Co-op News - March 2021

The March edition of Co-op News: connecting, challenging and championing the global co-operative movement. This issue looks at ways co-ops can help to drive greater equality, with initiatives on racial equity from organisations including the UK's Co-op Group and Inclusiv Credit Unions in the USA. Meanwhile work is being done by Europe's energy co-ops to increase female participation at all levels. Plus the usual updates from the movement around the world.

The March edition of Co-op News: connecting, challenging and championing the global co-operative movement. This issue looks at ways co-ops can help to drive greater equality, with initiatives on racial equity from organisations including the UK's Co-op Group and Inclusiv Credit Unions in the USA. Meanwhile work is being done by Europe's energy co-ops to increase female participation at all levels. Plus the usual updates from the movement around the world.


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The world's co-<strong>op</strong>s face up to<br />

the challenges of inequality<br />




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

DESIGN<br />

Keir Mucklestone-Barnett<br />


Barbara Rainford (chair); Elaine Dean<br />

(vice-chair); Harry Cairney; Sofygil<br />

Crew; Tim Hartley; Phil Hartwell;<br />

Gillian Lonergan; Beverley Perkins;<br />

Shaz Rahman; Lesley Reznicek<br />

Secretary: Richard Bickle<br />

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

The world has been rocked by two global crises in rapid succession - it was still<br />

coming to terms with the financial crash of 2008 when <strong>Co</strong>vid-19 hit. These events<br />

have worsened inequalities which were already systemic - between regions,<br />

between races, between genders, between age groups. It's not surprising that we're<br />

also seeing global movements to counter those inequalities - from the Me Too<br />

campaign to Black Lives Matter and the youth-led Extinction Rebellion.<br />

Equality is intrinsic to the co-<strong>op</strong> values and principles: so how is the movement<br />

responding to the changes sweeping the world? This month we look at just some<br />

of the steps being taken. In Britain, targets have been set by <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives UK and<br />

the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group to improve diversity at all levels (p28-29), and the movement<br />

has stepped up its efforts to bring food justice to those going hungry during the<br />

pandemic (p32-33).<br />

We also look work at work being done by a number of co-<strong>op</strong> and credit union<br />

organisations in the USA to drive inclusion and economic empowerment (p30-31),<br />

and how the Fairtrade movement is planning to deal with new challenges to its<br />

efforts to equalise trading arrangements for producers in the global south<br />

(p34-35).<br />

On gender, efforts are being made to increase participation in energy co-<strong>op</strong>s,<br />

which will h<strong>op</strong>efully give new impetus to the transition to renewables (p36-37).<br />

We also catch up on some of the converstions being made to improve the position<br />

of women in the global co-<strong>op</strong> movement (p 38-39).<br />

For the future of the co-<strong>op</strong> movement it's vital to bring in a new generation of co<strong>op</strong>erators;<br />

this month we hear from three young voices: Sylandi Brown, who is<br />

active in the US electric co-<strong>op</strong> movement and has been chosen as one of its 25<br />

young voices by the International <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Alliance (p42-43); and newly<br />

elected Central England <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative directors Brad Tuckfield and Jody Meakin<br />

(p40-41).<br />

We also speak with Brian Branch as he prepares for a well-earned retirement from<br />

the helm of the World <strong>Co</strong>uncil of Credit Unions - we wish him all the best for his<br />

future and thank him for his sterling work (p44-45).<br />

There's a report from the SAOS conference where Scottish farm co-<strong>op</strong>s look to<br />

the <strong>op</strong>portunities brought by tech in a world changed by Brexit, <strong>Co</strong>vid-19 and the<br />

climate crisis (p 26-27), while historian Natalie Bradbury looks at pioneering co<strong>op</strong><br />

journalist Annie Bamford Tomlinson, as part of our 150th anniversary series.<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 />

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MARCH <strong>2021</strong> I 3



Report from the SAOS conference on<br />

Scotland's agri-co-<strong>op</strong>s (p26-27); We speak to<br />

the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Party's Preet Kaur Gill MP about the<br />

future of Fairtrade (p34-35); UK retail co-<strong>op</strong>s<br />

are stepping up their work on food justice<br />

(p32-33); Brian Branch speaks to <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> <strong>News</strong><br />

as he prepares to retire as head ofWoccu<br />

(p44-45); Annie Bamford Tomlinson, a pioneer<br />

of women's co-<strong>op</strong> journalism (p48-49)<br />

22 MEET ... ANG HIN KEE<br />

Chief executive of Singapore National<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Federation<br />

38-39 WOMEN'S VOICES<br />

<strong>Co</strong>nversations with women in the global<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>erative movement<br />


Scotland's agri-food co-<strong>op</strong>s look to a<br />

future after <strong>Co</strong>vid-19 and Brexit<br />

28-45 EQUALITY<br />


Steve Murrells from the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group and<br />

Rose Marley from<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives UK give progress updates<br />


Initiatives by lnclusiv credit unions, the<br />

Federation of Southern <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives<br />

and NCBA CLUSA<br />

32-33 FOOD JUSTICE<br />

<strong>Co</strong>vid-19 has worsened food inequality.<br />

Here's how the UK's retail co-<strong>op</strong>s and<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Party are responding.<br />

