Co-op News July 2022

The July edition of Co-op News: connecting, challenging and championing the global co-operative movement. This issue we look at the how co-ops can preserve and develop the spaces we live in and work in – from the work of community land trusts to a new wave of co-op music venues. There are case studies from Ireland, Canada and the USA and a look at co-op development in the UAE. Plus reports from the national co-op congresses in the UK and Canada

The July edition of Co-op News: connecting, challenging and championing the global co-operative movement. This issue we look at the how co-ops can preserve and develop the spaces we live in and work in – from the work of community land trusts to a new wave of co-op music venues. There are case studies from Ireland, Canada and the USA and a look at co-op development in the UAE. Plus reports from the national co-op congresses in the UK and Canada


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JULY <strong>2022</strong><br />




Plus … Updates from the<br />

UK <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative <strong>Co</strong>ngress ...<br />

Results from the International<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Alliance elections<br />

... Meet James Alcock, CEO of<br />

the Plunkett Foundation<br />

ISSN 0009-9821<br />

770009 982010<br />

01<br />

£4.20<br />


The <strong>2022</strong> <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Press<br />

Annual General Meeting<br />

We will be convening a virtual AGM in <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

6-7.30pm, Monday 25 <strong>July</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<br />

5pm, Monday 13 June <strong>2022</strong><br />

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

Monday 27 June <strong>2022</strong><br />

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

5pm, Monday, 11 <strong>July</strong> <strong>2022</strong><br />

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

Tuesday, 12 <strong>July</strong> <strong>2022</strong><br />

Notice of the final Agenda and the Annual Accounts sent out to members<br />

and made available online.<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, please visit www.thenews.co<strong>op</strong>/AGM<strong>2022</strong><br />

The Secretary<br />

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

Hanover Street, Manchester, M60 0AS<br />


Saving spaces,<br />

preserving places<br />




Holyoake House, Hanover Street,<br />

Manchester M60 0AS<br />

(00) 44 161 214 0870<br />

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

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


Rebecca Harvey | rebecca@thenews.co<strong>op</strong><br />


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


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


Alice Toomer-McAlpine<br />

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

DESIGN<br />

Andy Bellis | andy@thenews.co<strong>op</strong><br />


Elaine Dean (chair); David Paterson<br />

(vice-chair); Sofygil Crew; Victoria<br />

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

Gillian Lonergan; Beverley Perkins;<br />

Shaz Rahman; Lesley Reznicek<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 />

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

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

statement is to connect, champion<br />

and challenge the global co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

movement, through fair and objective<br />

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

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

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

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

CBP013274<br />

St Ives in <strong>Co</strong>rnwall is one of the most beautiful places in the country. But<br />

it is also one of the places with the highest number of Airbnbs per capita,<br />

and has an astronomical discrepancy between the price of housing and the<br />

wages of the pe<strong>op</strong>le who live and have a life there.<br />

The ‘First NOT Second Homes’ action group was set up in St Ives to raise<br />

awareness of the fact that pe<strong>op</strong>le are struggling or unable to find homes to<br />

buy or rent due to issues associated with second home ownership. ‘Homes<br />

are for life, not just for holidays’, it says. ‘Every second home prevents a<br />

first home’.<br />

The group campaigns for urgent and immediate changes in legislation that<br />

“effectively tackles the problems associated with second home ownership<br />

and which contributes to communities being lost, families and individuals<br />

being displaced and homelessness.”<br />

St Ives is just one example of many around the country and the world<br />

affected by the issue of space, and how to safeguard it fairly for the<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le and community who need it, use it and love it. So this month we<br />

are looking at examples of how co-<strong>op</strong>s are involved in this preservation<br />

of space, both urban and rural, and how communities are finding<br />

ways to lead and support these changes, from CLTs in <strong>Co</strong>rnwall<br />

and the USA (p36-37), to rural preservation in Minnesota (p40-41)<br />

and Canada (p38-40).<br />

We also hear how co-<strong>op</strong>s are using the power of communities to make<br />

a difference in spaces, such as the UAE (p46-47) and rural Britain<br />

(p22-23). And we hear about those setting up and preserving music<br />

spaces, with the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group’s <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Live venue set to be the biggest in<br />

the UK (p42-43) – and Sister Midnight sounding out their own space for<br />

a grassroots music venue in Lewisham (p44-45).<br />

This issue we also include coverage of the ICA’s General Assembly<br />

(p26-29), and the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative <strong>Co</strong>ngresses that took place in the UK<br />

(p30-33) and Canada (p34-35). As we approach the International Day of<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>eratives (2 <strong>July</strong>), co-<strong>op</strong>erating for a better, fairer world – where<br />

everyone has the space to live, work and play – has never been more<br />

important.<br />


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

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

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

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

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 3

ISSN 0009-9821<br />

9 770009 982010<br />

01<br />



<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives UK’s Rose Marley welcomes<br />

delegates to the UK <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative <strong>Co</strong>ngress<br />

(p30-33); Quay <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> in <strong>Co</strong>rk has become a<br />

local icon (p38-39); <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Live is one of a<br />

new wave of co-<strong>op</strong>erative music venues<br />

(p42-43); Updates from the ICA General<br />

Assembly (p26-29); James Alcock, CEO of<br />

the Plunkett Foundation (p22-23)<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong><br />




Plus … Updates from the<br />

UK <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative <strong>Co</strong>ngress ...<br />

Results from the International<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Alliance elections<br />

... Meet James Alcock, CEO of<br />

the Plunkett Foundation<br />

£4.20<br />

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


A Canadian Plains indigenous person<br />

at the Wanuskewin Heritage Park,<br />

Saskatoon, Canada, which is bidding for<br />

UNESCO World Heritage status<br />

(Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images)<br />

Read more: p36-37<br />

22-23 MEET ... JAMES ALCOCK<br />

CEO of the Plunkett Foundation<br />



Updates from the International <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative<br />

Alliance General Assembly – including<br />

election results – hosted in Seville, Spain.<br />


Reports from the UK’s gathering of co<strong>op</strong>s<br />

and co-<strong>op</strong>erators, who explored the<br />

concept of ‘Empowering <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eration’<br />



A three-day event showcasing the power<br />

of co-<strong>op</strong>eration in Canada, and sharing<br />

lessons from the pandemic<br />

36-47 SAVING SPACES<br />

As space on our planet becomes a<br />

premium, how are co-<strong>op</strong>s preserving it for<br />

future generation?<br />


is the CLT model carving out space for<br />

affordable housing around the world?<br />

38-39: QUAY CO-OP, CORK<br />

The co-<strong>op</strong> that became a local icon after<br />

40 years in its community<br />


CANADA<br />

A living reminder of pe<strong>op</strong>les’ sacred<br />

relationship with the land<br />



Creating a community hub in <strong>Co</strong>ok<br />

<strong>Co</strong>unty<br />


The co-<strong>op</strong>s plugging in new music venues<br />


The mission to create grassroots music<br />

venue in Lewisham<br />


<strong>Co</strong>mmunity co-<strong>op</strong>eration in the UAE<br />

48-49 INTERVIEW: BHIMA<br />


President, International <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative<br />

Banking Association<br />


5-13 UK news<br />

14-21 Global news<br />

22-23 Meet<br />

24 Letters<br />

25<br />

50<br />

Obituaries<br />

Events<br />

4 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>

NEWS<br />


Stronger community rights ‘could boost urban co-<strong>op</strong> pub sector’<br />

A report from the Plunkett Foundation<br />

argues that improved community rights<br />

legislation, flexible funding and support<br />

would boost the number of urban<br />

community-owned pubs in the UK.<br />

Plunkett, a support organisation for<br />

community-owned services including<br />

pubs and sh<strong>op</strong>s, says this will “breathe<br />

new life into neglected buildings and<br />

transform their neighbourhoods”.<br />

The number of community-owned pubs<br />

has grown rapidly in the last 20 years, it<br />

says, from four in 2002 to 147 now trading<br />

across the UK. However, only 22 (15%) of<br />

these are based in urban areas.<br />

Plunkett has carried out new research,<br />

funded by Power To Change, into why<br />

so few community-owned pubs are<br />

established in urban areas.<br />

The research revealed that the most<br />

common reason for an urban community<br />

pub failing to reach trading status is<br />

private competition for the purchase<br />

of the pub building. Over half (52%) of<br />

200 urban community groups that had<br />

contacted Plunkett for free support and<br />

advice were outbid when trying to buy<br />

their pub through a competitive process.<br />

The second most common reason<br />

is the inability to raise the escalating<br />

purchase price of urban pubs, with some<br />

pub buildings costing up to £950,000 on<br />

the <strong>op</strong>en market, due to their residential<br />

devel<strong>op</strong>ment value.<br />

Plunkett warns that community pub<br />

projects are often complex and timeconsuming<br />

for a volunteer-led sector. Its<br />

research identified that where groups<br />

struggle to recruit volunteers, accessing<br />

revenue funding to hire additional<br />

capacity, alongside any other programme<br />

p The Gardeners Rest in Sheffield<br />

p The Bevy in Brighton is one of the success stories of the urban community pub sector<br />

of advice and support, could be<br />

transformational.<br />

The research makes a number of policy<br />

recommendations:<br />

• Introduce a <strong>Co</strong>mmunity Right to Buy, as<br />

exists in Scotland, to allow communities<br />

first refusal on registered pub buildings<br />

when they come up for sale<br />

• Provide dedicated advisory and<br />

capacity-building support, to nurture<br />

the devel<strong>op</strong>ment of community-owned<br />

pub projects in urban areas<br />

• Offer more varied and flexible funding<br />

programmes, such as the provision of<br />

revenue and capital funding.<br />

In the report, many urban community<br />

pubs and devel<strong>op</strong>ing projects highlight<br />

the value of business advice, peer<br />

learning and mentoring, without which<br />

their projects might not have succeeded.<br />

Plunkett says this is supported by the<br />

results of its More than a Pub programme<br />

where the chances of success for<br />

community pub projects increased from<br />

one in ten to one in three, where bursaries<br />

and advisor support were provided. This<br />

success rate rose to 100% where a loan<br />

and grant package was provided.<br />

Claire Spendley, head of community<br />

business at Plunkett, said: “Despite the<br />

challenges involved, urban community<br />

pubs can bring huge benefits to local<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le. They can rebuild the social fabric<br />

of an urban area by offering a place to<br />

meet, vital services and providing many<br />

social benefits, such as affordable meals,<br />

children’s activities, club meeting spaces,<br />

community gardens, dementia cafes,<br />

and p<strong>op</strong>-up health surgeries. <strong>Co</strong>mmunity<br />

ownership of a pub can restore a feeling<br />

of pride in place, and allow pe<strong>op</strong>le to<br />

transform a closed business into a thriving<br />

community hub.<br />

“This research shows that the interest<br />

in community-ownership of pubs in<br />

urban areas exists. Plunkett Foundation<br />

is committed to growing the communityowned<br />

pub sector and we look forward<br />

to working with partners to achieve this,<br />

implementing the recommendations<br />

pr<strong>op</strong>osed.”<br />

Nick Plumb, policy and public affairs<br />

manager at Power to Change, said: “With<br />

vacancy rates at an all-time high, urban<br />

community pubs have an important role<br />

to play in securing the future of our high<br />

streets. They are a clear example of local<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le reclaiming important social spaces<br />

and as big retail moves out community<br />

pubs will provide the destination spaces<br />

to draw pe<strong>op</strong>le in. It is therefore vital that<br />

communities have the power, tools and<br />

funding needed to secure these spaces<br />

and ensure our towns remain vibrant.”<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmunities wishing to safeguard their<br />

local pub through community ownership<br />

should contact the Plunkett Foundation<br />

for free advice and training on 01993<br />

630022.<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 5


Energy co-<strong>op</strong>s face their toughest year yet – and are calling on the<br />

government for help in their battle against climate change<br />

The UK marked <strong>Co</strong>mmunity Energy<br />

Fortnight (11-24 June) with events including<br />

a conference on the carbon transition and<br />

report on the challenges facing the sector.<br />

The State of the Sector <strong>2022</strong> report,<br />

compiled by apex bodies <strong>Co</strong>mmunity<br />

Energy England (CEE), <strong>Co</strong>mmunity Energy<br />

Scotland and <strong>Co</strong>mmunity Energy Wales,<br />

warns that energy co-<strong>op</strong>s face their most<br />

challenging year yet and calls on the<br />

government to support their efforts on<br />

local climate action, jobs, community<br />

wealth-building and energy bills.<br />

The report is critical of the government’s<br />

failure to support the sector, after it had<br />

been urged to do so by MPs on the all-party<br />

Environmental Audit <strong>Co</strong>mmittee.<br />

It says the sector managed a number<br />

of achievements in 2021, delivering<br />

“new community owned renewable<br />

electricity generation, new jobs, millions<br />

in community benefit and savings to billpayers,<br />

and is leading on the emergency<br />

response to the energy bill crisis”.<br />

These include £21.5m raised in<br />

investments for new projects across the<br />

UK, with £15m of community energy<br />

income spent in local economies.<br />

There was a 38% increase in the delivery<br />

of community-led energy efficiency and<br />

energy saving services, the report adds,<br />

and there are now 123 community energy<br />

organisations working on local energy<br />

efficiency. Projects include fuel poverty<br />

and energy advice, building improvement,<br />

community education, and direct funding<br />

to localities. Energy efficiency interventions<br />

are estimated to have reached 57,600<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le or organisations and saved over<br />

