to the survival of<br />

credit unions" and their ability to provide<br />

"necessary and often lifesaving services".<br />

Financial resilience for the sector<br />

requires flexibility from regulators during<br />

the crisis, Woccu adds. And accounting,<br />

capital standards, IT requirements and<br />

lockdown orders must be considered<br />

carefully to allow effective <strong>op</strong>eration.<br />

In March, international standard-setting<br />

bodies issued guidance to help financial<br />

institutions deal with <strong>Co</strong>vid-19. The Basel<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmittee on Banking Supervision<br />

delayed deadlines for the implementation<br />

of the Basel III framework, and gave<br />

supervisory authorities more flexibility to<br />

preserve financial stability.<br />

Meanwhile, the G20's Financial Stability<br />

Board has told authorities and financial<br />

institutions to use the flexibility within<br />

existing international standards to provide<br />

continued access to funding for businesses<br />

and households facing temporary<br />

difficulties from <strong>Co</strong>vid-19, and to ensure<br />

that capital and liquidity resources in the<br />

financial system are available.<br />

The International Financial Reporting<br />

Standards Foundation has also said the<br />

crisis should be taken into account when<br />

applying credit loss methodology.<br />

"We are pleased to see the international<br />

standard setting bodies utilising their<br />

tools to provide much needed flexibility<br />

and guidance so our credit unions can<br />

continue to serve the needs of their<br />

members," said Andrew Price, Woccu<br />

vice president of advocacy. "The guidance<br />

issued provides the basis for nationallevel<br />

regulators to likewise implement<br />

conforming accommodations."<br />

In terms of IFRSF's guidance, Woccu<br />

said: "While this guidance from the<br />

regulators is helpful to provide flexibility,<br />

numerous jurisdictions have reported<br />

difficulty in obtaining specific guidance on<br />

many practical issues such as how to treat<br />

moratoriums on payments, moratoriums<br />

on foreclosures, debt collection and<br />

moratoriums on evictions.<br />

"Often, not enough specificity or<br />

flexibility is afforded to a credit union<br />

on provisioning for these circumstances<br />

when the lack of payment is due to a<br />

government order. Regulators should<br />

provide clear guidance on these issues.<br />

Further, specificity on whether interest<br />

will continue to accrue, whether missed<br />

payments can be capitalised or need to be<br />

forgiven, should be addressed."<br />

IT infrastructure is another concern,<br />

with more and more customers going<br />

online. Woccu advises credit unions to<br />

ensure its systems can c<strong>op</strong>e with the<br />

increased traffic and to remain vigilant<br />

against cyber attacks.<br />

Woccu's guidance also looks at how<br />

credit unions can and have provided relief<br />

to members in need, such as by deferring<br />

payments, reducing interests, waiving<br />

fees and consolidating debt.<br />

And it advises credit unions to check<br />

their cash/liquidity situation and place<br />

limits on cash withdrawals. They can also<br />

get in touch with their corporate or central<br />

bank to see what relief is available,<br />

Other news from the world credit union<br />

sector includes the cancellation of World<br />

Moving, a conference due to take place on<br />

190-2 2 July in Los Angeles, California.<br />

Woccu and its US co-organiser and<br />

the Credit Union National Association<br />

(CUNA), took the decision following<br />

guidance from the Center for Disease<br />

<strong>Co</strong>ntrol and Prevention (CDC), the Los<br />

Angeles <strong>Co</strong>nvention Center and the Los<br />

Angeles Visitors Bureau. Registration fees,<br />

including tour and guest registration, will<br />

be fully refunded.<br />

.6. Woccu's guide says credit unions are "essential" during the pandemic (Photo: Annie Spratt)<br />