40-41 YOUTH ON BOARD<br />

We hear from two young directors who<br />

have been elected to the board of<br />

Central England <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong><br />


One of the 15 young voices of<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>eration chosen by the ICA, Sylandi<br />

works with US electric co-<strong>op</strong>s<br />


We speak to the president and CEO of<br />

the World <strong>Co</strong>uncil of Credit Unions as<br />

he prepares for retirement<br />


Another look back as <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> <strong>News</strong> turns<br />

150. This month, Natalie Bradford<br />

discusses a pioneering journalist and<br />

early voice for women in co-<strong>op</strong>eration<br />

COVER:<br />

Sylandi Brown, one of the International<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Alliance's 25 young voices<br />

Credit: Jordan Grimes Photography<br />

Read more: p42-43<br />

34-35 FAIRTRADE<br />

The pandemic has added to pressures<br />

facing producer co-<strong>op</strong>s. How is the<br />

Fairtrade movement responding?<br />


How can we increase women's<br />

participation in energy co-<strong>op</strong>s?<br />


5-13<br />

14-23<br />

24<br />

25<br />

46<br />

50<br />

UK updates<br />

Global updates<br />

Letters<br />

Obituaries<br />

Reviews<br />

Digital events<br />

4 I MARCH <strong>2021</strong>

NEWS<br />


<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Party sets out stall with response to<br />

Starmer speech and London wish list<br />

The <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Party has welcomed last<br />

month's speech from Keir Starmer setting<br />

out his vision for the UK.<br />

In his first major speech on the<br />

economy as leader of the <strong>op</strong>position, Sir<br />

Keir - leader of the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Party's sister<br />

organisation Labour - attacked the<br />

government's record and attempted to<br />

rally his party.<br />

He called for a new savings scheme to<br />

let pe<strong>op</strong>le to "have a stake in our national<br />

recovery" through bonds offering a<br />

competitive interest rate, with the money<br />

invested in national reconstruction.<br />

Other pledges saw an offer of "startup<br />

loans for 100,000 new small firms,<br />

especially in areas outside the south-east,<br />

and a call for a weekly £20 increase to<br />

universal credit benefits to run beyond the<br />

scheduled end date of 31 <strong>March</strong>.<br />

In a comment piece for Labour List, <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong><br />

Party chair Jim McMahon, Labour/<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong><br />

MP for Oldham West, wrote: "The need<br />

to rebuild an empowering state so it can<br />

be fit for the challenge ahead is critical.<br />

Without a foundation of decent public<br />

services we cannot h<strong>op</strong>e to put power,<br />

wealth and <strong>op</strong>portunity in the hands of<br />

working pe<strong>op</strong>le. Only with an active state<br />

- one that takes determined action - will<br />

we rebuild our fragile nation."<br />

Mr McMahon, who is transport<br />

spokesman on Sir Keir's shadow cabinet<br />

team, said co-<strong>op</strong>s would be crucial to this<br />

process. "If you want to build an inclusive<br />

economy- rooted in community, returning<br />

.a. Labour leader Keir Starmer<br />

value and acting in the long-term interests<br />

of our nation - co-<strong>op</strong>s provide the answer.<br />

"With Keir's long-standing support<br />

of the movement, and with the shadow<br />

chancellor [Anneliese Dodds] as one<br />

of seven Labour and <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative MPs<br />

serving on the shadow cabinet, you would<br />

expect policies being devel<strong>op</strong>ed to be<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>erative proof, and that is exactly<br />

what has been delivered."<br />

Mr McMahon said the recovery bond<br />

and small business fund would, among<br />

other things, create "a new generation of<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>eratives" and "give working pe<strong>op</strong>le a<br />

stake in the future and a dividend on the<br />

contribution they make".<br />

He added: "Labour's pr<strong>op</strong>osals would<br />

help spread small businesses, which<br />

are rooted in their local communities<br />

by design. It would encourage more<br />

businesses to consider registering<br />

as social enterprises, co-<strong>op</strong>eratives,<br />

employee-owned businesses, as well<br />

as establishing a preference for joint<br />

ventures, as evidence suggests that these<br />

are more successful and durable."<br />

The recovery fund will also bring<br />

investment to communities, said Mr<br />

McMahon. "As we think ahead to the<br />

new economy a true partnership between<br />

government, enterprise and pe<strong>op</strong>le will<br />

tackle the climate crisis and support<br />

the creation of new skilled jobs. This is<br />

a moment to start a new chapter for our<br />

country, one of h<strong>op</strong>e and a collective<br />

endeavour. <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eration will be at the<br />

forefront of our renewal."<br />

Meanwhile, the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Party's London<br />

branch: has revealed its key policy<br />

pr<strong>op</strong>osals ahead of the Mayoral and<br />

Greater London Authority (GLA) elections<br />

in May <strong>2021</strong> and local authority elections<br />

in 2022.<br />

The Party's manifesto, Building <strong>Co</strong>mmon<br />

Ground, calls on the London mayor to<br />

implement several co-<strong>op</strong>erative policies.<br />

These include a <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative <strong>Co</strong>mmission,<br />

modelled on those in Wales and Greater<br />

Manchester, to identify barriers to the<br />

growth of the sector. The Party also wants<br />

a <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Devel<strong>op</strong>ment Agency for<br />

the city, to foster the devel<strong>op</strong>ment of small<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s, credit unions, renters' unions and<br />

supporters' trusts.<br />

It also calls for a co-<strong>op</strong>erative approach<br />

to public transport via a revitalised<br />

London Transport User Group, with<br />

all season ticket holders automatically<br />

made members. The group would have<br />

the right to elect a representative to<br />

the board of Transport for London.<br />

Other key asks are involving individuals<br />

and community groups in local strategic<br />

planning, and a citizen's assembly to sit<br />

in parallel with the upcoming UN climate<br />

summit in Glasgow.<br />

The Party would also like 16- and<br />

17-year-olds to have the right to vote<br />

in London elections, (as they do in<br />

equivalent elections in Scotland and<br />

Wales), alongside an expansion in<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>erative education.<br />