£3.3m for UK households.<br />

Survey data recently released by Ofgem<br />

suggests UK households would back more<br />

urgent action, with 41% of consumers<br />

now concerned about the affordability of<br />

household bills, and declining consumer<br />

satisfaction with fossil fuel providers<br />

across the country.<br />

Duncan Law, acting co-CEO (policy<br />

& advocacy) at CEE, said: “<strong>Co</strong>mmunity<br />

energy organisations across the UK<br />

continue to explore new ways to accelerate<br />

the transition to a fair, sustainable, smart<br />

and net zero energy system. The State<br />

of the Sector <strong>2022</strong> report highlights not<br />

only the increasing local engagement and<br />

impact of community energy projects, but<br />

also the sector’s adaptability and resilience<br />

in the absence of support from government.<br />

“<strong>Co</strong>mmunity energy will continue<br />

determinedly to drive local climate action<br />

and deliver community benefit. With a<br />

little investment from the government<br />

it could grow exponentially and be the<br />

indispensable local champions of net zero.”<br />

Scott Mathieson, director of planning<br />

and regulation at SP Energy Networks,<br />

added: “We are delighted to support the<br />

State of the Sector report for a fourth year.<br />

This year’s report is providing timely data,<br />

which we will study carefully to ensure we<br />

can support our local communities in the<br />

best possible way.”<br />

The report calls on the government to<br />

create a national community energy fund<br />

to invest in and re-mobilise community<br />

energy. It also wants ministers to “prioritise<br />

demand reduction and behaviour change<br />

by enabling community energy leadership<br />

in retrofit, energy advice/ fuel poverty<br />

alleviation for the energy crisis”.<br />

And government should “put community<br />

energy at the heart of local energy planning<br />

initiatives”, it adds.<br />

This would require a change of tack:<br />

the report warns that “despite COP26 and<br />

increasing public support for renewable<br />

UK’s biggest DNO<br />

appoints specialist<br />

engineers to support<br />

renewable co-<strong>op</strong>s<br />

Britain’s biggest distribution network<br />

<strong>op</strong>erator (DNO) has become the first in the<br />

country to pledge <strong>op</strong>erational support for<br />

local energy co-<strong>op</strong>s.<br />

DNOs are companies that own and<br />

<strong>op</strong>erate the infrastructure that connects<br />

electricity networks to customers, making<br />

the decision by Western Power Distribution<br />

(WPD) important for community energy.<br />

WPD said the engineers will liaise over<br />

business plans with the co-<strong>op</strong>s active in its<br />

energy, government support mechanisms<br />

have been removed and in 2021 the sector<br />

installed only 7.6mW of new electricity<br />

generation capacity”.<br />

It adds: “This is a notable achievement<br />

given the additional challenges of the <strong>Co</strong>vid<br />

pandemic, but when seen alongside a 65%<br />

increase in the number of organisations<br />

reporting stalled projects, totalling 68mW,<br />

the slowdown indicates the significant<br />

potential of the sector held back, in part,<br />

by the government making it harder rather<br />

than easier for communities to take their<br />

own action towards net zero.”<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmunity energy groups have<br />

increasingly relied on their own resources<br />

to provide events such as community<br />

worksh<strong>op</strong>s and cafes; energy switching<br />

and energy monitoring support surgeries;<br />

building audits and retrofit assessments;<br />

installation advice on clean energy tech<br />

such as heat pumps; insulation and<br />

four licence areas, which stretch across the<br />

south from <strong>Co</strong>rnwall to East Anglia. These<br />

areas have more than 20% of the UK’s<br />

community 271 community energy groups,<br />

generating 100mW of renewable power<br />

between them.<br />

A company statement said: “Interest in<br />

decarbonisation, renewable power, energy<br />

efficiency and helping pe<strong>op</strong>le in fuel<br />

poverty is growing at a local level resulting<br />

in the rise of community energy groups.<br />

“Providing more expert support for<br />

them is among commitments in our<br />

£6.7bn business plan for 2023-28, which<br />

has a major focus on helping customers<br />

achieve net zero carbon emissions, for<br />

example by connecting electric vehicles<br />

and heat pumps.<br />

6 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>

draught proofing services; and glazing and<br />

lighting refurbishment services.<br />

The sector has also provided over 4,000<br />

recipients with over £470,000 of direct<br />

support through community funds and<br />

other mechanisms, to support building<br />

upgrades for those not able to pay, training<br />

for local energy advice champions, and<br />

fuel vouchers for those in energy poverty.<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmunity energy organisations had<br />

a total community benefit fund value last<br />

year of £4.9m across 98 organisations, and<br />

distributed £1.35m, the report adds.<br />

There was further discussion of the state<br />

of play for the sector on 18 June in Bristol,<br />

when CEE, with Bristol Energy Network,<br />

hosted its Energy Transition <strong>Co</strong>nference.<br />

The event included a look at the value<br />

of local council partnerships, with a<br />

presentation from Bristol City <strong>Co</strong>uncil of its<br />

work to support the sector.<br />

This includes City Leap, a project to<br />

deliver low carbon energy infrastructure,<br />

such as solar PV, heat networks, heat<br />

pumps and energy efficiency measures at<br />

scale. More than 180 businesses applied to<br />

be strategic partner on the scheme and the<br />

council selected Ameresco Ltd, a cleantech<br />

integrator and renewable energy asset<br />

devel<strong>op</strong>er, owner and <strong>op</strong>erator.<br />

It will work on the project in collaboration<br />

with Vattenfall Heat UK, Sweden’s<br />

nationally owned energy company, which<br />

specialises in low and zero-carbon heat.<br />

Private sector partners will contribute<br />

capital funding, including £424m over the<br />

first five years of the 20-year partnership,<br />

and the expectation is that the scheme will<br />

remove around 140,000 tonnes of carbon<br />

across the city in the first five years.<br />

In that first five years, £4m of the funding<br />

has been earmarked for community energy<br />

projects, the conference was told.<br />

There was also discussion of Smart<br />

Local Energy Systems (SLES), which use<br />

smart meters and big data to <strong>op</strong>timise the<br />

electricity grid to provide a more flexible<br />

and reactive system, and could make use<br />

of local micro-grids using community<br />

renewables.<br />

Other events for the fortnight included<br />

webinars on fuel poverty and retrofitting,<br />

guided tours of Westmill wind and solar<br />

farms in Oxfordshire, and an eco marquee<br />

on clean energy issues by Harbury Energy<br />

Initiative at the Warwickshire village’s<br />

summer carnival.<br />

“We are planning to employ four new<br />

community energy engineers to provide<br />

extensive assistance for around 100<br />

existing community energy groups in its<br />

area, as well as enabling 150 new ones to<br />

get started by 2028.”<br />

The first community engineer to be<br />

hired is Faithful Chanda, who said: “We<br />

want to encourage more groups to connect<br />

their solar, wind or hydro projects onto<br />

the network and my job is to help them<br />

understand they are not alone.”<br />

WPD says the scheme will see engineers<br />

combine their technical understanding<br />

with local knowledge to help community<br />

energy groups connect to our network,<br />

offering personalised one-to-one sessions,<br />

signposts to sources of finance and<br />

introductions to additional contacts.<br />

They will also supply training, how-to<br />

guides, webinars and case studies, and<br />

organise events to raise awareness of<br />

low-carbon technologies and renewable<br />

connections.<br />

WPD’s business plan for 2023-28 commits<br />

it to connecting 30 new community<br />

energy groups a year to its network – a<br />

150% increase – and it pledges to hold 60<br />

community energy surgeries a year.<br />

“The role of community energy engineers<br />

is important if the UK is to decarbonise by<br />

2035,” said Mr Chanda. “<strong>Co</strong>mmunities and<br />

companies like WPD will have to work<br />

closely to ensure low carbon technologies<br />

are ad<strong>op</strong>ted to bring about the scale of<br />

change needed.”<br />

p Faithful Chanda<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 7


Shrub low-carbon co-<strong>op</strong> needs £8,000 for its sustainability hub<br />

A community co-<strong>op</strong> in Edinburgh which is<br />

working to build a low-carbon society has<br />

launched an £8,000 crowdfunder to help<br />

it qualify for National Lottery Funding.<br />

Shrub supports sustainability efforts<br />

in the city, providing “a welcoming space<br />

for rethinking our relationship to waste,<br />

reducing consumption and devel<strong>op</strong>ing<br />

effective use of resources”.<br />

It devel<strong>op</strong>s and shares skills, supports<br />

community empowerment, and delivers<br />

“innovative waste prevention, creative<br />

reuse and repair practices in a living<br />

laboratory of circular economy”.<br />

Initiatives include the Swapsh<strong>op</strong>, where<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le can swap, donate or buy secondhand<br />

clothing, books, shoes, bags and<br />

household items; upcycling worksh<strong>op</strong>s;<br />

a food sharing hub; the Zero Waste Hub<br />

Cafe; and the Wee Spoke Hub where<br />

trained mechanics run bike-fixing lessons.<br />

Shrub has just been awarded a<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmunity Led Grant from the Lottery for<br />

its Zero Waste <strong>Co</strong>mmunity Hub – but one<br />

of the conditions is that it secure £8,000 of<br />

match funding. On the crowdfunder page,<br />

which offers rewards for donations, the<br />

p The co-<strong>op</strong> runs the Food Sharing Hub - “Scotland’s first rescued food sh<strong>op</strong>”<br />

co-<strong>op</strong> says the money will allow it to<br />

continue efforts such as making a circular<br />

economy accessible to those on lower<br />

incomes, and saving unsold clothing<br />

away from foreign textile markets and<br />

landfill by directing it to hostels and<br />

other charities.<br />

Educational initiatives include teaching<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le to repair clothing through<br />

worksh<strong>op</strong>s, educating the community on<br />

the importance of slow fashion, climate<br />

behaviour change and employability<br />

training – offering skills in customer<br />

service, communications, governance and<br />

policy, barista work and sh<strong>op</strong> pricing.<br />

The funds will also allow it to continue<br />

using its premises as a Zero Waste Hub<br />

and to run its vegan cafe and community<br />

space, to organise community events<br />

and Freesh<strong>op</strong>s to keep unwanted items<br />

from landfill, and to help local pe<strong>op</strong>le<br />

struggling with food poverty.<br />

Bread + Roses venue<br />

raises £20k in a week to<br />

save community space<br />

A co-<strong>op</strong>erative community hub in<br />

Bradford has smashed its crowdfunding<br />

target of £20,000 to save the space from<br />

immediate closure, and is now seeking<br />

a stretch target of a further £10,000 to<br />

secure its future beyond 2023.<br />

In just one week, 150 pe<strong>op</strong>le have<br />

donated a combined total of over £10,000<br />

which has been boosted by a further<br />

£10,000 from the Power to Change<br />

Crowdmatch Fund, to save the memberowned<br />

cafe and venue Bread + Roses.<br />

Bread + Roses is a co-<strong>op</strong>erative cafe,<br />

workspace, and community venue that<br />

offers a programme of creative worksh<strong>op</strong>s<br />

and wellbeing events and provides local<br />

volunteering <strong>op</strong>portunities.<br />

This is the third crowdfunder Bread +<br />

Roses has run since it was set up four years<br />

ago, having previously raised £2,500 and<br />

a further £10,000 from the community.<br />

Despite generating the majority of its<br />

income from its trading activities, Bread<br />

+ Roses is dependent on grant funding<br />

for 20% of its revenue, which equates to<br />

around £40,000 a year. Though trading<br />

income has grown over recent years, grant<br />

funding has become harder to secure,<br />

leading to the threat of closure.<br />

The campaign has sparked support<br />

from the city’s creatives, including<br />

producer and podcaster Richard Dunbar,<br />

who said: “Bread + Roses defines a sense<br />

of community and what Bradford is really<br />

about, there’s so much going on here.<br />

“More importantly it’s really about what<br />

being co-<strong>op</strong>erative stands for, it’s about<br />

community, it’s about looking after each<br />

other – and let’s not forget that’s what<br />

Bradford’s radical history, present and<br />

future is built on.”<br />

Gina Riley, Bread + Roses officer, added:<br />

“This place is a sanctuary for many and<br />

there’s no other place like it in Bradford.<br />

It is so important that we nurture and look<br />

after what we have built here, especially<br />

with Bradford winning city of culture<br />

recently. It would be such a shame to lose<br />

such a valuable asset to the city.”<br />

The team is now aiming to raise another<br />

£10,000 to further safeguard the co-<strong>op</strong>’s<br />

future. Reaching their stretch target of<br />

£30,000 would give the co-<strong>op</strong> time to<br />

restructure and secure sustainable grant<br />

funding as a charitable community benefit<br />

society.<br />

8 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>

RETAIL<br />

Tech partnerships drive new co-<strong>op</strong> initiatives on food waste<br />