► Woccu's full guidance: s.co<strong>op</strong>/24hh0<br />

► US credit unions lobby regulator: plB


""'-F.:.i<br />

:-&i<br />

NEW ZEALAND<br />

Fonterra appoints new independent director to its board<br />

New Zealand dairy co-<strong>op</strong> Fonterra will<br />

welcome Holly Kramer as an independent<br />

director on 11 May <strong>2020</strong>.<br />

Ms Kramer, whose appointment will<br />

need to be ratified by farmers at the annual<br />

general meeting later in the year, will take<br />

over from Simon Israel, who retired from<br />

the Fonterra Board in November 2019.<br />

She brings years of experience in<br />

governance, multinational enterprises,<br />

and retail businesses. In addition to her<br />

role at Fonterra, she holds a number of<br />

other governance positions, including<br />

those of an independent non-executive<br />

director at Woolworths and a deputy chair<br />

and independent non-executive director<br />

at Australia Post.<br />

Other previous governance roles<br />

include the boards of Nine Entertainment<br />

<strong>Co</strong>rporation, AMP Limited, and Telstra<br />

Clear (NZ). She also held sales, marketing<br />

or senior leadership roles at the Ford<br />

.&. Holly Kramer will be joining the board of Fonterra as an independent director<br />

Motor <strong>Co</strong>mpany, Telstra <strong>Co</strong>rporation and<br />

Pacific Brands and was chief executive of<br />

major Australian retailer, Best & Less.<br />

Chair John Monaghan, who has recently<br />

confirmed he will retire as director at<br />

the end of his current three-year term<br />

this November, said the appointment<br />

would complement the board's existing<br />

expertise.<br />

"Holly's experience in customer-centred<br />

leadership, transformation, e-commerce,<br />

technology and multinational<br />

organisations will complement the<br />

existing collective skill set of our board,"<br />

he said.<br />

"She has a strong record of creating<br />

shareholder value across a broad range of<br />

industries and shares our commitment to<br />

the highest standards of governance.<br />

"Holly's experience, energy and<br />

international perspective will be assets for<br />

our co-<strong>op</strong>erative."<br />

In March the co-<strong>op</strong> reported a net profit<br />

after tax of NZ$501m (£247m), up from<br />

NZ$72m (£35m) .<br />

USA<br />

Dairy Farmers of America sets up fund to support food banks<br />

The Dairy Farmers of America co-<strong>op</strong> has<br />

launched a Farmers Feeding Families<br />

Fund to raise funding for community food<br />

banks across the country.<br />

It aims to obtain US $500,000<br />

(£400,000), of which $200,000 (£160,000)<br />

has already been secured through its DFA<br />

Cares Foundation. The co-<strong>op</strong> has already<br />

supported vulnerable communities<br />

during the <strong>Co</strong>vid-19 pandemic, with driveby<br />

milk giveaways at schools and milk<br />

donations to food banks.<br />

"We feel passionately about doing all<br />

we can to help," said Randy Mooney, a<br />

dairy farmer from Rogersville, Missouri,<br />

and chair of DFA's board of directors.<br />

"Food banks are always in need of dairy<br />

products, which are less commonly<br />

donated because of how perishable they<br />

are. Initiatives like this that allow us to<br />

get our products into the hands of pe<strong>op</strong>le<br />

who need them are essential right now.<br />

I'm proud to be a part of it."<br />

DFA will provide funding to food banks<br />

in 30 communities across the country.<br />

Farmer owners have also been asked to<br />

help identify other rural communities<br />

needing dairy products for distribution.<br />

"Hunger is a critical, ongoing need<br />

throughout America," said Jackie<br />

Klippenstein, senior vice president of<br />

government, industry and community<br />

relations. "Even in times of uncertainty<br />

and increasing challenges, our farm<br />

families and employees remain steadfast<br />

in their commitment to making an impact<br />

in our communities."<br />

A decline in foodservice demand<br />

because of the <strong>Co</strong>vid-19 outbreak has led<br />

to a milk surplus, and DFA is working<br />

with other industry leaders and milk<br />

processors to come up with initiatives on<br />

how to distribute it. The co-<strong>op</strong> has teamed<br />

up with Daisy Brand to donate 120,000lbs<br />

of cottage cheese over a six-week period<br />

to the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank,<br />

the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and<br />

other local food banks throughout Ohio.<br />

Another partnership with American<br />

Dairy Association North East and local<br />

Dean Foods plants in New York and<br />

Pennsylvania provided more than 36,000<br />

half-gallon jugs of milk to City Harvest<br />

in Brooklyn, NYC., Share Food Program<br />

in Philadelphia, and Rolling Harvest in<br />

Highstown, NJ, and more than 4,000<br />

gallon jugs to <strong>Co</strong>rinth Central School<br />

District in <strong>Co</strong>rinth, NY.<br />

► Donations to the Farmers Feeding<br />

Families Fund can be made at s.co<strong>op</strong>/24wbh<br />

or by sending check made payable to DFA<br />

Cares Foundation.