Devel<strong>op</strong>ed by Party members in<br />

London, the manifesto incorporates their<br />

ideas and experiences, as well as those<br />

of councillors and candidates working<br />

within local government, co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

housing, healthcare, co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

education and credit unions in the city.<br />

The Party is running 17 joint Labour<br />

& <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative London Assembly<br />

candidates in May.<br />

Other activity from the Party has seen<br />

Luke Pollard, shadow environment<br />

secretary and Labour / <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> MP for<br />

Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, call on<br />

the government to reverse its decision to<br />

lift the ban on bee-killing pesticides.<br />

He has written a letter to the Prime<br />

Minister and is asking for pe<strong>op</strong>le to cosign<br />

the letter in support of his request.<br />

You can read and co-sign the letter on<br />

the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Party website.<br />

MARCH <strong>2021</strong> I 5


MP writes to LV= chief executive for answers on its demutualisation<br />

The chair of the All-Party Parliamentary<br />

Group for Mutuals, Gareth Thomas, has<br />

written to the CEO of LV=, Mark Hartigan,<br />

for answers about the demutualisation of<br />

its life and pensions business.<br />

Mr Thomas, Labour/<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> MP for Harrow<br />

West, invited Mr Hartigan to give evidence<br />

to an inquiry by the group into the matter.<br />

He has also invited Matt P<strong>op</strong>oli, who is<br />

leading the bid by US private investor Bain<br />

Capital's £530m bid to the 178-year-old<br />

mutual, to answer questions.<br />

Mr Thomas said the bid is "particularly<br />

controversial as other deals, such as<br />

a £540m bid from fellow mutual the<br />

Royal London Group, which would have<br />

permitted the company to retain its<br />

mutual status, have been rebuffed".<br />

Mr Thomas said: "We look forward to<br />

hearing Mr Hartigan's evidence for the<br />

demutualisation of Liverpool Victoria. We<br />

are keen to understand why he thinks such<br />

a move is in the interests of LV's current<br />

owners; their members and similarly why<br />

he thinks it might be good for consumers<br />

and for competition."<br />

LV=, one of Britain's biggest financial<br />

mutuals, was founded in 1843 and traded<br />

for most of its life as Liverpool Victoria.<br />

The sale in December 2020 of the life and<br />

pensions business to Bain Capital follows<br />

the sale of LV= General Insurance to<br />

Allianz in 2019.<br />

Mr Thomas said: "Members of the<br />

parliamentary group are concerned at<br />

what impact the sale will have on LV=<br />

members, the insurance industry and<br />

competition and choice in financial<br />

services. We are also interested in whether<br />

the LV= decision reflects weaknesses in<br />

the government and regulators' views and<br />

support of mutuals."<br />

A spokesperson for LV = said: "As part of<br />

this process, we have already proactively<br />

offered the chair of the APPG for Mutuals<br />

a detailed discussion on the transaction<br />

with Bain Capital. We welcome the<br />

<strong>op</strong>portunity to more formally explain<br />

why Bain Capital was singular in offering<br />

not only an excellent financial outcome<br />

for members but also an unrivalled and<br />

long-term commitment to LV='s future<br />

prospects, business and pe<strong>op</strong>le."<br />

When it announced the sale in<br />

December 2020, LV= said the move would<br />

deliver "an excellent financial outcome<br />

for members with greater security and<br />

enhanced distributions for with-profits<br />

members" and emerged from a "boardled,<br />

comprehensive and rigorous strategic<br />

review". It said the sale "maintains<br />

competition and choice for customers."<br />

But Mr Thomas said: "Bain are a wellknown<br />

American private equity giant.<br />

They have been accused in the past of<br />

buying up businesses, then funding the<br />

purchase through corporate debt loaded<br />

onto the books of the company they're<br />

buying, cutting jobs and other costs only<br />

to sell up at a heavy profit.<br />

"Even more worrying, the sale seems to<br />

be going forward without pr<strong>op</strong>er scrutiny.<br />

The LV= board is attempting to do away<br />

with the democratic process which would<br />

usually require a majority of members to<br />

approve any move to demutualise, and<br />

have banned the media from attending<br />

online member meetings about the<br />

sale. Policyholders cannot even find out<br />

how much they will receive if the sale<br />

goes through. We're looking forward to<br />

understanding the plans prepared by<br />

the board of LV= through the evidence<br />

Mark Hartigan offers us, but we're also<br />

.&. Gareth Thomas MP<br />

keen to hear direct from Bain themselves<br />

to pr<strong>op</strong>erly understand their plans for the<br />

future of LV=."<br />

► The APPG says it will also seek evidence<br />

from mutual sector experts and financial<br />

analysts. It is keen to hear from other<br />

individuals and organisations and with<br />

an interest in this Inquiry. The deadline<br />

for the submission of written evidence is<br />

Friday 5 <strong>March</strong> and the APPG plans to<br />

hold a number of oral evidence sessions<br />

in the first quarter of <strong>2021</strong>, before<br />

publishing its inquiry report. Evidence<br />

can be submitted to the APPG Secretariat<br />

at appg@mutuo.co<strong>op</strong><br />


<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Bank reports<br />

improved loss of £100m<br />

The <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Bank has recorded a pretax<br />