The <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group and East of England <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong><br />

have announced separate initiatives<br />

to continue their efforts to eliminate food<br />

waste, both involving digital partnerships.<br />

The Group has teamed up with<br />

Microsoft to devel<strong>op</strong> Caboodle, a not-forprofit<br />

digital platform which will connect<br />

supermarkets, cafés and restaurants with<br />

community groups and volunteers to<br />

redistribute surplus food.<br />

The project, supported by technology<br />

consultancy BJSS and Team ITG, is being<br />

tested by environmental charity Hubbub,<br />

which runs the <strong>Co</strong>mmunity Fridge<br />

Network – another project which has had<br />

involvement from the Group.<br />

Built on Microsoft’s Power Platform<br />

technology, Caboodle aims to “create<br />

a single place where food retailers<br />

and businesses across the hospitality<br />

sector can connect with volunteers and<br />

community groups in every city, town and<br />

village in the UK, helping to share food<br />

when and where it is needed”.<br />

Shirine Khoury-Haq, interim CEO of the<br />

Group, said: “The amount of good quality<br />

surplus food that’s not currently being<br />

redistributed is astounding.<br />

“We’re currently trialling Caboodle<br />

in over 100 food stores and the results<br />

we’re seeing so far are incredible. We’ll be<br />

rolling it out across our entire estate next<br />

month and h<strong>op</strong>e that all other retailers<br />

and businesses within hospitality will see<br />

the benefit too.<br />

“The more organisations use Caboodle<br />

the simpler and more effective it will be for<br />

volunteers and community groups to gain<br />

access to good food.”<br />

The platform, on trial at Group stores<br />

in Northern Ireland, Milton Keynes and<br />

London, goes live this month across a<br />

further 2,500 food stores. It is <strong>op</strong>en to a<br />

range of charities and community groups,<br />

from food banks and family support<br />

networks to youth groups and schools.<br />

Caboodle will make it easier for<br />

supermarkets, cafes and restaurants to<br />

share their surplus food on a daily basis,<br />

says the Group. <strong>Co</strong>mmunity groups will<br />

be able to book and schedule slots and<br />

receive live notifications when new slots<br />

are available via a digital noticeboard.<br />

Estelle Herszenhorn, food lead at<br />

sustainability campaign organisation<br />

Wrap, said: “Surplus food redistribution<br />

has been a success story over recent years.<br />

320,000 tonnes of food worth £1bn was<br />

saved from going to waste between 2015<br />

and 2020, providing the equivalent of 220<br />

million meals. But much more good food<br />

is still going to waste.<br />

“Innovations like Caboodle that can<br />

help to overcome common barriers and<br />

ease redistribution of surplus food are<br />

really exciting and have the potential to<br />

make serious inroads into the estimated<br />

200,000 tonnes that could still be<br />

redistributed.”<br />

Alex Robinson, CEO of Hubbub, said:<br />

“We’re pleased to be supporting the<br />

devel<strong>op</strong>ment of Caboodle by providing<br />

insight from communities and trialling<br />

the platform with our Milton Keynes<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmunity Fridge. We’re passionate<br />

about supporting initiatives that help to<br />

reduce food waste and have a positive<br />

impact on the environment.”<br />

Richard Smith, deputy head of food<br />

supply at food charity the Felix Project,<br />

said: “As a charity which has tested<br />

Caboodle and is already seeing the<br />

benefits, we know it will make a real<br />

difference to others like ourselves.<br />

“The process for us is just easier and<br />

unlike other systems it works in a way that<br />

allows us to notify stores if we can’t make<br />

our collection slots”.<br />

Meanwhile, East of England <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> has<br />

partnered with food saving app Too Good<br />

To Go as part of its effort to eliminate<br />

edible food waste by 2030.<br />

Following a successful pilot, Too Good<br />

To Go is now available in all the society’s<br />

food stores, making it the biggest grocery<br />

retailer to be on the app in the region.<br />

Too Good To Go lets customers buy<br />

and collect ‘Magic Bags’ of unsold food<br />

at a great price so it gets eaten instead of<br />

wasted. These are available at the co-<strong>op</strong>’s<br />

stores for £3.30 and contain food worth<br />

at least three times that value. Customers<br />

don’t know what is in the order until they<br />

pick it up, but can expect a mix of chilled<br />

and ambient products, from meat and fish<br />

to cakes and bread.<br />

East of England has been at the<br />

forefront of tackling food waste for several<br />

years since launching its pioneering<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Guide to Dating scheme, where it<br />

became the first major retailer to sell food<br />

past its best before date for a nominal 10p.<br />

Since 2018, it has saved nearly one million<br />

products from waste which were sold<br />

under the scheme.<br />

Steven Fendley, head of sustainability<br />

at the society, said: “Since making our<br />

pledge to reduce edible food waste to zero<br />

we have looked at a myriad of ways we can<br />

keep perfectly edible food from going to<br />

waste. Launching on Too Good To Go was<br />

a no brainer.<br />

“We have also been delivering other<br />

work in this area, including using new<br />

intelligent technology in our reduced to<br />

clear section, improving how and when<br />

we mark down chilled food nearing its<br />

‘use by’ date, giving customers better<br />

discounts, earlier in the day.”<br />

Too Good To Go was piloted in 42 East<br />

of England stores over 44 days, with more<br />

than 4,678 magic bags sold.<br />

S<strong>op</strong>hie Trueman, managing director<br />

for Too Good To Go, said: “Food waste<br />

accounts for 10% of global greenhouse<br />

gas emissions, and so by reducing the<br />

volume of perfectly good food going to<br />

waste together we can take huge strides<br />

towards combatting climate change. I’m<br />

incredibly excited to see the impact our<br />

partnership can have.”<br />

Too Good To Go has over 8 million users<br />

in the UK and the app is available from<br />

Google Play or Apple App Store.<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 9

p Fans hold a protest against the club’s owner in April (Photo: Charlotte Tattersall/Getty)<br />

SPORT<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmunity football squad drafted to bring Oldham Athletic to fan ownership<br />

Supporters of Oldham Athletic Football<br />

Club are making plans for community<br />

ownership with the backing of Greater<br />

Manchester mayor Andy Burnham.<br />

Mr Burnham announced the launch of a<br />

new taskforce to give fans an active role in<br />

their club at <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> <strong>Co</strong>ngress on Saturday<br />

18 June. “Latics are at the heart of the<br />

Oldham community,” he said. “To protect<br />

its future the club should, ideally, be in<br />

the hands of the community, not private<br />

individuals. If successful, the club’s future<br />

should be secured for the next 100 years<br />

and beyond.”<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives UK, the Football<br />

Supporters’ Association and Greater<br />

Manchester <strong>Co</strong>mbined Authority<br />

are working with Oldham Athletic<br />

Supporters’ Foundation to discuss plans<br />

for a community share offer that would<br />

give groups and individuals a chance<br />

to own a stake in the club, bringing it<br />

under community control. The work is<br />

supported by the Hive co-<strong>op</strong> devel<strong>op</strong>ment<br />

programme, funded by the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Bank<br />

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

The plans follow Oldham Athletic’s<br />

relegation from the Football League<br />

in April. A fan-led campaign has been<br />

running since 2019 calling for the club’s<br />

owner, Abdallah Lemsagam, to sell up.<br />

Before the club’s relegation, Mr Lemsagam<br />

announced that the club would be sold.<br />

Paul Whitehead, from Oldham Athletic<br />

Supporters’ Foundation, said: “After a<br />

long period of upheaval for the club, we<br />

are committed to finding solutions that<br />

can unite the fanbase and command<br />

the support of all those who care about<br />

Oldham Athletic. We are putting in the<br />

work now to establish a structure for the<br />

longer-term stability of the club.”<br />

Mr Burnham drew comparisons between<br />

Oldham and Bury FC, which folded in<br />

2019 and was expelled from the Football<br />

League, saying “we are determined not<br />

to let this happen with Oldham.” Though<br />

Bury FC is now on the road to recovery<br />

with a fan-owned takeover announced<br />

this year, the taskforce working with<br />

Oldham Athletic aims to ensure fan-led<br />

solutions are in place before crisis point is<br />

reached.<br />

Oldham Athletic could lead the way<br />

for more supporter-led initiatives to<br />

receive backing from mayoral combined<br />

authorities. Andy Walsh, from the Football<br />

Supporters’ Association (FSA), said their<br />

work of devel<strong>op</strong>ing model constitutions<br />

for community benefit societies and<br />

governance frameworks for football clubs<br />

“gives supporters a voice but began before<br />

devolved powers existed. This task force<br />

has the <strong>op</strong>portunity to really innovate<br />

and find new ways to help clubs and<br />

supporters embed community wealth<br />

through football’s engagement with local<br />

economic and social impact initiatives.”<br />

Rose Marley, CEO of <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives UK,<br />

said: “Famously started by Oldham’s<br />

sister town Rochdale, co-<strong>op</strong>eratives are<br />

becoming the go-to business model for<br />

communities and businesses that want to<br />

take control and ownership of their assets.<br />

“We’re seeing it more and more across<br />

community energy companies, data<br />

ownership and control and of course,<br />

everyone is familiar with The <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong><br />

sh<strong>op</strong>s, owned by their customers, but<br />

this <strong>op</strong>portunity with Oldham will create<br />

a blueprint for other clubs and sporting<br />

assets to ensure they have a stake and a<br />

say in their club’s day-to-day <strong>op</strong>erations<br />

as well as all future decisions.”<br />

10 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>

ENERGY<br />

Scottish co-<strong>op</strong> ANM continues eco-drive with new EV charging points<br />