Meet ... Sarah Battarbee,<br />

Grindleford <strong>Co</strong>mmunity Sh<strong>op</strong><br />

Sarah Battarbee is sh<strong>op</strong> manager at Grindleford <strong>Co</strong>mmunity Sh<strong>op</strong>, in the<br />

Derbyshire Peak District. The store, which <strong>op</strong>ened after the old village<br />

store closed, sells a wide range of groceries, artisan bread, fresh fruit and<br />

veg. and local ice cream. It is part of the UK's growing family of community<br />

businesses - which are now offering essential services to remote parts of<br />

the country under <strong>Co</strong>vid-19 lockdown.<br />

HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED WITH THE STORE?<br />

The long-standing village sh<strong>op</strong> shut down in<br />

about 2010 and a few villagers set up a p<strong>op</strong>-up<br />

sh<strong>op</strong> on Saturday mornings. In 2014 we were<br />

generously given access to the vestry by the<br />

church, and <strong>op</strong>ened as a permanent fixture. I got<br />

involved because I had taken early retirement and<br />

was looking for something to get my teeth into.<br />

We found the Plunkett Foundation, who were<br />

immeasurably helpful in giving us the expertise<br />

we, as amateur volunteers, lacked.<br />

HOW HAS THE STORE RESPONDED TO COVID-19?<br />

We set up the Grindleford Support Network<br />

almost straight away. The kernel is a chain of<br />

street wardens, one per street, who know their<br />

neighbours well and can identify anyone not<br />

on the internet or who might need extra help.<br />

That idea came from our friend Frank who had<br />

started to do that independently in his part of the<br />

village, so we pinched his idea and rolled it out.<br />

All volunteers were invited to join a WhatsApp<br />

group. Sh<strong>op</strong> orders are phoned in to a dedicated<br />

young mobile phone <strong>op</strong>erator and the volunteer<br />

in the sh<strong>op</strong> bags them up. The WhatsApp group<br />

is contacted and someone will come down, pick<br />

up the order and deliver it to the person's home.<br />

Payment is over the phone. We sorted something<br />

similar for prescriptions, which segued into its<br />

current format as it responded to the two surgeries<br />

who serve us. We also have a group of careline<br />

callers available for anyone who needs a chat and<br />

we are setting up a foodbank.<br />

DOES THE COMMUNITY STORE MODEL OFFER<br />

ADVANTAGES IN RESPONDING TO SUCH CRISES?<br />

The support network started with the sh<strong>op</strong><br />

wondering how to help pe<strong>op</strong>le who were selfisolating,<br />

so yes. Although the network is now<br />

self-running, in the early days it was devised and<br />

implemented through the sh<strong>op</strong>.<br />

Grindleford is in a little group of parish councils<br />

in the H<strong>op</strong>e Valley and we have compared notes<br />

about our support systems. It's definitely been<br />

easier for us, having a sh<strong>op</strong> running and willing<br />

to be at the centre of the support effort. There are<br />

other spin-offs: we know everybody so it was easy<br />

to recruit pe<strong>op</strong>le. And the underlying sense of<br />

belonging to something, and having somewhere to<br />

rally round, was essential.<br />

WHAT COMMUNITY RESPONSE HAVE YOU HAD?<br />

Everyone clicked into place and did their bit; some<br />

sorting out card payments over the phone, some<br />

working out the delivery system, some manning<br />

phones, lots of pe<strong>op</strong>le stepping up to deliver,<br />

street wardens looking out for individuals, others<br />

looking after the communications network. I<br />

couldn't get down the street in March without<br />

someone else offering to help. The parish council<br />

stumped up some funding. It shows what can be<br />

done when folk just get on with it and do it. And<br />

how warm-hearted pe<strong>op</strong>le are.