loss of £103.?m (down from £152.lm in<br />

2019) for the year to 31 December 2020.<br />

The Bank said it had enjoyed a resilient<br />

financial performance in challenging<br />

environment, with its performance targets<br />

met or exceeded in line with its plan.<br />

Updated guidance expects it to return to<br />

profitability from <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

CEO Nick Slape said: "Our priority<br />

has been to provide customers with<br />

the support and reassurance they have<br />

needed during this period and to navigate<br />

a challenging retail banking market and<br />

uncertain economic conditions.<br />

"We end the year having delivered a<br />

resilient financial performance that is<br />

in line with our plan at this stage in our<br />

transformation, and having completed<br />

a number of key milestones including<br />

separation of IT systems from the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong><br />

Group, improved digital journeys for our<br />

customers, and the issuance of £200m of<br />

MREL-qualifying debt.<br />

The Bank is no longer owned by<br />

the the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group following the<br />

financial crisis of 2012. But it has kept<br />

the name in line with its ethical policy<br />

and support for the movement via<br />

the Hive, a co-<strong>op</strong> support body delivered<br />

by <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives UK.<br />

MARCH <strong>2021</strong> I 7


New rules, new funding<br />

as government looks at<br />

the housing sector<br />

Members of the <strong>Co</strong>nfederation of<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Housing (CCH) are being<br />

invited to an online meeting with the<br />

Regulator of Social Housing to discuss a<br />

new framework for tenants.<br />

This follows the publication of the<br />

Charter for Social Housing Residents, a<br />

white paper setting out the government's<br />

plans following a consultation green paper<br />

published after the Grenfell fire tragedy.<br />

The meeting will take place online on<br />

18 <strong>March</strong> at 2pm with Jonathan Walters,<br />

deputy chief executive of the Regulator of<br />

Social Housing. It will give CCH members<br />

the chance discuss what the forthcoming<br />

changes mean for co-<strong>op</strong>s.<br />

While much of the white paper is<br />

welcomed by the CCH, the organisation<br />

has raised a list of issues that will be<br />

covered at the meeting:<br />

• Regulation of safety and consumer issues<br />

• A responsible person for health and safety<br />

• Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms<br />

and electrical systems<br />

• New tenant satisfaction measures<br />

• Perception of crime<br />

• Information on how money is spent<br />

• Engagement with tenants<br />

• A Responsible Person for the <strong>Co</strong>nsumer<br />

Standards<br />

• Decent Homes Standard review<br />

• Anti-social behaviour review<br />

• Access to skills on mental health<br />

• Requirement to have a domestic abuse<br />

policy<br />

• The Housing Ombudsman Service<br />

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Housing,<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmunities & Local Government has<br />

allocated £4m to help community-based<br />

organisations prepare bids for the £11.Sbn<br />

Affordable Homes Programme - which<br />

aims to provide up to 180,000 new<br />

homes across the country while helping<br />

to diversify the homebuilding sector,<br />

improving design, sustainability and<br />

build quality.<br />

CCH chief executive, Blase Lambert,<br />

said: "I welcome the government's<br />

renewed commitment to supporting<br />

communities that want to access grant to<br />

build new affordable homes in England<br />

as demonstrated by its announcement of<br />

£4m in revenue support.<br />

"The sector's lobbying, led by Catherine<br />

Harrington at the National CLT Network,<br />

has delivered much needed new resource<br />

that will enable many communities to<br />

make significant progress with their<br />

plans to deliver affordable homes using<br />

the various approaches and models of<br />

community led housing."<br />


Call goes out to save the voices of a movement for posterity<br />

Work to record and preserve memories of<br />

credit union pioneers has continued under<br />

lockdown, thanks to a dedicated team<br />

of volunteers.<br />

The Credit Union Foundation's Save and<br />

Sound Project, funded by the National<br />

Lottery Heritage Fund, has moved online,<br />

with eight volunteers - trained by the<br />

Oral History Society - using a podcasting<br />

platform to conduct interviews across the<br />

north of England.<br />

The interviews will become part of the<br />

national oral history collection cared for<br />

by the British Library where they will be<br />

available to generations of researchers.<br />

The project has interviews lined up for the<br />

coming months but is still keen for pe<strong>op</strong>le<br />

with memories of credit unions before the<br />

year 2000 to get in touch and share their<br />

stories. The online platform means pe<strong>op</strong>le<br />

can see each other but only the sound<br />

is recorded.<br />

So that audio quality can be assured,<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le sharing their memories are provided<br />

with a micr<strong>op</strong>hone and headphones, as<br />

well as full instructions.<br />

Volunteer Nancy Gray is new to credit<br />

unions but says she feels "very privileged<br />

and excited to be part of this project<br />

recording the history of the movement<br />

and the contribution it has made to<br />

bettering the financial health of so many of<br />

its members."<br />

Another volunteer, <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> <strong>News</strong>'<br />