Scottish auctioneering co-<strong>op</strong>erative ANM<br />

Group has installed an additional nine<br />

electric charging points at its Thainstone<br />

Centre, as part of its efforts to boost<br />

sustainability.<br />

The investment brings the group’s total<br />

charging points to 17, placing it among<br />

the largest providers of electric vehicle<br />

charging points in north east Scotland.<br />

The new chargers are available for<br />

staff use and will also accommodate<br />

the group’s plug-in hybrid and electric<br />

vehicle fleet, used by its auctioneers and<br />

procurement team when canvassing the<br />

north and north-east of Scotland, helping<br />

to reduce group emissions.<br />

Out of the 17 charge points, eight are<br />

available to the public at 30pkw/hr with<br />

members of the co-<strong>op</strong>erative charged at<br />

a reduced rate of 20pkw/hr. The chargers<br />

available are triple outlet eVolve rapid<br />

charger AC = 43KW and DC = 50KW, and<br />

22KW dual outlet eVolve charger with a<br />

maximum output of 22KW.<br />

ANM says it continues to invest in<br />

its sustainable practices across the<br />

Thainstone Estate to help cut emissions<br />

and improve energy efficiency as part of<br />

its Environmental, Social and <strong>Co</strong>rporate<br />

Governance (ESG) strategy.<br />

Solar panels and a biomass system<br />

installed at the Thainstone Centre<br />


Clockwise Credit Union<br />

launches debit card and<br />

current account<br />

Clockwise Credit Union has partnered<br />

with community banking service Engage<br />

to launch its own branded credit union<br />

debit card and current account.<br />

The Midlands credit union says the<br />

account will expand services offered to<br />

its 20,000-plus members – many of whom<br />

are excluded from, or underserved by, the<br />

traditional financial services industry.<br />

It adds that the move will transform<br />

it into a “one-st<strong>op</strong>-sh<strong>op</strong> for banking<br />

services” for pe<strong>op</strong>le in <strong>Co</strong>ventry,<br />

Warwickshire, Leicestershire, Rutland<br />

and Northamptonshire.<br />

ensure that the group’s heating and hot<br />

water is powered through clean, green<br />

energy. ANM Group is also taking steps<br />

to manage its waste more efficiently,<br />

with the installation of waste recycling<br />

and compactor facilities on site to reduce<br />

landfill.<br />

CEO Grant Rogerson said: “Investing in<br />

our future is key to ANM Group’s values.<br />

In our 150th year we have launched our<br />

#ANMBeyond150 campaign, that will<br />

Digital banking functions on offer<br />

through the new account include realtime<br />

debit card transactions and account<br />

information through the Clockwise<br />

mobile app. All funds will sit in Clockwise<br />

accounts, which means member funds are<br />

protected under the Financial Services<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mpensation Scheme (FSCS).<br />

Chief executive Teresa Manning said:<br />

“We pride ourselves on being one of<br />

the UK’s most progressive financial co<strong>op</strong>eratives,<br />

as evidenced by the expansion<br />

of our partnership with Engage – another<br />

organisation that is committed to making<br />

the financial services sector fairer for all.<br />

“The partnership means we can provide<br />

members with a modern, cost-effective<br />

card and account, allowing us to compete<br />

effectively with major banking brands.”<br />

Since 2010, Engage has partnered with<br />

more than 150 UK credit unions and<br />

highlight the good work that is already<br />

underway in the industry to tackle the<br />

climate challenge head on and futureproof<br />

the industry for the next generations.<br />

“As one of the only businesses in<br />

Aberdeenshire to host 17 electric charging<br />

points, we are delighted to be at the<br />

forefront helping to build an infrastructure<br />

for hybrid electric vehicles and continuing<br />

to support our sustainability plans for the<br />

next 150 years.”<br />

offered more than 250,000 debit cards and<br />

accounts. It says it provides “state-of-theart<br />

digital cloud-based banking and backoffice<br />

technology to credit union partners,<br />

enabling them to remain sustainable and<br />

compete effectively with big banks and<br />

fintechs”.<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 11


Farmers face ‘eyewatering’<br />

input costs,<br />

warns buyers’ co-<strong>op</strong><br />

UK farmers face “eye-watering” inflation<br />

in input costs, the country’s biggest<br />

farmer-owned buying group says in its<br />

latest report.<br />

The Interim Aginflation Index from<br />

AF, which represents more than 3,000<br />

farmer members, says that no farming<br />

enterprise has been able to avoid double<br />

digit inflation – and the cost of farming<br />

inputs has increased by 23.28% in just six<br />

months to the end of March <strong>2022</strong>.<br />

This comes on t<strong>op</strong> of the almost 22%<br />

increase recorded in the annual Index<br />

recorded in the year to September 2021,<br />

the co-<strong>op</strong> adds.<br />

Four out of the nine categories of inputs<br />

saw double digit inflation with animal<br />

feed, fuel and fertiliser seeing greatest<br />

increases at 27%, 29.4% and 107.7%<br />

respectively.<br />

Cereals and OSR production show the<br />

highest increases in costs at 28.05%, and<br />

sugar beet growing as the lowest but still<br />

at 18.97%.<br />

While the total food Retail Price Index<br />

has also risen – by an average of 5.6% over<br />

the same six-monh period, AF says this is<br />

not enough to cover farmers’ rising costs.<br />

The only food group to show negative<br />

inflation is potatoes at -2.3%. The dairy<br />

enterprise category has inflation reaching<br />

21.32% in the last six months. However,<br />

the increased value from milk retail of<br />

19% is closing the gap.<br />

Volatility is part of the problem over<br />

the period, says AF, but availability is<br />

also an issue. Matt Kealey, head of cr<strong>op</strong><br />

inputs at AF, said: “The turbulence in the<br />

fertiliser markets has been challenging<br />

but, through AF, members have secured<br />

product despite early concerns regarding<br />

availability. The value to members in core<br />

sectors like fertiliser and cr<strong>op</strong> protection<br />

products is the AF procurement teams’<br />

supplier networks and real time market<br />

intelligence.”<br />

AF CEO David Horton-Fawkes said:<br />

“The evidence in our latest Aginflation<br />

Index illustrates the crisis many farmers<br />

are facing, and the consequences will be<br />

felt by all of us in society.<br />

“The causes are deeply rooted and go<br />

beyond the appalling events in Ukraine<br />

and the continued lockdowns in China.<br />

Farmers are inherently resourceful, but<br />

cash flow now poses an existential threat<br />

to many businesses because some farmers<br />

simply won’t be able to afford to grow<br />

cr<strong>op</strong>s or raise livestock next year.<br />

“Beyond the immediate crisis, the<br />

combination of war and post-pandemic<br />

disruption highlights the strategic<br />

imperative to secure more resilient<br />

supplies of essential farm inputs<br />

and energy and the need to devel<strong>op</strong><br />

more collaborative relationships with<br />

supermarkets and processors.<br />

“Sadly, the most acute pain will be felt<br />

by those who can least afford to bear it,<br />

but these numbers reveal that the whole<br />

supply chain web needs to reset to secure<br />

affordable food in the UK and beyond.”<br />

Scottish potato growers form co-<strong>op</strong> to survive outside Single Market<br />

Nine seed potato growers in Scotland have<br />

formed a co-<strong>op</strong> to protect the future of the<br />

sector after being shut out of the lucrative<br />

Eur<strong>op</strong>ean market after Brexit.<br />

The Seed Potato Organisation (SPO)<br />

says it will fund research, innovation,<br />

and technical services to benefit the seed<br />

potato sector; represent the views of seed<br />

potato grower members and present<br />

evidence to governments; support the<br />

devel<strong>op</strong>ment of seed potato markets;<br />

and work to ensure the economic and<br />

environmental sustainability of the seed<br />

potato sector.<br />

It promises “an independent,<br />

transparent, and democratic organisation,<br />

set up as a co-<strong>op</strong>erative, run by seed<br />

growers for the benefit of its members.”<br />

Seed potato growers have been hit by<br />

a ban on selling their produce to Eur<strong>op</strong>e,<br />

in a row over sanitary and phytosanitary<br />

standards. After the UK’s departure from<br />

the single market, the trade and co<strong>op</strong>eration<br />

agreement with Eur<strong>op</strong>e failed<br />

to agree equivalence on seed potatoes.<br />

This has led to significant restrictions<br />

on Scottish seed exports to the EU<br />

and Northern Ireland – the Eur<strong>op</strong>ean<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmission says the ban should stay, to<br />

keep potential disease out of the EU.<br />

The SPO says it is recruiting more<br />

growers and wants to hear their views<br />

about how the co-<strong>op</strong> should be run, and is<br />

holding a series of meetings this summer.<br />

Full membership with voting rights will<br />

be <strong>op</strong>en to all growers, with each member<br />

paying a pr<strong>op</strong>osed joining fee of £2,000 to<br />

get the group up and running – a loan that<br />

will be repaid if the member leaves.<br />

Members will then pay an annual fee<br />

based on area of seed grown – expected to<br />

be around £40 a hectare in the first year.<br />

12 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>


Brighton housing co-<strong>op</strong><br />

launches affordable<br />

homes fundraiser<br />

A housing co-<strong>op</strong> in Brighton and Hove has<br />

launched a fundraiser to build its next two<br />

affordable homes.<br />

Bunker Housing <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> wants to raise<br />

up to £450,000 in loan stock over the<br />

next year through ethical investment<br />

platform Ethex. The first goal – £150,000<br />

by the end of <strong>July</strong> – will build two homes<br />

in Hollingdean, Brighton. So far the<br />

campaign has raised over £87,000.<br />

Bunker was set up in 2014 by two<br />

families who were struggling with the<br />

housing crisis in Brighton and Hove,<br />

where the average rent is 68% of the<br />

average household income. It manages<br />

two homes, built using environmentally<br />

friendly methods, on land leased from<br />

Brighton & Hove <strong>Co</strong>uncil, and plans to<br />

deliver another 15 by 2025, working with<br />

the authority to find suitable land.<br />

Cllr Siriol Hugh-Jones, co-chair of<br />

the council’s housing committee, said:<br />

“<strong>Co</strong>mmunity-led housing contributes to<br />

much-needed housing for lower-income<br />

families and individuals. We’re looking<br />

forward to continuing work with them.”<br />

Bunker member Jelena Richter said<br />

the co-<strong>op</strong> has “given me the chance to<br />

finally have a stable, long-term home<br />

that is comfortable for me and my two<br />

young children. I’m so proud to be part of<br />

bringing more housing like this, that will<br />

stay affordable to future generations – it<br />

feels really great to be able to take control<br />

of my housing in a way that has as small<br />

an impact on the planet as possible.”<br />

Agata Bogacka, Bunker co-founder and<br />

resident, said: “It’s been life-changing for<br />

our family. We were able to leave our damp,<br />

private rented house that was taking up<br />

most of our income and we’re now living<br />

in a beautiful house that we can stay in for<br />

as long as we want. It means we can see a<br />

long-term future in the city we love.”<br />

Central England launches global devel<strong>op</strong>ment project<br />

Thinktank draws up a version of Marcora law for Wales<br />

Midcounties appoints Peter Kelly as CFO<br />

Central England <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> is launching a fund<br />

to help communities around the world<br />

out of poverty, by improving their trading<br />

capacity. The first project, in Malawi, will<br />

be run with the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> <strong>Co</strong>llege and the<br />

Malawi Federation of <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives. The<br />

society, which will sell Malawian produce<br />

in its stores as part of the scheme, plans<br />

around £1m of initiatives.<br />

The Centre for Local Economic Strategies<br />

(CLES) has added its voice to calls for<br />

a Welsh version of Italy’s Marcora law,<br />

which allows workers to use their benefits<br />

to buy their company. CLES’s ideas<br />

include the devel<strong>op</strong>ment of a ring-fenced<br />

loan fund, to be administered by the<br />

Devel<strong>op</strong>ment Bank for Wales.<br />

Midcounties <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> has appointed a new<br />

chief financial officer, Peter Kelly. Mr<br />

Kelly has been with the society since 2019,<br />

and has been acting CFO since December<br />

2021. In the role he will support group<br />

CEO Phil Ponsonby “in ensuring the<br />

right financial foundations are in place”.<br />

Over time, he will also take on executive<br />

responsibility for IT.<br />

Youth football league gets funds for new HQ from CCF<br />

North Derbyshire Youth Football League,<br />

which has more than 300 teams and<br />

3,500 youth players, has secured funds<br />

for land and facilities from <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

and <strong>Co</strong>mmunity Finance’s <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Loan<br />