IP YOUR VIEWS<br />

CO-OPERATIVES<br />

RISING TO 20/20 CHALLENGE?<br />

It's ironic that in the year <strong>2020</strong> we lack<br />

20/20 vision and acuity in knowing where<br />

society is heading or will find itself after the<br />

<strong>Co</strong>vid-19 outbreak - the life-threatening<br />

pandemic now changing patterns in our<br />

everyday lives.<br />

Besides the familiar <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Group,<br />

thousands of registered co-<strong>op</strong>eratives<br />

are <strong>op</strong>erating across the UK. In the postvirus<br />

era might we see an increasing need<br />

for co-<strong>op</strong>eratives with pe<strong>op</strong>le getting<br />

together for employment and improving<br />

their lives by doing for themselves what<br />

isn't being done for them by the state or<br />

private enterprise?<br />

The pyramid building of recent memory<br />

by ambitious executives having apparent<br />

free rein from mass membership led<br />

to the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Group and Bank<br />

embarrassments, which new Group<br />

management and chief executive Steve<br />

Murrells are now addressing with more<br />

feel for co-<strong>op</strong> values.<br />

Capitalism v socialism isn't what it was,<br />

with private equity on the scene borrowing<br />

to grow rich and, where prudent, selling<br />

for timely profits. Debt piles are building<br />

up fast in state and private sectors with<br />

corporations even paying dividends on the<br />

back of debt no audit firm should approve,<br />

never mind recipient shareholders.<br />

Should the drawing board be brought<br />

out on <strong>op</strong>timum sizes for co-<strong>op</strong>s<br />

depending on their purpose? <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

difference involves member participation<br />

with ultimate responsibility if not control in<br />

the delivery of product or services. Only a<br />

few are needed to form a co-<strong>op</strong>erative but<br />

there is no ceiling. A stage surely comes<br />

where a co-<strong>op</strong> outgrows the involvement<br />

of individuals and, in mega co-<strong>op</strong>s, simply<br />

relies on executives. <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives are<br />

individuals interacting with a purpose and<br />

require informed worldly wise members<br />

and competent management if aims are to<br />

be realised, if not expectations exceeded.<br />

Twenty-eight Rochdale Pioneers took<br />

risks with no protection schemes or likely<br />

taxpayer bailout. Justifying existence<br />

on past achievement is no guarantee of<br />

a future.<br />

Jim Craigen<br />

Via email<br />

TED GRAHAM<br />

The number of glowing tributes to Ted<br />

Graham is eloquent testimony to which<br />

few could aspire. I h<strong>op</strong>e he knew, at least<br />

a little, just how well he was regarded by<br />

so many.<br />

David Stanbury<br />

Plymouth<br />

WORKER SOLIDARITY<br />

Greetings from the ILO's <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>eratives<br />

Unit where we are commemorating our<br />

centenary. We reach out to extend our best<br />

wishes to our co-<strong>op</strong>erative and social and<br />

solidarity economy (SSE) partners in these<br />

times of uncertainty.<br />

As a recent brief from ILO's Enterprises<br />

Department shows, the world of work<br />

is profoundly affected by the global<br />

pandemic and its social and economic<br />

repercussions. Enterprises around the<br />

world had to suspend or scale down<br />

<strong>op</strong>erations, resulting in production<br />

disruptions, and loss of demand for<br />

many goods and services with enormous<br />

impacts for workers and employment.<br />

Millions of workers around the world<br />

are without a job and unable to sustain<br />

themselves and their families.<br />

Others are endangering their own health<br />

while providing health care and ensuring<br />

continued provision of goods and services.<br />

Some are adapting to working from home<br />

and balancing multiple responsibilities.<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmitment to social justice, democracy,<br />

solidarity, social responsibility, and caring<br />

for others are more needed than ever.<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative and wider SSE organisations<br />

around the world are demonstrating the<br />

relevance of their model in responding to<br />

the COVID-19 pandemic.<br />

We have highlighted some of these<br />

emerging practices on our website.<br />

We welcome hearing from you on the<br />

challenges you are facing and the<br />

measures you are taking in the face<br />

of COVID-19 at co<strong>op</strong>@ilo.org. During<br />

these challenging times, we would<br />

like to reaffirm our solidarity with the<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>erative and wider SSE movements.<br />