international editor Anca Voinea, has<br />

volunteered because she wants to "help tell<br />

the stories of some of north of England's<br />

credit union pioneers".<br />

Project manager Abbie Shelton said: "We<br />

have already recorded some fascinating<br />

stories; I am really thankful for all the<br />

advice we have received, and I am proud of<br />

our volunteers who have risen admirably to<br />

the challenge of learning new technologies<br />

and techniques.<br />

"We are really grateful to everyone<br />

who has already come forward, but we<br />

are still looking for more pe<strong>op</strong>le to share<br />

their story. No matter what role you<br />

played in a credit union, your memories<br />

will help us tell the story of early credit<br />

unions and raise awareness of credit<br />

union heritage."<br />

► If you are interested in contributing<br />

your memories to the project, or have photos<br />

or other items that you could share, email<br />

abbie.shelton@c redit unionfoundation.<br />

org.uk or visit s.co<strong>op</strong>/2ke2d<br />

8 I MARCH <strong>2021</strong>

GLOBAL<br />

Campaign to<br />

create a '10,000 strong'<br />

network of young credit<br />

union professionals<br />

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

youth programme has launched a '10,000<br />

Strong!' campaign in a bid to form the<br />

largest global network of young credit<br />

union professionals.<br />

The World <strong>Co</strong>uncil's Young Credit<br />

Union Professionals network (WYCUP)<br />

began as a scholarship programme and<br />

now offers a platform for young credit<br />

union professionals and their advocates<br />

to connect internationally.<br />

The campaign encourages pe<strong>op</strong>le to<br />

join the WYCUP Affiliates Network and<br />

<strong>Co</strong>uncil, which are <strong>op</strong>en to all young credit<br />

union professionals and their advocates.<br />

The WYCUP Affiliates <strong>Co</strong>uncil is a<br />

monthly round-table discussion among<br />

leadership from networks around the<br />

world, as well as advocates for young<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le in jurisdictions where formal<br />

networks do not currently exist.<br />

With the launch of the 10,000 Strong!<br />

campaign, WYCUP has redesigned its<br />

website and will convene the first monthly<br />

meeting of the WYCUP Affiliates <strong>Co</strong>uncil<br />

on 16 February. That gathering will<br />

include up to 70 representatives from local<br />

networks around the world.<br />

.&. Credit union professionals attending a WYCUP event<br />

In <strong>2021</strong>, the WYCUP Affiliates <strong>Co</strong>uncil is<br />

aiming to:<br />

• Strengthen communication channels<br />

between local networks<br />

• Support the formation of new local<br />

networks<br />

• Expand engagement <strong>op</strong>portunities<br />

and speaking roles for young pe<strong>op</strong>le at<br />

virtual events<br />

• Promote an exchange of ideas to<br />

devel<strong>op</strong> shared resources.<br />

Thomas Belekevich, WYCUP director,<br />

said: "This is an exciting time for<br />

WYCUP as we work to bridge the<br />

leadership gap. After a year of separation,<br />

we're coming back together stronger<br />

than before.<br />

"That strength comes from recognising<br />

that our local efforts have a global impact<br />

when we collaborate effectively. WYCUP<br />

is expanding horizons by empowering<br />

youth to be part of the solution and<br />

- in the process - strengthening the<br />

relevance of financial co-<strong>op</strong>eratives in<br />

the eyes of young professionals and<br />

members everywhere."<br />

WYCUP is bridging the leadership gap<br />

as part of Worldwide Foundation for<br />

Credit Unions' awareness and fundraising<br />

campaign called 'Bridge the Gap,' which<br />

aims to help the global credit union<br />

movement bridge four key inclusion gaps<br />

that have been further exposed by the<br />

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

► You can sign up to the WYCUP Affiliates<br />

Network at wycup.org<br />

GLOBAL<br />

Credit unions join forces to launch<br />

website campaigning for 8th co-<strong>op</strong> principle<br />

A number of US credit unions have come<br />

together to launch deitalks.com, a website<br />

which advocates an 8th co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

principle focused on diversity, equity and<br />

inclusion (DEI).<br />

The Local Government Federal Credit<br />

Union (LGFCU) and Civic Federal Credit<br />

Union (CFCU) in North Carolina and the<br />

African-American Credit Union <strong>Co</strong>alition<br />

(AACUC) are behind the website. They<br />

are inviting other credit unions and<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>eratives to ad<strong>op</strong>t the 8th Principle<br />

and demonstrate their support through<br />

the site.<br />

Deitalks.com allows for organisations<br />

to publicly pledge their support for the<br />

8th principle, and encourages them to<br />

promote the idea on their own websites<br />

and social media channels.<br />

"<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives support the notion<br />

that every member of a community<br />

has an inalienable right to exercise the<br />

doctrines presented in the co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

principles,'' said LGFCU and CFCU chief<br />

executive officer Maurice Smith. "I see<br />

an <strong>op</strong>portunity to reaffirm our values and<br />

explore new <strong>op</strong>portunities.<br />

"It is time to consider where diversity,<br />

pluralism and inclusion for all of us stands<br />

today. I think the time is right to officially<br />

recognise the 8th Principle as part of the<br />

credit union and co-<strong>op</strong>erative philos<strong>op</strong>hy."<br />