Fund and Charity Bank. It has agreed the<br />

freehold purchase of a site in Chesterfield,<br />

with 8.87 acres of land to create a brand<br />

new HQ and sports and social club.<br />

Executive Shaving <strong>Co</strong>mpany switches to the EO model<br />

The Executive Shaving <strong>Co</strong>mpany is the<br />

latest business in Scotland to become<br />

employee owned. All staff will now have a<br />

stake in the Glasgow-based online retailer<br />

of men’s shaving and grooming products.<br />

It one of a handful of recent transitions<br />

that has taken the total of EO businesses<br />

in Scotland to just over 200, according to<br />

Scottish Enterprise.<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 13


GLOBAL<br />

Fairtrade makes for sustainable and resilient farming, says report<br />

Being part of a Fairtrade-certified producer<br />

organisation can improve farmers’<br />

economic resilience, social wellbeing and<br />

environmental sustainability, according<br />

to a new study commissioned by Fairtrade<br />

Germany and Fairtrade Austria.<br />

The study, Assessing the Impact of<br />

Fairtrade on Poverty Reduction and<br />

Economic Resilience through Rural<br />

Devel<strong>op</strong>ment, suggests that Fairtrade<br />

certification also leads to good governance<br />

in co-<strong>op</strong>eratives.<br />

And researchers found that Fairtrade<br />

standards, Fairtrade pricing and producer<br />

support programmes positively impact<br />

certified farmers and their communities<br />

compared to non-Fairtrade certified<br />

farmers, particularly in times of difficulty<br />

and distress.<br />

They examined the same producer<br />

organisations three times over 10 years,<br />

and studied the performance of a cocoa<br />

co-<strong>op</strong> in Ghana, a coffee co-<strong>op</strong> and three<br />

banana co-<strong>op</strong>s in Peru and found their<br />

farmers had higher earnings and more<br />

savings than those in comparable non-<br />

Fairtrade organisations. For example,<br />

coffee farmer members of the Fairtradecertified<br />

La Florida co-<strong>op</strong> in Peru reported<br />

incomes 50% higher than those of non-<br />

Fairtrade farmers.<br />

“In times of crisis, it becomes evident<br />

that Fairtrade enhances farmers’<br />

economic resilience and supports them in<br />

continuing their profession in challenging<br />

times,” said Tatjana Mauthofer, researcher<br />

at Mainlevel <strong>Co</strong>nsulting and co-author of<br />

the study. “The study shows that the two<br />

Fairtrade mechanisms – the Minimum<br />

Price and the Premium – represent a<br />

crucial safety net for farmers, their small<br />

producer organisations and eventually,<br />

also their communities.”<br />

The research assesses Fairtrade’s<br />

contribution in terms of economic<br />

resilience, social wellbeing, good<br />

governance and environmental integrity<br />

and builds on two previous studies (in 2012<br />

and 2018) featuring the same Fairtradecertified<br />

producer organisations.<br />

The study makes several<br />

recommendations, including supporting<br />

product and income diversification<br />

to reduce farmers’ vulnerability and<br />

enhance their resilience; setting up credit<br />

schemes to enable farmers to modernise<br />

their farms; and providing training on<br />

financial literacy for coffee, cocoa and<br />

banana farmers.<br />

EUROPE<br />

ICMIF hails growing market share for mutual and co-<strong>op</strong> insurers<br />

Mutual and co-<strong>op</strong>erative insurers have a<br />

33.4% market share in Eur<strong>op</strong>e, according<br />

to the latest Mutual Market Share report<br />

from the International <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative and<br />

Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF).<br />

The report reveals that the sector<br />

reached a record market share high of<br />

33.4% in 2020 – a 1.6 percentage-point<br />

increase from 2019 and a 9.2 percentagepoint<br />

increase from the first available<br />

market share figure (24.2%) in 2007.<br />

It adds that Eur<strong>op</strong>ean mutuals have<br />

outperformed the total Eur<strong>op</strong>ean<br />

insurance market in short- and long-term<br />

comparisons of total, life, and non-life<br />

premium growth by 17.8, 17.2, and 11.1<br />

percentage points, respectively.<br />

In 2020 alone, Eur<strong>op</strong>ean mutual<br />

insurers collectively wrote €469bn in<br />

insurance premiums, with €200bn in life<br />

business and €268bn in non-life business.<br />

The figure represents a negative annual<br />

growth of -1.6% from the previous year<br />

(2019: €476bn) and a five-year growth of<br />

11.3% and a ten-year growth of 32.1%.<br />

“The findings are hugely encouraging<br />

and we can clearly see that the mutual<br />

and co-<strong>op</strong>erative insurance sector in<br />

Eur<strong>op</strong>e is continuing to grow incredibly<br />

well, significantly outperforming the total<br />

insurance market in Eur<strong>op</strong>e in both shortand<br />

long -term comparisons,” said ICMIF<br />

CEO Shaun Tarbuck.<br />

“In <strong>2022</strong>, ICMIF is celebrating its<br />

centenary year and to do so knowing that<br />

our sector is growing so well in Eur<strong>op</strong>e is<br />

an additional reason for us to celebrate.”<br />

Grzegorz Buczkowski, president of<br />

the Association of Mutual Insurers and<br />

Insurance <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>eratives in Eur<strong>op</strong>e (AMICE)<br />

said: “Eur<strong>op</strong>e’s mutual and co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

insurers have shown great resilience in<br />

the face of the global pandemic challenge,<br />

and this is reflected in this report.<br />

“Even under the pandemic pressures<br />

across the region, Eur<strong>op</strong>e’s life and nonlife<br />

mutual/co-<strong>op</strong>erative insurance market<br />

share increased from the previous year.<br />

“The 10-year trends indicate the<br />

continuing attraction of the mutual/co<strong>op</strong><br />

insurance model, with total growth<br />

in premium of 32.1% over the period,<br />

resulting in premium income of €469bn<br />

in 2020. In 2020, mutual/co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

insurers registered a market share of<br />

33.4%, representing more than 25% of the<br />

local market in 13 countries.”<br />

Mr Buczkowski added that local legal<br />

recognitions of the mutual insurance<br />

model vary, reflecting national<br />

characteristics and market devel<strong>op</strong>ments.<br />

“Irrespective of these local differences,<br />

the model has a vital role in individual<br />

countries and across Eur<strong>op</strong>e, empowering<br />

policyholders, offering diversity and<br />

competition in the marketplace, and<br />

providing economic stability,” he said.<br />

14 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>


Fonterra takes hit to Sri Lanka business but hails ‘solid’ performance<br />

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

seen its sales volumes hit by events<br />

around the world, including political<br />

uncertainty in Sri Lanka which t<strong>op</strong>pled<br />

the value of the rupee.<br />

In his third-quarterly statement, CEO<br />

Miles Hurrell said: “The significant<br />

deterioration of economic conditions in<br />

Sri Lanka has seen rapid devaluation<br />

of the Sri Lankan rupee against the<br />

US dollar.<br />

“This means it takes more Sri Lankan<br />

rupee to pay for product purchased from<br />

New Zealand, which is sold in US dollars,<br />

and has resulted in an $81m adverse<br />

revaluation of our Sri Lankan business<br />

payables owing to New Zealand. This<br />

has been reflected in our normalised<br />

Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT),<br />

which may continue to vary as Sri Lanka’s<br />

currency fluctuates.”<br />

The global milk market – which has<br />

long been marked by volatility – has<br />

been rocked by events around the world,<br />

including fresh <strong>Co</strong>vid lockdowns in China<br />

and the war in Ukraine, hitting Fonterra’s<br />

sales volumes for the nine months ending<br />

30 April.<br />

“As an exporter, many of the markets<br />

we <strong>op</strong>erate in have been prone to sudden<br />

shocks,” said Mr Hurrell, “which can<br />

impact what we sell, where we sell it and<br />

when, but right now we’re feeling the<br />

impact of multiple events across multiple<br />

markets.<br />

“We are actively managing the<br />

challenges arising from <strong>Co</strong>vid-19 and other<br />

ge<strong>op</strong>olitical and macroeconomic events.<br />

However, increasing market volatility<br />

and uncertainty, ongoing supply chain<br />

disruptions and growing inflationary<br />

pressures have added increased<br />

complexity.<br />

“I want to thank our employees for<br />

delivering a solid financial performance<br />

despite the challenging global conditions,<br />

and also our farmer owners, sharemilkers<br />

and contract milkers who are managing<br />

increasing costs on-farm.”<br />

He said the co-<strong>op</strong>’s global AMENA<br />

business (which covers Eur<strong>op</strong>e,<br />

Middle East & Africa, North Asia & the<br />

Americas) “continued to deliver a strong<br />

performance. Normalised EBIT was<br />

$406m, up 30% due to improved gross<br />

margins in our Ingredients channel,<br />

and a strong performance from our<br />

Chilean business.<br />

“In Greater China, ingredients<br />

continued to benefit from increased sales<br />

of higher margin products. However,<br />

normalised EBIT was down 17% to $317m,<br />

due to continued pressure on our margins<br />

from the higher milk price, particularly<br />

in Foodservice, as well as the <strong>Co</strong>vid-19<br />

lockdowns. We also expect the impact of<br />

the lockdowns to show up in our fourth<br />

quarter results.<br />

“Aside from some supermarkets, all<br />

restaurants and other food outlets were<br />

closed in Shanghai in early April to<br />

contain the Omicron outbreak. While<br />

restrictions have started to ease, a<br />

number of food outlets remain closed,<br />

while other cities across China are facing<br />

<strong>Co</strong>vid-19 restrictions. The impacts of this,<br />

and the disruptions to supply chains,<br />

have been felt across the market and<br />

is reflected in our Greater China sales<br />

volumes which are down on the same<br />

time last year.”<br />

But, he added, the outlook is still<br />

positive with the <strong>op</strong>ening forecast<br />

Farmgate Milk Price for the <strong>2022</strong>/23 season<br />

set at $8.25 – $9.75 per kgMS, with a<br />

midpoint of $9 per kgMS.<br />

Mr Hurrell says this reflects strong<br />

demand for dairy coupled with<br />

constrained global supply.<br />

“On the supply side, growth from key<br />

milk producing regions is expected to<br />

remain constrained as high feed, fertiliser<br />

and energy costs continue to impact<br />

production volumes. These demand and<br />

supply dynamics are expected to support<br />

dairy prices in the medium to long-term.<br />

“However, we are <strong>op</strong>erating in an<br />

increasingly volatile global environment<br />

and are managing a wider range of risks<br />

than usual.<br />

“This includes the potential for further<br />

impacts from <strong>Co</strong>vid-19, financial markets<br />

and foreign exchange volatility, global<br />

inflationary pressures, a tightening<br />

labour market, increasing interest rates,<br />

ge<strong>op</strong>olitical events, as well as the possible<br />

impact on demand from higher dairy<br />

prices.<br />

“This is why our <strong>2022</strong>/23 forecast range<br />

is so wide at this point in the season.”<br />

For the 2021/22 season, Fonterra has<br />

maintained its 2021/22 forecast Farmgate<br />

Milk Price of $9.10 – $9.50 per kgMS.<br />

Total Group normalised EBIT was<br />

$825m, down $134mn reflecting lower<br />

sales volumes, continued pressure on<br />

margins from the significantly higher<br />

milk price, and uncertain global events.<br />

Fonterra’s Normalised Profit After Tax fell<br />

down $131m to $472m.<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 15

USA<br />

Electric co-<strong>op</strong>s respond to Biden’s plans to boost clean energy<br />

Rural electric co-<strong>op</strong>s in the USA have<br />

welcomed the government’s latest steps<br />

to accelerate the production of energy<br />

technology and equipment.<br />

On 6 June President Biden authorised<br />

the US Department of Energy (DOE) to<br />

use the Defense Production Act (DPA) to<br />

accelerate domestic production of five key<br />

energy technologies: solar; transformers<br />

and electric grid components; heat<br />

pumps; insulation; and electrolisers, fuel<br />

cells, and platinum group metals.<br />

The move comes as the crisis in Ukraine<br />

increases pressure on the global energy<br />

system, prompting the US to seek ways to<br />

reduce its dependence on gas and oil, with<br />

fossil fuel supply lines always vulnerable<br />

in times of conflict.<br />

It will allow the country to “take|<br />

ownership of its clean energy<br />

independence,” said energy secretary<br />

Jennifer Granholm. “For too long the<br />

nation’s clean energy supply chain has<br />

been over-reliant on foreign sources and<br />

adversarial nations. With the new authority,<br />

DOE can help strengthen domestic solar,<br />

heat pump and grid manufacturing<br />

Photo: iStock<br />

industries while fortifying America’s<br />

economic security creating good-paying<br />

jobs, and lowering utility costs.”<br />

Jim Matheson, CEO of the National Rural<br />

Electric <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Association (NRECA)<br />

said that the country’s electric co-<strong>op</strong>s have<br />

already raised “serious questions about<br />

supply chain disruptions to materials<br />

necessary for reliable <strong>op</strong>eration of the<br />

nation’s electric infrastructure”.<br />

“Shortages of transformers pose a risk<br />

to normal electric grid <strong>op</strong>erations as well<br />

as recovery efforts for systems disrupted<br />

by a natural disaster,” he added. “The<br />

Biden administration’s use of the DPA to<br />

shorten lead times for supplies of electric<br />

transformers is a much-needed step to<br />

support reliability and resilience, and<br />

NRECA urges inclusion of all stakeholders<br />

in the implementation process as well as<br />

additional measures to avoid unnecessary<br />

interruptions to electric grid <strong>op</strong>erations.”<br />

Assessment work has revealed potential<br />

challenges to electric reliability in several<br />

states, warned Mr Matheson, and NRECA<br />

has sought relief for supply chain shortages<br />

across the electric sector.<br />

“That’s particularly true in fast-growing<br />

areas of our country and where severe<br />

storms threaten our commitment to<br />

reliable electricity for 42 million electric<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>erative members,” he added.<br />