We are convinced that co-<strong>op</strong>eratives<br />

and other SSE organisations will be<br />

instrumental beyond the emergency<br />

phase and well into the medium to longterm<br />

recovery in the affected countries,<br />

as we have seen in many other crises<br />

contexts across history.<br />

Their values and principles can guide<br />

the transition toward not only a new<br />

normal, but a better normal.<br />

Sime[ Esim and all at the<br />

ILO <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>eratives Unit<br />

Have your say<br />

Add your comments to our stories on<br />

line at thenews.co<strong>op</strong>, get in touch<br />

via social media, or send us a letter.<br />

If sending a letter, please include<br />

your address and contact number.<br />

Letters may be edited and no longer<br />

than 350 words.<br />

f!2 <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative <strong>News</strong>, Holyoake<br />

House, Hanover Street,<br />

<br />

Manchester M60 OAS<br />

letters@thenews.co<strong>op</strong><br />

'f# @co<strong>op</strong>news<br />

f <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative <strong>News</strong>


If we are serious about enhancing communities<br />

and supporting "the high street" and town centres,<br />

as so many claim, then this is the <strong>op</strong>portunity<br />

to rebalance to focus on what we value and<br />

thus what we should be active in encouraging<br />

and discouraging. We need to come out of this<br />

changed, not simply fall back into old routines.<br />

If we accept that, then what measures could we<br />

take to strengthen communities and retailing?<br />

SOME INITIAL THOUGHTS MIGHT INCLUDE:<br />

+ A rebalancing of taxation between digital<br />

and physical modes of retail supply. Online<br />

has expanded during this crisis and many of<br />

those who have used online sh<strong>op</strong>ping, may<br />

well continue to do so. This is an acceleration<br />

of the changing nature of the economy and<br />

we need to rebalance taxation to accept and<br />

reflect what has now changed in business<br />

<strong>op</strong>erations. If we want physical stores we have<br />

to st<strong>op</strong> taxing them out of business, while<br />

allowing others a free pass at using, but not<br />

paying for common goods. International tax<br />

avoidance should be st<strong>op</strong>ped; behaving in that<br />

way should abrogate the right to <strong>op</strong>erate in<br />

this country.<br />

+ Immediate substantial increases in income for<br />

key workers and those currently marginalised<br />

in our economy. We have demonstrated which<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le and jobs have real value to the <strong>op</strong>erations<br />