Renee Sattiewhite, AACUC president<br />

and CEO, added: "These values of<br />

plurality will not be short-lived. It's the<br />

right thing to do. Diversity, equality and<br />

inclusion line up with our core principles<br />

and values, and that is why it is lasting."<br />

16 I MARCH <strong>2021</strong>

I I<br />


Glanbia dairy<br />

co-<strong>op</strong> announces<br />

<strong>2021</strong> profit share<br />

Irish dairy Glanbia <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> has announced<br />

its <strong>2021</strong> trading bonus, and says it will<br />

continue its monthly profit distribution<br />

for milk supplier members. The co-<strong>op</strong> will<br />

also return €6.3m (£5.Sm) to 4,500 farmer<br />

shareholders under the terms of the 2020<br />

trading bonus scheme.<br />

Glanbia says its <strong>2021</strong> trading bonus<br />

scheme will reward farmer members for<br />

purchases made from milk processor<br />

Glanbia Ireland (GI) and its subsidiaries,<br />

in which the co-<strong>op</strong> has a 60o/o stake.<br />

For milk supplier members, the <strong>2021</strong><br />

trading bonus is potentially worth up to<br />

0.4 cents (0.3 pence) per litre on all milk<br />

delivered this year. This is equivalent to<br />

up to €2,000 (£1,700) for a 500,000-litre<br />

supplier spending over 8 cents (7 pence)<br />

per Ii tre with GI.<br />

At the end of this year, the total spend<br />

will be divided by the total litres of<br />

milk delivered to generate a cent-perlitre<br />

input spend for each member. The<br />

applicable trading bonus will be paid in<br />

February 2022.<br />

For grain growers, there's a trading<br />

bonus of up to €10 (£9) per tonne of<br />

grain supplied.<br />

Beef and sheep farmer members will<br />

qualify for a feed trading bonus of €10<br />

(£9) per tonne on beef, dairy and sheep<br />

feed products purchased from GI. And<br />

there's €3 (£2.60) per tonne available to<br />

qualifying co-<strong>op</strong> members on purchases<br />

of pig feed and straights.<br />

Eligibility for feed bonus payments is<br />

confined to non-milk suppliers in <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

The dividend the co-<strong>op</strong> receives from<br />

GI, which equates to 30o/o its annual profit<br />

after tax, is ring-fence for distribution to<br />

active farmer members of Glanbia <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>.<br />

The share of GI profit payment for <strong>2021</strong><br />

is 0.4 cents (0.3 pence) per litre (plus VAT).<br />

Australia's biggest credit union rebrands as bank<br />

Credit Union Australia (CUA) has confirmed<br />

it has registered a new trading name of<br />

Great Southern Bank which takes it one<br />

step closer to becoming Australia's largest<br />

customer-owned banking organisation.<br />

"For 75 years we've remained steadfastly<br />

focused on helping all Australians own<br />

their own home," said CEO Paul Lewis. "To<br />

continue that journey, our research shows<br />

we need to change our name."<br />

Fonterra partners with Royal DSM to lower emissions<br />

New Zealand Dairy business Fonterra is<br />

working with science-based company<br />

Royal DSM to reduce its members' on-farm<br />

greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Owned<br />

by over 10,000 farmers, Fonterra h<strong>op</strong>es the<br />

project will reduce the emissions produced<br />

by dairy cows and their manure, which<br />

contribute to climate change. The new feed<br />

will reduce methane emissions by 30o/o.<br />

Eur<strong>op</strong>ean retail co-<strong>op</strong>s to work on code of conduct<br />

The Eur<strong>op</strong>ean <strong>Co</strong>mmission launched<br />

discussions with stakeholders on<br />

designing a code of conduct for business<br />

and marketing. Retail co-<strong>op</strong>s will be<br />

represented in the talks by Euro <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>.<br />

The plan will see the code emphasise the<br />

collective role of actors along the food<br />

chain in the transition towards a more<br />

sustainable EU food system.<br />

New report explores flexibility services for energy co-<strong>op</strong>s<br />

A report from RESco<strong>op</strong>.eu - the Eur<strong>op</strong>ean<br />

federation of citizen energy co-<strong>op</strong>s - has<br />

set out new <strong>op</strong>portunities for energy<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s to use 'flexibility services' to<br />

integrate wind and solar energy into the<br />

energy system. Methods of achieving this<br />

flexibility include using pricing and other<br />

market incentives.<br />

ICA gears up for second Global Youth Forum<br />

GYF21<br />

25-26 <strong>March</strong><br />

Get trained & join<br />

the co<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

youth community!<br />

The second Global Youth Forum will take<br />

place virtually on 25-26 <strong>March</strong>. Organised<br />

by the International <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative<br />

Alliance, within the framework of ICA­<br />

EU Partnership in collaboration with the<br />

ICA Youth Network, the event will bring<br />

together young professionals from<br />

around the world. Register at<br />

s.co<strong>op</strong>/2ke5y<br />

MARCH <strong>2021</strong> I 19



Details of the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Insurance<br />

Services 'partnership' with Markerstudy<br />

were received by policyholders shortly<br />

before Christmas in a letter of bewildering<br />

complications. The reports of the f185m<br />

purchase by Markerstudy (itself recently<br />

acquired by a Qatari-based company), that<br />

was finally completed in early December<br />

following delays in the approval process by<br />

the Financial <strong>Co</strong>nduct Authority (no doubt<br />

related to the protracted Brexit transition<br />

negotiations), told a very different story to<br />

that given to members of the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

Group previously.<br />

Markerstudy were keen to boast of their<br />

access to the entire Group membership<br />

database in their ongoing partnership<br />

with the Group - 'to target products more<br />

relevant to members' individual needs'.<br />

This follows the surprise announcement of a<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Live f100m sponsorship deal with US<br />

based Oak View Group and another ongoing<br />

'partnership' with the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Group.<br />