“America’s electric co-<strong>op</strong>eratives look<br />

forward to continuing to work with the<br />

Biden administration and <strong>Co</strong>ngress to<br />

reduce supply chain vulnerabilities<br />

in the short term while we increase<br />

domestic capability to meet our future<br />

needs. American families and businesses<br />

rightfully expect the lights to stay on at a<br />

price they can afford. A diverse energy mix<br />

that includes adequate baseload supply<br />

and an assured supply chain are essential<br />

to meet those expectations.”<br />

EUROPE<br />

RESco<strong>op</strong> raps<br />

MEPs over vote on<br />

climate change plans<br />

The renewable energy co-<strong>op</strong> sector has<br />

criticised MEPs for voting down plans to<br />

toughen up the carbon trading rules.<br />

After a debate on 8 June, the Eur<strong>op</strong>ean<br />

Parliament rejected plans to amend the EU<br />

Emissions Trading System (ETS) to include<br />

carbon from transport and construction.<br />

The pr<strong>op</strong>osals would have also removed<br />

current exceptions to the carbon-trading<br />

scheme for Eur<strong>op</strong>ean industry while<br />

introducing a carbon tax on imports at the<br />

EU’s borders.<br />

Another change would have introduced<br />

a social climate fund to help low-income<br />

households to pay for energy-efficiency<br />

improvements.<br />

The Eur<strong>op</strong>ean federation of citizen<br />

energy co-<strong>op</strong>eratives, RESco<strong>op</strong>, said the<br />

vote is a setback in the fight for a social<br />

just transition away from carbon.<br />

“Today the Eur<strong>op</strong>ean Parliament failed<br />

to find common ground for the revision of<br />

ETS, also moving the vote for the Social<br />

Climate Fund to September. We need a<br />

Just Transition now,” it wrote on Twitter.<br />

However, MEPs did vote to end the sale<br />

of petrol and diesel cars by 2035.<br />

The pr<strong>op</strong>osals around ETS form part<br />

of the Eur<strong>op</strong>ean <strong>Co</strong>mmission’s Fit for 55<br />

legislative package, which sets out the<br />

plan for a green transition under the EU<br />

Green Deal.<br />

RES<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong> argues that using the Social<br />

Climate Fund (SCF) to buffer the Fit for 55<br />

package’s social impact means “a reactive,<br />

rather than a much-needed proactive or<br />

strategic approach”.<br />

A policy paper from the apex said:<br />

“The Fund should not be designed as a<br />

reactive measure for regressive climate<br />

policy, but as a proactive measure to<br />

address structural drivers of energy<br />

poverty and vulnerability. Holding the<br />

SCF hostage to a process of fundraising<br />

through the ETS is likely to je<strong>op</strong>ardise any<br />

Photo: iStock<br />

attempt at regaining acceptability through<br />

redistributional measures. Therefore, its<br />

creation should be decoupled from the<br />

extension of the ETS to buildings and<br />

transport.”<br />

RESco<strong>op</strong> is calling for policymakers<br />

to back community energy initiatives,<br />

which it says can play a meaningful role<br />

in addressing social justice issues and<br />

empowering low-income and vulnerable<br />

households.<br />

The pr<strong>op</strong>osed laws will now be sent back<br />

to the Eur<strong>op</strong>ean Parliament’s Environment<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmittee to be re-negotiated.<br />

16 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>

USA<br />

New solar<br />

array sees New Mexico<br />

electric co-<strong>op</strong> offer 100%<br />

daytime clean power<br />

Kit Carson Electric <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative (KCEC),<br />

based in New Mexico, says it is now able to<br />

supply 100% of its daytime summer energy<br />

from solar power.<br />

The co-<strong>op</strong>, in partnership with Guzman<br />

Energy, completed the 15-MW Taos Mesa<br />

Solar Array on June 3. It says the facility can<br />

supply around 7,500 homes with locally<br />

generated renewable energy.<br />

The 170-acre project, near Taos, is part of<br />

Kit Carson’s overall solar capacity of 41MW<br />

across its territory plus 15 MW of battery<br />

storage.<br />

“When we partnered with Guzman<br />

Energy in 2016, we set an ambitious goal<br />

of becoming one of the cleanest energy<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>eratives in America,” said CEO Luis<br />

A. Reyes, Jr. “Providing our members with<br />

100% daytime solar power, delivered by<br />

locally built and maintained solar arrays<br />

and battery storage while also reducing cost<br />

for our members, is an accomplishment we<br />

are incredibly proud of. We are serving our<br />

members the clean power they’ve been<br />

asking for while lowering costs, and we’re<br />

also helping to meet our state’s overall<br />

climate change action initiatives.”<br />

New Mexico state governor Michelle<br />

Lujan Grisham, who has pledged a<br />

statewide 45% cut in greenhouse gas<br />

emissions by 2030, attended the ribbon<br />

cutting, noting that KCEC is leading the<br />

way for other co-<strong>op</strong>eratives around the<br />

state and the country in driving the energy<br />

transition.<br />

Kit Carson is one of several electric co<strong>op</strong>s<br />

making a switch to renewables in<br />

the USA, and in 2016 led the exodus from<br />

Tri-State, an umbrella co-<strong>op</strong> acting as a<br />

wholesale supplier with a heavy reliance<br />

on fossil fuels.<br />

The process has involved much legal<br />

wrangling and costly buyouts for electric<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s – although Tri-State says it is now<br />

in the process of ad<strong>op</strong>ting more renewable<br />

energy itself.<br />

Other electric co-<strong>op</strong>s have been trying<br />

to leave their wholesale contracts but<br />

have had their bids dismissed in court. In<br />

separate judgments in April, Dakota Energy<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative was told its contract with East<br />

River Power <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative must run through<br />

2075, while Marlboro Electric <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative,<br />

in South Carolina, was ordered to wait until<br />

its contract with Central Electric Power<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative expires at the end of 2058.<br />

Kit Carson has been using Guzman as<br />

its supplier since leaving Tri-State and<br />

says the move offers more control over its<br />

energy mix, and gives its members more<br />

cost-effective and rate-stable local energy.<br />

It will complete repayment of its exit fee<br />

from Tri-State by the end of June <strong>2022</strong>,<br />

adding that its members will see a decrease<br />

in their electric bills with savings of up to<br />

25% under the new arrangement.<br />

Other recent devel<strong>op</strong>ments in solar<br />

for the US electric co-<strong>op</strong> sector include a<br />

purchase agreement for a 98mW project<br />

in Louisiana. The Bayou Galion solar<br />

project, devel<strong>op</strong>ed by Recurrent Energy,<br />

in Morehouse Parish, will serve five rural<br />

electric co-<strong>op</strong>s, and is capable of powering<br />

more than 18,000 homes and offsetting<br />

the equivalent of 170 metric tons of CO2<br />

emissions per year.<br />

It will form part of 1803 Electric <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>’s<br />

portfolio of solar power. The co-<strong>op</strong> said:<br />

“Being able to provide a reduction in future<br />

rates for our members is extraordinary.<br />

We are pleased to partner with Recurrent<br />

Energy, a well-respected solar and energy<br />

storage devel<strong>op</strong>er, and we look forward to<br />

bringing this project online.”<br />

Meanwhile in <strong>Co</strong>lorado, Holy Cross<br />

Energy (HCE) has honoured the memory of<br />

its member Adam Palmer – a campaigner<br />

for social justice and sustainable energy<br />

who was killed in a skiing accident – by<br />

building a solar array in his name.<br />

A team of 80 volunteers built the Adam<br />

Palmer Solar Garden, a community array<br />

that will move the town closer to its goal of<br />

80% clean energy by 2050 and provide a<br />

way for low-income co-<strong>op</strong> members to save<br />

money on their bills with local renewables.<br />

“He was such a force in the community;<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le really wanted to do something.<br />

Throughout the two days, pe<strong>op</strong>le just<br />

kept showing up,” Jenna Weatherred,<br />

vice president of member and community<br />

relations at Holy Cross Energy, told the<br />

website of national sector apex NRECA.<br />

The 200-kilowatt solar garden uses a<br />

“racking system” designed by PowerField<br />

Energy that requires no construction to<br />

install. Another 200-kilowatt garden using<br />

the same technology is located at HCE’s<br />

headquarters in Glenwood Springs.<br />

The memorial solar garden is the co-<strong>op</strong>’s<br />

second offering under its Income-Qualified<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmunity Solar programme, which cuts<br />

bills in half for members earning 80% of<br />

the median area income.<br />

There are still concerns over barriers to<br />

the growth of renewables in the electric<br />

co-<strong>op</strong> sector, in terms of capacity and<br />

knowledge, and New Mexico-based<br />

consultancy Cliburn and Associates has<br />

created online resources to introduce rural<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s to the clean energy industry, with<br />

guide to the initial steps of planning and<br />

purchasing.<br />

Solar-Plus for Electric <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>s (SPECs)<br />

was launched in 2020 “to help <strong>op</strong>timise the<br />

planning, procurement, and <strong>op</strong>erations of<br />

battery storage and solar-plus-storage for<br />

electric co-<strong>op</strong>eratives”.<br />

SPECs was selected by the US Department<br />

of Energy’s National Renewable Energy<br />

Laboratory (NREL) for Round 2 of the Solar<br />

Energy Innovation Network (SEIN). The<br />

SPECs team also includes North Carolina<br />

Clean Energy Technology Center, <strong>Co</strong>bb<br />

Electric Membership <strong>Co</strong>rporation, Kit<br />

Carson, United Power, and other leaders<br />

from the co-<strong>op</strong> sector and the storage<br />

industry.<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 17

USA<br />

US co-<strong>op</strong>erators condemn white supremacy after the Buffalo shootings<br />

National <strong>Co</strong>+<strong>op</strong> Grocers (NCG) says it is<br />

“heartbroken” by the mass shooting in<br />

Buffalo, NY, where a gunman killed 10<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le and wounded three more.<br />

The attack, on 14 May, took place in a<br />

supermarket in a predominantly Black<br />

neighbourhood on the city’s east side; 11<br />

of the victims were Black. A white 18-yearold<br />

male has been arrested and charged<br />

with first-degree murder.<br />

A statement from NCG said: “We grieve<br />

with the families of those whose lives were<br />

taken and with everyone who is suffering<br />

in the Black community. As one grocer<br />

to another, we extend solidarity and<br />

empathy to the staff and sh<strong>op</strong>pers of T<strong>op</strong>s<br />

Market on Jefferson, where this brutal act<br />

took place.<br />

“This was the latest in a series of mass<br />

shootings that have been fuelled by<br />

white supremacy, deliberately targeting<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le based on their race, religion or<br />

sexuality.”<br />

Figures from the US Justice Department<br />

show that the number of hate crimes<br />

rose over 30% in 2020, the last date for<br />

which national data is available. Racially<br />

motivated hate crimes accounted for<br />

nearly 62% of these incidents, with the<br />

Black community being the most targeted<br />

group.<br />

p The supermarket in Buffalo, NY, where the attack was carried out (Photo: Andre Carrotflower / Wiki CC)<br />