of our economy and society (including obviously<br />

health and care workers, but also local sh<strong>op</strong><br />

workers). They require a substantial increase<br />

in living wages, linked with a more progressive<br />

tax system (on individuals and businesses), to<br />

take pe<strong>op</strong>le out of the current poverty cycle and<br />

to provide them the wherewithal to prosper, not<br />

simply exist.<br />

+ Disincentivise retail components damaging<br />

the concept of place and not paying their true<br />

social and economic costs, such as out-of-town,<br />

car-focused stores. Activities that damage place<br />

need to be challenged and refocused. Some<br />

of this can be done by fair taxation (including<br />

abolition of rates for high street retailers). But<br />

if businesses are damaging communities in<br />

the broadest sense should they have a right to<br />

continue to <strong>op</strong>erate unhindered?<br />

+ Change the VAT system so as to encourage the<br />

reuse of historical and existing buildings rather<br />

than as currently happens rewarding new-build<br />

on often greenfield sites.<br />

+ Substantial economic protection and support<br />

for local, independent producers and retailers<br />

so as to encourage their sustainability and<br />

growth and reduce the burden they face. If<br />

we value the local and entrepreneurial, then<br />

we need to show our support for them. We<br />

are saying that convenience stores, local<br />

independents and co-<strong>op</strong>eratives have done<br />

a fabulous local, community job during the<br />

pandemic; then let's show it afterwards by<br />

making the playing field rather more level.<br />

Such stores are the glue of the social networks<br />

we claim to value (as they have shown over the<br />

last few weeks).<br />

+ Requirements on retailers of all sizes and<br />

scale to demonstrate their local credentials<br />

in terms of procurement and product and<br />

service supply. If we are willing to support<br />

local businesses through our taxation and<br />

licensing system, then we need mechanisms<br />

and measures to demonstrate that localness<br />

in products, services, community payback and<br />

other measures of local community good.<br />

+ Financial and managerial support should<br />

also be provided for local markets on a<br />

regular basis, with 'local' (and 'farmers' and<br />

"fishers" for food) being defined terms and a<br />

responsibility on local authorities to provide<br />

space and <strong>op</strong>portunity for such markets on<br />

a regular basis.<br />

The focus of these measures is to actively<br />

support the local, independent and community<br />

focused <strong>op</strong>erations and disincentivise<br />

activities that damage community and place.<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives have a local focus and are engaged<br />

in community support and wellbeing. They are<br />

less extractive than some other retailers and<br />

should be a component of this new agenda.<br />

Asking co-<strong>op</strong>eratives and independents to <strong>op</strong>erate<br />

in an unfair, unsustainable system cannot be our<br />

future; "back to normal" is not the answer to the<br />

challenges communities face. We need to support<br />

retailers who really get what community and<br />

resilience means, and have shown the way over<br />

recent months.<br />

If we want to have flourishing communities<br />

and towns then we need to support them, not by<br />

handouts to repair and rebuild, or exhortations<br />

to understand and manage (as important as these<br />

are), but by demonstrating that we are serious<br />

about st<strong>op</strong>ping damaging activities and refocusing<br />

on building sustainable, resilient communities<br />

and places, rather than extracting value for<br />

remote, often international, shareholders.<br />

The world has changed. Ending lockdown<br />

and returning to the old ways should not be<br />

an acceptable way forward. We have seen that<br />

alternative local and community focused futures<br />

and ways of doing things are possible. We must<br />

not slip back, but instead take the bold national<br />

policy steps that are required, and thus better<br />

support those that are doing the right things.<br />

This is an edited<br />

version of Prof<br />

Sparks' article<br />

'WHAT SHOULD<br />

WE VALUE ABOUT<br />

RETAILING AND<br />

TOWNS AND WHAT<br />

SHOULD WE DO<br />

ABOUT THEM?'<br />

The original can<br />

be read online at<br />

s.co<strong>op</strong>/250wj


DIARY<br />

The <strong>Co</strong>vid-19 crisis has<br />

led to the postponement<br />

of many co-<strong>op</strong> events -<br />

including some of those<br />

listed below.<br />

If you would like to add any<br />

postponements - or let us<br />

know of any virtual events<br />

taking place instead,<br />

please email us at:<br />

events@thenews.co<strong>op</strong><br />

Learning together: A talk with<br />

Machynlleth Housing <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

(29 May)<br />

Machynlleth Housing <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative will<br />

share what they've learnt from setting up<br />

and living in a housing co-<strong>op</strong>. This on line<br />

event is organised by The Wales <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong><br />

Centre.<br />

c-:> s.co<strong>op</strong>/250p6<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eration Live: Wales <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Party<br />

- Policy consultation (1 <strong>June</strong>)<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Party members in Wales are<br />

invited to dial in to a Zoom call to take<br />

part in the UK policy consultation on<br />

corporate governance. Participants<br />

will also hear from <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Party<br />

policy officer, Anna Birley.<br />

c-:> s.co<strong>op</strong>/250pr<br />

• <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> <strong>Co</strong>nnections Online -<br />