These so-called 'partnerships' mark a<br />

further gross departure by the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

Group from the model devel<strong>op</strong>ed first by<br />

the Rochdale Pioneers as expressed in<br />

the ICA statement of <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Identity<br />

which forms the basis of co-<strong>op</strong>eratives the<br />

world over. The gulf is now staring us all<br />

in the face and there is an urgent need of<br />

attention by the UK regulatory body before<br />

any more lasting damage is done to the UK<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>erative movement. In light of this I<br />

pr<strong>op</strong>ose that the following motion should be<br />

put to the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Group at this year's<br />

Annual General Meeting:<br />

"We the membership, call for an<br />

immediate referral to be made on our<br />

behalf, as owners of the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Group,<br />

to the UK regulatory body - the Financial<br />

<strong>Co</strong>nduct Authority - to demand a review of<br />

the constitution ad<strong>op</strong>ted in haste in 2014 to<br />

reassess compliance with the ICA statement<br />

of co-<strong>op</strong>erative identity in light of recent<br />

decisions by the executive and the board.<br />

We need to re-establish the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

Group as an authentic co-<strong>op</strong>erative in order<br />

to restore trust and renew our purpose with<br />

structures that pr<strong>op</strong>erly reflect co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

values and principles."<br />

For a motion to qualify to be put to the<br />

AGM it is necessary to submit 100 c<strong>op</strong>ies<br />

each signed in 'wet ink' by qualifying<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Group members at least 70<br />

days prior to the date of the AGM (15 May<br />

Have your say<br />

Add your comments to our stories<br />

on 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 />

<br />

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

House, Hanover Street,<br />

Manchester M60 OAS<br />

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

"t# @co<strong>op</strong>news<br />

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

<strong>2021</strong>) - ie Saturday, 6 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2021</strong>. This is<br />

non-trivial especially so given the feeble<br />

state of the current democracy.<br />

If you wish to support progress of the<br />

motion please email me at ian.hewitt@<br />

phoneco<strong>op</strong>.co<strong>op</strong> for further details.<br />

Ian Hewitt<br />

Nottingham<br />

The <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group were approached for<br />

comment<br />


See obituary p25<br />

So very<br />

strength<br />

and<br />

sad. Thoughts, love and<br />

to Brian's family, friends<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>erative colleagues.<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Futures<br />

Via Twitter<br />

So sorry to hear this. I remember Brian<br />

did a fantastic job getting together all the<br />

Midcounties Funeral vehicles for a 'T<strong>op</strong><br />

Gear' special which we filmed. It was a<br />

fun day and he really enjoyed himself. My<br />

condolences to his family.<br />

.a. The <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group's HQ in Manchester<br />

Nicholas Milton<br />

Via Twitter<br />

24 I MARCH <strong>2021</strong>

Nick Milton<br />


FUTURE?<br />

Fairtrade - which helps producers in growing<br />

countries achieve sustainable and equitable<br />

trade relationships - has a longstanding<br />

relationship with co-<strong>op</strong>eratives. Many Fairtrade<br />

producers are organised as co-<strong>op</strong>s, and in the<br />

UK, retail co-<strong>op</strong>s are vital supporters.<br />

Another supporter is the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Party, which<br />

champions Fairtrade and acknowledges the<br />

importance of ensuring sustainable livelihoods<br />

for the farmers and workers within them, in the<br />

context of fragile global supply chains.<br />

The <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Party will continue to champion<br />

the Fairtrade movement but it needs to rethink<br />

the way it markets itself, said Labour/<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> MP<br />

Preet Kaur Gill, ahead of Fairtrade Fortnight (22<br />

February - 7 <strong>March</strong>).<br />

"The <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Party has been at the heart of the<br />

Fairtrade movement in the UK for over 25 years,"<br />

she adds. "Like us it is internationalist and wants<br />







to spread wealth more fairly. We share the same<br />

values and believe that Fairtrade is still the best<br />

way of lifting farmers in the global south out<br />

of poverty."<br />

Ms Gill, who chairs the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Party's<br />

parliamentary group and is shadow international<br />

devel<strong>op</strong>ment secretary, is the first Sikh female<br />

Labour MP, representing Edgbaston.<br />

"We all want to see the Fairtrade movement<br />

succeed," she says, "because it is the best way<br />

of ensuring that everyone gets an equal share<br />

and st<strong>op</strong>s the big corporations from completely<br />

controlling the market."<br />

Seen by many as a rising star in the Party, Ms<br />

Gill sh<strong>op</strong>s at Birmingham's Bearwood, Harborne<br />

and Quinton stores run by the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group and<br />