NCG – a business services co-<strong>op</strong><br />

representing 148 food co-<strong>op</strong>s <strong>op</strong>erating<br />

over 200 stores in 38 states in the US –<br />

said it “advocates concern for community<br />

as one of our core co-<strong>op</strong> principles and<br />

advocates for racial equity.<br />

“We condemn white supremacy and any<br />

ideology that suggests a race or group of<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le is genetically or culturally superior<br />

to another. We call on other companies to<br />

join us in standing against the continued<br />

spread of racially based <strong>op</strong>pression,<br />

intolerance and violent extremism.”<br />

It added: “We applaud T<strong>op</strong>s Market<br />

for its efforts to support its sh<strong>op</strong>pers and<br />

staff during this time, and although we<br />

are competitors in business, we stand<br />

together in community.”<br />

NCG is also directing pe<strong>op</strong>le looking<br />

to support victims and their families to a<br />

GoFundMe list of verified fundraisers.<br />

Feed Buffalo and FeedMore WNY can<br />

help supply the community with food<br />

while their grocery store is temporarily<br />

closed, it added.<br />

Its statement also contains a series<br />

of links to organisations and resources<br />

working against white supremacy,<br />

including the National Association for the<br />

Advancement of <strong>Co</strong>lored Pe<strong>op</strong>le (NAACP),<br />

American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU),<br />

and Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).<br />


War-weary credit union staff receive mental<br />

health support through Woccu project<br />

Seventy-eight employees from Ukrainian<br />

credit unions participated in online<br />

meetings with a professional psychologist<br />

as part of an initiative led by World <strong>Co</strong>uncil<br />

of Credit Unions’ Credit for Agriculture<br />

Producers (CAP) Project, a USAID-funded<br />

activity.<br />

Participants included some credit<br />

union professionals from occupied areas<br />

of Ukraine, who learned about various<br />

techniques for restoring the psychological<br />

balance disrupted by the war.<br />

“I have been meeting some friends<br />

and relatives and helping them evacuate<br />

abroad,” an attendee said during the<br />

meeting. “The situation of pe<strong>op</strong>le being<br />

separated, of what they experienced in<br />

the east [of Ukraine], made very heavy<br />

and painful impressions – feelings of rage<br />

and inability to change the situation.”<br />

A post-event survey revealed that<br />

more than a half of participants had not<br />

directly experienced life in a conflict<br />

zone or occupied region, or lost pr<strong>op</strong>erty.<br />

But 55% assessed the impact of war on<br />

their physical and psychological state as<br />

high, evaluating their need for further<br />

individual or group psychological support<br />

as seven out of a possible 10.<br />

The psychologist told attendees she<br />

would be available for confidential oneon-one<br />

sessions.<br />

The CAP Project began in 2016 as a fouryear<br />

project to strengthen the credit union<br />

sector in Ukraine and improve the quality<br />

of the financial services and products<br />

offered to farmers and agribusinesses in<br />

rural areas in the country.<br />

Implemented by WOCCU, the project<br />

was extended through March 2023 after<br />

securing additional funding from the<br />

USAID, which backed the project from its<br />

inception.<br />

18 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>

CANADA<br />

Mutual insurer launches climate adaptability home coverages in Canada<br />

Canadian mutual insurer Wawanesa has<br />

launched two new insurance products to<br />

help its Canadian customers increase the<br />

climate resilience of their homes.<br />

The two products, which are being<br />

made available by Wawanesa through<br />

independent insurance brokers, are<br />

Stronger Home coverage and Eco-Friendly<br />

coverage.<br />

Stronger Home covers the cost of more<br />

resilient materials to be used on roofing<br />

repairs or replacement when a loss occurs.<br />

Eco-Friendly will pay out for the increased<br />

cost of repairing or replacing a pr<strong>op</strong>erty<br />

with Energy Star rated products and ecofriendly<br />

materials when a loss occurs.<br />

Last year Canadian insurers paid out<br />

over CA $2.1bn collectively for climaterelated<br />

disaster damage.<br />

Wawanesa, the largest pr<strong>op</strong>erty and<br />

casualty mutual insurer in Canada, has<br />

been working with Climate Proof Canada,<br />

Nature Force, the Institute of Catastr<strong>op</strong>hic<br />

Loss Reduction, and the Insurance Bureau<br />

of Canada to advocate for greater climate<br />

resilience nationally.<br />

Its president of Canadian pr<strong>op</strong>erty and<br />

casualty <strong>op</strong>erations, Carol Jardine, said:<br />

“As a mutual company, we believe we have<br />

a responsibility to help our customers be<br />

more resilient and aware of how we can<br />

reduce the impact of climate change on<br />

our homes, communities and planet.<br />

“These new products will help<br />

EUROPE<br />

Credit unions notch up a win on fair regulation under the EU<br />

Canadians better adapt to severe weather<br />

associated with climate change and<br />

mitigate damage to their pr<strong>op</strong>erty.”<br />

She added: “We have been helping our<br />

customers recover from disasters for over<br />

125 years and we are proud to step up<br />

with our broker partners and help more<br />

Canadians learn how they can protect<br />

their homes from the risks of climate<br />

change.”<br />

Credit unions in Eur<strong>op</strong>e will receive<br />

pr<strong>op</strong>ortional treatment when it comes<br />

to the requirements of a new EU digital<br />

resilience regulation, according to a<br />

provisional agreement reached by The<br />

Eur<strong>op</strong>ean <strong>Co</strong>uncil presidency and Eur<strong>op</strong>ean<br />

Parliament last week.<br />

The agreement marks a win for the World<br />

<strong>Co</strong>uncil of Credit Unions (Woccu) and its<br />

partner, the Eur<strong>op</strong>ean Network of Credit<br />

Unions (ENCU), which had called for a<br />

pr<strong>op</strong>ortional approach to be included in the<br />

regulation that would allow policymakers<br />

to consider the size, nature, scale and<br />

complexity of credit union services,<br />

activities and <strong>op</strong>erations.<br />

The Digital Operational Resilience Act<br />

(DORA) sets out a number of regulatory<br />

requirements for financial institutions<br />

around security risks for information<br />

and communications technology (ICT).<br />

These include implementing governance<br />

frameworks to manage risks, carrying out<br />

digital resilience testing, managing ICT<br />

third-party risk and reporting major ICTrelated<br />

incidents.<br />

MEP Billy Kelleher, lead MEP responsible<br />

for the regulation, described DORA as “a key<br />

step in building up the EU’s cyber-resilience<br />

at the point where financial services and ICT<br />

interact”, adding: “The agreement provides<br />

for robust ICT risk management, testing<br />

and reporting requirements while at the<br />

same time future-proofing the legislation,<br />

adhering to the principle of pr<strong>op</strong>ortionality<br />

and protecting competition.”<br />

A key way in which the agreement takes<br />

pr<strong>op</strong>ortionality into account is by allowing<br />

member states to establish rules for<br />

institutions that are exempt under the EU<br />

Capital Requirements Directive.<br />

Woccu’s senior vice president of<br />

advocacy and general counsel, Andrew<br />

Price, has previously stressed the need<br />

for international bodies to allow for the<br />

tailoring of regulations when it comes to<br />

community-based financial institutions<br />

such as credit unions.<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 19


UAE government partners with ICA to boost national co-<strong>op</strong> sector<br />

p Balu Iyer of ICA-AP with UAE representatives, including Abdullah Al Saleh, undersecretary of the ministry (Photo: UAE Ministry of Economy)<br />

The United Arab Emirates is taking steps<br />

to boost its co-<strong>op</strong>erative sector as it looks<br />

to diversify its economy, and has brought<br />

in the International <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Alliance<br />

(ICA) for support.<br />

A co-<strong>op</strong>eration agreement has been<br />

signed by the national Ministry of<br />

Economy with the ICA, which is working<br />

with its Asia-Pacific office (ICA-AP).<br />

The ministry says it will promote co-<strong>op</strong>s<br />

as a tool for sustainable devel<strong>op</strong>ment,<br />

and also intends to amend the country’s<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>erative legislation to help grow the<br />

sector and raise awareness of the model.<br />

The ICA-AP team will provide support<br />

during this process, highlighting best<br />

international practices. This will see it<br />

work with the ministry to devel<strong>op</strong> a longterm<br />

strategy for the national co-<strong>op</strong> sector,<br />

identifying challenges and suggesting<br />

measures to improve its performance.<br />

The UAE is home to 42 co-<strong>op</strong>s, mostly in<br />

the retail sector, running 200 outlets and<br />

branches nationwide with a cumulative<br />

profit of more than one billion dirhams.<br />

The goal is to help set up co-<strong>op</strong>s in other<br />

sectors and increase their contribution to<br />

the country’s GDP from less than 1% at<br />

present to 5% by 2031.<br />

The agreement was signed on 17 May<br />

by Abdullah Al Saleh, undersecretary of<br />

the ministry, and Balasubramanian Iyer,<br />

regional director, ICA-AP.<br />

“The co-<strong>op</strong>erative sector plays a pivotal<br />

role in achieving the goals of sustainable<br />

economic and social devel<strong>op</strong>ment for<br />

the UAE, and is an important tributary to<br />

the competitiveness and diversification<br />

of the national economy,” said Mr Al<br />

Saleh. “To improve its performance in<br />

accordance with the best international<br />

practices and enhance its role in the<br />

new economic model of the country, the<br />

country has achieved regional leadership<br />

in devel<strong>op</strong>ing the co-<strong>op</strong>erative model and<br />

providing the environment and policies<br />

that stimulate its growth.”<br />

The UAE has recently allowed the listing<br />

and trading of co-<strong>op</strong> shares in its financial<br />

markets. “We continue our efforts today to<br />

complete the devel<strong>op</strong>ment plan for the co<strong>op</strong><br />

sector to take its deserved role as one<br />

of the drivers of diversity, sustainability,<br />

innovation, high productivity and the<br />

transformation towards the future<br />

economy in the UAE,” said Mr Al Saleh.<br />

“<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives align well with the<br />

UAE’s centennial pillars,” said Mr Iyer,<br />

“which call for the government to be<br />

supportive and future looking, building<br />

a diversified economy, promoting values<br />

in education, and building a happy and<br />

inclusive society.<br />

“Through our engagement, we will<br />

bring in international experiences, and<br />

showcase relevant models from different<br />

countries. Our approach will be to help<br />

promote the co-<strong>op</strong>erative model, increase<br />

awareness, help engage youth and<br />

women, build capacity and in the process<br />

increase visibility and contribution of co<strong>op</strong>eratives<br />

in the UAE.”<br />


National co-<strong>op</strong> apex elects James O’Donnell its new president<br />

James O’Donnell has been elected<br />

president of the Irish <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

Organisation Society (ICOS), taking over<br />

from Jerry Long who has retired after three<br />

years in the role.<br />

Mr O’Donnell has served as vicepresident<br />

of the national sector body for<br />

the past four years and has chaired its<br />

Finance and Governance <strong>Co</strong>mmittee and<br />

Rural Business <strong>Co</strong>mmittee. A dairy farmer<br />

from Golden, <strong>Co</strong>. Tipperary and a member<br />

of Dairygold <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>, he serves as chair of<br />

South Tipperary Farm Relief Service <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative,<br />

and represents the National <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong><br />

Farm Relief Service on the ICOS board.<br />

The vote, at an ICOS board meeting, also<br />

saw Edward Carr, chair of Arrabawn <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>,<br />

elected vice-president. A dairy farmer<br />

from Milestone, <strong>Co</strong>. Tipperary, Mr Carr is a<br />

member of the ICOS Dairy <strong>Co</strong>mmittee.<br />

20 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>


Women<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>erators honoured<br />

at inaugural co-<strong>op</strong> night<br />

Photo credit: SNCF<br />

The Singapore National <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

Federation (SNCF) honoured important<br />

co-<strong>op</strong> women at its inaugural <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong><br />

Movement Night on 3 June.<br />

More than 260 pe<strong>op</strong>le attended the<br />

event, which also celebrated the resilience<br />

of Singapore’ co-<strong>op</strong>s during the pandemic.<br />

Guest of honour was Yeo Wan Ling – an<br />

MP, and director of U SME and Women &<br />

Family Unit at the National Trades Union<br />

<strong>Co</strong>ngress (NTUC).<br />

“I’m glad to know that in Singapore,<br />

more than 80% of the co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

workforce are women,” she said. “Women<br />

play an important role in our nation’s<br />

devel<strong>op</strong>ment as they bring to the table<br />

different ideas and perspectives to<br />

complement their teams, which spark<br />

creativity and innovation crucial for<br />

business sustainability.”<br />

The event also featured Shena Foo,<br />

director of Seacare <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Ltd,<br />

a member of SNCF’s executive council<br />

(EXCO). She said: “The co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

space can be an enabler to help women<br />

to become meaningful contributors in<br />

their communities. At the workplace, we<br />

can nurture women through mentorship,<br />

leadership devel<strong>op</strong>ment and networking.<br />

Having worked for an organisation<br />

that empowers women, I have had<br />

many <strong>op</strong>portunities to offer different<br />

perspectives and ideas to others. I strongly<br />

believe that harnessing the strengths<br />

of empowered women can improve an<br />

organisation’s performance and success.”<br />

Ai Ling Thian, general manager of My<br />

First Skool and afterschool by NTUC First<br />

Campus and a member of EXCO, added:<br />

“As women, we must advocate and support<br />

one another. While it is important to hone<br />

our own skills, we should also honour and<br />

celebrate the gifts and strengths of other<br />

women too.”<br />

Dubai’s Union <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong> to phase out single-use plastic bags<br />