Birmingham (2 <strong>June</strong>) & Oxford (16 <strong>June</strong>)<br />

The <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> <strong>Co</strong>nnections Birmingham<br />

event will take place on line from 3.30PM<br />

on 2 <strong>June</strong>. It will take place as an on line<br />

meeting via Zoom and is free to join.<br />

c-:> s.co<strong>op</strong>/250q4<br />

A <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> <strong>Co</strong>nnections Oxford event will<br />

also be held online on 16 <strong>June</strong>. The event<br />

will also be free to attend.<br />

c-:> s.co<strong>op</strong>/250qc<br />

The <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> <strong>Co</strong>nnections on line meetings<br />

are an <strong>op</strong>portunity for pe<strong>op</strong>le, co-<strong>op</strong>s and<br />

societies to connect locally, as well as to<br />

find out what support is available in their<br />

area - and nationally.<br />

• UK Society for <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Studies<br />

virtual lecture (29 <strong>June</strong>)<br />

This year's <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives Fortnight<br />

lecture hosted by the UK Society for<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Studies will feature Prof<br />

Sonja Novkovic. The virtual lecture will<br />

focus on governance in co-<strong>op</strong>eratives<br />

from a humanistic economics<br />

perspective.<br />

c-:> s.co<strong>op</strong>/250r3<br />

Open <strong>2020</strong> (11-12 <strong>June</strong>)<br />

The Open <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> is running a series<br />

of webinars in the run-up to its annual<br />

conference, which will be a virtual event<br />

this year. The webinars will look at<br />

existing networks, projects and protocols<br />

that contain elements of effective<br />

commons building initiatives. They will be<br />

followed by an 'on line world cafe' on 11-12<br />

<strong>June</strong>. The event will split participants in<br />

multiple teams working in small groups<br />

via video and Docs to achieve some<br />

consensus on how to collaborate on an<br />

ongoing basis. The main focus will be<br />

to determine how to form, share ideas,<br />

define shared purposes and collaborate<br />

on commons building projects, as part<br />

of a global network.<br />

Woodcraft Folk launches<br />

#DreamBigAtHome<br />

Education co-<strong>op</strong> Woodcraft Folk has set up<br />

a new website called Dream Big at Home,<br />

which features hundreds of activities and<br />

games to do at home, weekly challenges<br />

to try and a regular programme of live<br />

worksh<strong>op</strong>s and events online.<br />

C-:> dreambigathome.uk


The <strong>2020</strong> <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Press<br />

Annual General Meeting<br />

Due to the ongoing <strong>Co</strong>vid-19 pandemic, co-<strong>op</strong>erative press will be convening a digital AGM<br />

1-3pm, 19 <strong>June</strong><br />

In accordance with Rule 20 of the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Press Rules, any member may submit a<br />

pr<strong>op</strong>osal to the Annual Meeting of members in writing to the Secretary.<br />

The timetable is as follows [please note the updated dates]:<br />

Friday 22 May <strong>2020</strong><br />

Closing Date for Receipt of Pr<strong>op</strong>osals and Director Nominations<br />

Tuesday 26 May <strong>2020</strong><br />

Agenda, Pr<strong>op</strong>osals and Election Ballots sent out to members<br />

Wednesday 17 <strong>June</strong> <strong>2020</strong><br />

Closing date for receipt of Ballots and amendments to Pr<strong>op</strong>osals.<br />

Annual Accounts sent out to members and made available on line.<br />

With regard to amendments to any pr<strong>op</strong>osals (as stated in Rule 21), any member may send to<br />

the directors any amendment to any pr<strong>op</strong>osal appearing on the agenda or any amendment<br />

to any matter forming part of the business of the meeting, and provided such amendment be<br />

received by the secretary prior to the Annual Meeting, it shall be circulated to members as<br />

soon as is practicable as an additional business paper for consideration at the meeting.<br />

Please note that by submitting a pr<strong>op</strong>osal, members are committing themselves to attend the<br />

Annual Meeting if their pr<strong>op</strong>osal is accepted onto the Agenda.<br />

For further updates on the AGM and Director Election, please visit<br />

www.thenews.co<strong>op</strong>/ AG M<strong>2020</strong><br />

The Secretary<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Press Ltd, Holyoake House,<br />

Hanover Street, Manchester, M60 OAS<br />

secretary@thenews.co<strong>op</strong>

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