Central England <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>. Last year she took an<br />

active role in promoting Fairtrade Fortnight in<br />

Parliament and this year is looking forward to<br />

joining in the online fortnight whose theme is<br />

'Climate, Fairtrade and you'.<br />

While Fairtrade grocery sales have grown in<br />

the UK and around the world, non-grocery sales<br />

have slumped, warns Michael Gidney, CEO<br />

of the Fairtrade Foundation. Another serious<br />

challenge has seen some supermarkets and<br />

corporations pull out of Fairtrade certification<br />

in favour of their own 'fairly traded' lines -<br />

facing sh<strong>op</strong>pers with a dazzling array of logos,<br />

from red British tractors to blue sustainable fish.<br />

This blurs the distinction for Fairtrade and has<br />

hit its market share.<br />

The retail co-<strong>op</strong>s are among the few big players<br />

to stay loyal to the scheme: the most recent highprofile<br />

defection saw KitKat announce last June<br />

that it was severing its links with Fairtrade and<br />

would instead source cocoa from farms in the<br />

rival Rainforest Alliance scheme.<br />

"Over 21,000 <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> members signed a<br />

petition calling on the company to reconsider.<br />

That shows the real strength of feeling," says<br />

Ms Gill. "We called the CEO of Nestle into<br />

Parliament and asked them to rethink, but sadly<br />

they didn't. That decision impacted over 27,000<br />

farmers and producers in West Africa, many of<br />

them women who will now earn just 74p a day."<br />

Ms Gill believes Fairtrade needs to look<br />

again at how it markets itself in an increasingly<br />

competitive environment. Although co-<strong>op</strong> stores<br />

stock only Fairtrade bananas and were the first<br />

supermarket to do so, most of its competitors<br />

stock bananas certified by other schemes,<br />

alongside small quantities of Fairtrade. "We<br />

are all familiar with buying bananas," she says.<br />

"The non-Fairtrade ones are nearly always<br />

34 I MARCH <strong>2021</strong>

DIARY<br />

With the <strong>Co</strong>vid-19 crisis<br />

affecting mobility in the UK<br />

and across the world, many<br />

co-<strong>op</strong> events are now taking<br />

place online, including<br />

some of those listed below.<br />

If you would like to add any<br />

virtual events taking place,<br />

please email us at:<br />

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

Worksh<strong>op</strong>:<br />

Social economy and youth<br />

entrepreneurship<br />

2 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2021</strong><br />

Worksh<strong>op</strong> organised by Social Economy<br />

Eur<strong>op</strong>e and <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>eratives Eur<strong>op</strong>e,<br />

gathering young entrepreneurs in the<br />

social economy and co-<strong>op</strong>eratives,<br />

bringing knowledge from educational<br />

institutions, to spark an exchange on<br />

EU initiatives aimed at supporting youth<br />

entrepreneurship in the social economy.<br />

c-::> s.co<strong>op</strong>/2kec8<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Retail <strong>Co</strong>nference<br />

5 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2021</strong> •<br />

The <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Retail <strong>Co</strong>nference will feature<br />

an overview of retail trends from a leading<br />

economist, case studies from senior<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>erative retail executives, interactive<br />

networking and a celebration of how<br />

much has been achieved in one of the<br />

most challenging years for retail<br />

in modern times.<br />

C-::> tinyur/.com/y2boy3ha<br />

Abcul annual conference<br />

10-11 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2021</strong><br />

The largest gathering of credit union<br />

personnel in Britain. Full details tbc.<br />

c-::> tinyur/.com/y4d9vf4o<br />

Just Don't Call it <strong>Co</strong>nflict Resolution<br />

24 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2021</strong> •<br />

Stir to Action webinar on why conflicts<br />

erupt and what to do about it, facilitated<br />

by Kate Whittle, who has been involved in<br />

the co-<strong>op</strong> sector for over 30 years. The<br />

event will explore the pros and cons of<br />

different conflict resolution styles.<br />

Participants will also learn about the<br />

different steps involved in using a<br />

retrospective technique to resolve<br />

team conflicts.<br />

C-::> tinyur/.com/yyhk5bsz<br />

CFCFE Credit Union <strong>Co</strong>nference: Towards<br />

New Business Models<br />

29 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2021</strong><br />

<strong>Co</strong>vid-19, fintech and big data technology,<br />

such as <strong>op</strong>en banking, will bring change<br />

to the financial services industry,<br />

and credit union mergers may be one<br />

response. This conference will look at the<br />

implications of this.<br />

c-::> s.co<strong>op</strong>/2kec7<br />

Global Youth Forum<br />

31 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2021</strong> •<br />

The second edition of the Global Youth<br />

Forum - <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Entrepreneurship.<br />

Organised by the International<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Alliance, within the<br />

framework of ICA-EU Partnership<br />

(#co<strong>op</strong>s4dev) and in collaboration<br />

with the ICA Youth Network, it will bring<br />

together young co-<strong>op</strong> entrepreneurs<br />

and professionals from all around the<br />

world to discuss new solutions and<br />

recommendations, learn from the best<br />

practices, and to foster new ideas and<br />

innovation.<br />

C-::> s.co<strong>op</strong>/2kec5<br />

Food Justice <strong>Co</strong>nference<br />

31 <strong>March</strong> <strong>2021</strong> •<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives East Midlands hosts an<br />

on line discussion with Paul Gerrard from<br />

the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group, Nigel Adams from H<strong>op</strong>e<br />

Foodbank,Nottingham, and Tanya Noon<br />

from Kandaroo.<br />

C-::> co<strong>op</strong>eratives-em.co<strong>op</strong><br />

World Credit Union <strong>Co</strong>nference<br />

11-14 July <strong>2021</strong> •<br />

World <strong>Co</strong>uncil of Credit Unions' <strong>2021</strong><br />

conference will feature more than 30<br />

educational sessions with t<strong>op</strong>ics relevant<br />

to all credit union leadership levels.<br />

Delegates will also be able to network<br />

with other attendees and industry<br />

partners from across our international<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>erative movement. Further event<br />

details will be available in early <strong>2021</strong>.<br />

C-::> tinyur/.com/y6hgh8w4<br />

50 I MARCH <strong>2021</strong>

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