ILO ad<strong>op</strong>ts conclusions on social and solidarity economy<br />

Credit: ILO<br />

Union <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong> is limiting the sale of singleuse<br />

plastic bags from <strong>July</strong>, in line with<br />

the Executive <strong>Co</strong>uncil of Dubai’s move<br />

to introduce a tariff on single-use plastic<br />

bags from <strong>July</strong> <strong>2022</strong>, building to an<br />

outright ban in two years’ time. From 1 <strong>July</strong><br />

all retail stores, restaurants, pharmacies,<br />

and e-commerce deliveries in Dubai, will<br />

have to charge 25 fils (0,25 dirham/ 0.054)<br />

on single-use bags.<br />

The International Labour <strong>Co</strong>nference,<br />

held in Geneva last month, has ad<strong>op</strong>ted<br />

a set of conclusions on decent work and<br />

the social and solidarity economy (SSE),<br />

which includes co-<strong>op</strong>s. At its next meeting<br />

in November, the International Labour<br />

Organization will examine how these<br />

conclusions, which include a definition of<br />

the SSE, can be put into practice.<br />

Malaysian co-<strong>op</strong> Angkasa and India’s IFFCO to collaborate<br />

Angkasa, the national body for Malaysia’s<br />

co-<strong>op</strong> sector, has signed a memorandum<br />

of understanding (MoU) with the Indian<br />

Farmers Fertiliser <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Limited<br />

(IFFCO).<br />

The MoU is aimed at <strong>op</strong>ening more<br />

business <strong>op</strong>portunities to the co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

movements in Malaysia and India..<br />

Serbian energy co-<strong>op</strong> launches crowdfunder for solar plants<br />

Serbian energy co-<strong>op</strong> Elektr<strong>op</strong>ionir has<br />

launched a crowdfunding campaign for<br />

two solar power plants in villages on the<br />

Stara planina mountain, in the south-east<br />

of the country.<br />

These will be the first solar plants in<br />

the country to be run by a co-<strong>op</strong>, Balkan<br />

Green Energy <strong>News</strong> reports.<br />

Crédit Agricole moves towards oil and gas phase out<br />

French co-<strong>op</strong>erative bank Crédit Agricole<br />

has announced commitments to move<br />

away from oil and gas financing in a plan<br />

released on 22 June.<br />

‘2025 Ambitions’ sets out a number of<br />

short, medium and long-term goals for<br />

France’s second largest bank, including<br />

commitments to halve the carbon intensity<br />

of its automotive sector portfolio.<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 21

MEET<br />

James Alcock<br />

CEO of Plunkett Foundation<br />

James is passionate about rural issues and is an active<br />

member of a number of national partnerships and alliances<br />

that seek to influence public policy for the good of<br />

communities. Prior to joining Plunkett in 2007 he worked<br />

in the rural affordable housing sector and is now chief<br />

executive of the Plunkett Foundation.<br />


Having grown up and always lived in the<br />

countryside, being part of a rural community has<br />

always been important to me. I’ve experienced firsthand<br />

the gradual decline of village services, the<br />

closure of the village sh<strong>op</strong>, the bank, post office,<br />

then the market or the very last pub and ultimately<br />

the loss of community spirit that follows. Both my<br />

degree and research masters were focused on rural<br />

change – and in particular understanding issues<br />

relating to rural poverty, isolation and exclusion.<br />

One of my early roles was working for a rural<br />

community council, and whilst there we partnered<br />

with Plunkett Foundation on a pilot programme<br />

supporting community owned food businesses.<br />

From that point, I became totally committed to<br />

the co-<strong>op</strong>erative values these businesses ad<strong>op</strong>t,<br />

and remain in awe of the communities that take<br />

that first step to take control of the issues they are<br />

facing. I watched Plunkett from afar until a perfect<br />

project management role for me became available,<br />

and I applied and joined the team. That was 16<br />

years ago, and I’ve never looked back.<br />

No two community-businesses are<br />

completely the same but they all<br />

share the ethos of working<br />

together for the benefit of all<br />


There is no such thing as a typical day at Plunkett<br />

– the variety is probably why I’ve been working<br />

for the organisation for so long! Every day brings<br />

a unique challenge, a different solution, a new<br />

potential partner, and new innovation from the<br />

communities we work with. I love working in our<br />

office with the Plunkett team – they are equally<br />

passionate about what they do, and it’s such a<br />

creative environment to be in. Equally, I love<br />

the <strong>op</strong>portunity to visit community businesses<br />

throughout the UK. They are so inspiring to visit<br />

and gain perspective on what more Plunkett can<br />

be doing to help.<br />




Plunkett works with many chocolate box<br />

villages, but we also work in peri-urban areas,<br />

post-industrial villages, brand new settlements<br />

and some of the most remote communities in<br />

the UK. Whatever they look like and wherever<br />

they are, they are dealing with many of the<br />

same challenges – the loss of vital services, the<br />

erosion of community, the feeling of being left<br />

behind. Of all the groups we’ve supported (over<br />

800) and whatever type of community business<br />

it is, we’ve seen how they bring diverse groups<br />

of pe<strong>op</strong>le together and identify what is important<br />

to them. No two community-businesses are<br />

completely the same but they all share the ethos<br />

of working together for the benefit of all – and in<br />

particular, seek to support those most vulnerable<br />

in their community. They are rightly proud of<br />

saving the essential services they offer, but also<br />

22 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>

the employment, training and volunteering<br />

<strong>op</strong>portunities they provide, as well as the new<br />

friendships and support networks they have<br />

established, the vital contributions to the local<br />

economy they make through the supply chain<br />

and the positive impact to the environment<br />

through sustainable and ethical purchasing.<br />





IN NEED?<br />

We’re very proud of the fact that the survival rates<br />

of community businesses are exceptionally high,<br />

99.3% for community pubs and 92.5% for sh<strong>op</strong>s<br />

(*<strong>Co</strong>mpared to 44% for SMEs from the Office of<br />

National Statistics), and we believe that this is<br />

partly due to the hard work and determination<br />

of the community groups and their volunteers.<br />

When you’ve worked so hard to save a business<br />

you remain adaptable and responsive to your<br />

community’s and your customer’s needs. As<br />

their needs change so do yours and during the<br />

pandemic we saw many businesses stepping up<br />

to the task of helping the most vulnerable in<br />

their communities – offering home delivery, free<br />

hot meals, low cost food parcels and broadening<br />

their services, including online ordering, pubs<br />

<strong>op</strong>ening daytime sh<strong>op</strong>s, cafes or postal services<br />

and devel<strong>op</strong>ing activities to help the wellbeing of<br />

their community.<br />

Additionally, we’re campaigning for communities<br />

in England, Wales and Northern Ireland to have a<br />

Right To Buy, to allow communities first refusal on<br />

a registered building when they come up for sale.<br />

Faced with escalating pr<strong>op</strong>erty prices many groups<br />

lose buildings and spaces that could be used to<br />

transform their community and ensure it is able to<br />

thrive in future.<br />


SECTOR?<br />

Recent years have seen fantastic growth of the<br />

community business sector – especially community<br />

pubs – we feel this momentum will continue as<br />

communities experience growing confidence<br />

in their ability to take ownership of the places<br />

they love and help their rural villages to thrive.<br />

Our recent research into ‘cold spots’ and urban<br />

community pubs identifies huge <strong>op</strong>portunities<br />

for growth, particularly in the North East, West<br />

Midlands, Scotland and Wales and we see no<br />

reason why the network of community-businesses<br />

shouldn’t grow from 800 to 8,000!<br />

I’d also love to see the sector receive the recognition<br />

it deserves for the phenomenal difference it<br />

makes to rural and community lives. <strong>Co</strong>mmunity<br />

businesses really do have the power to transform<br />

communities and improve the wellbeing of all<br />

those they serve.<br />

Additionally Plunkett’s role in providing expert<br />

business advice and training to groups, plus the<br />

<strong>op</strong>portunity for peer networking, encourages<br />

community businesses to follow best legal,<br />

financial and business practice making them more<br />

resilient to change. Their innate altruism extends to<br />

supporting each other in times of challenge.<br />



The <strong>Co</strong>mmunity Ownership Fund is a major<br />

boost to the sector – and we’d love to see more<br />

communities stepping forward to access the<br />

funding available. In addition to this many groups<br />

need very early stage support to make their vision<br />

and project a compelling and robust case for<br />

funding and we believe providing ‘early stage’<br />

funding would continue to transform the sector<br />

but also significantly increase the capacity of the<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmunity Ownership Fund to deliver for the<br />

government’s ‘levelling-up’ agenda.<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 23


New federation for worker co-<strong>op</strong>s<br />

As a founder member and early chair of<br />

ICOM in the 1970’s, I wish to support the<br />

pr<strong>op</strong>osed new federation for worker co<strong>op</strong>s,<br />

described by Siôn Whellens ( A New<br />

Federation for Worker <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>s, <strong>News</strong>, June<br />

<strong>2022</strong>).<br />

Ownership does matter. The wider<br />

Have your say<br />

Add your comments to our stories<br />

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

touch via social media, or send us<br />

a letter. If sending a letter, please<br />

include your address and contact<br />

number. Letters may be edited and<br />

no longer than 350 words.<br />

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

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>s UK, and worker co-<strong>op</strong>eratives in<br />

particular, are a deliberate and radical<br />

alternative to the conventional pattern of<br />

ownership of industry and commerce by<br />

those supplying the capital. <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erators<br />

believe that ownership and control should<br />

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

House, Hanover Street,<br />

Manchester M60 0AS<br />

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

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

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

be in the hands of those most involved<br />

in the business and that capital is just<br />

one of the inputs. An early supporter of<br />

worker co-<strong>op</strong>s 50 years ago, the influential<br />

economist E.F.Schumacher used to say, “<br />

Until you have changed ownership you<br />

have changed nothing”, merely moved the<br />

deck chairs around a bit.<br />

Best wishes to the new federation; the<br />

time has come for worker co-<strong>op</strong>s to become<br />

a significant sector of the economy.<br />

Roger Sawtell,<br />

Northampton<br />

Will it have individual supporter<br />

members? That’s where the money is and<br />

where the support can be devel<strong>op</strong>ed too<br />

with sympathetic expertise .<br />

Bob Cannell, via Facebook<br />

Space to<br />

work<br />

Space to<br />

grow<br />

Space for<br />

change<br />

Leading the movement in workspaces for those who lead the change,<br />

with spaces currently available to rent<br />

Visit www.ethicalpr<strong>op</strong>erty.co.uk Email sales@ethicalpr<strong>op</strong>erty.co.uk or call 01865 207 810 to find out more<br />

24 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>


Ray Henderson<br />

1946 – <strong>2022</strong><br />

The co-<strong>op</strong>erative movement, and <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong><br />

<strong>News</strong>, had a sad loss in June with the<br />

death of Ray Henderson, well liked and<br />

respected for his roles at the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Party,<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group and <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Press.<br />

He’ll be greatly missed at <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> <strong>News</strong>,<br />

which he served for many years as<br />

secretary and later treasurer. A friendly,<br />

supportive man, he would regularly dr<strong>op</strong><br />

by the <strong>News</strong>’s old office in Holyoake<br />

House, his genial north-east accent<br />

softening his wry observations of the<br />

goings-on of the co-<strong>op</strong> movement as he<br />

offered guidance and advice.<br />

Executive editor Rebecca Harvey said:<br />

“Ray was kind and clever soul, with dry<br />

wit and endless patience. His advice and<br />

guidance during the time I was appointed<br />

to the editor role was vital.<br />

“He was passionate and committed,<br />

extremely diligent in his role as secretary,<br />

and thorough in his knowledge of the<br />

politics and intricacies of the Press and<br />

the wider movement. He was a great<br />

teacher, I’ll miss him dearly.”<br />

Ray’s active involvement with<br />

the co-<strong>op</strong>erative movement began when<br />

he became a member of what is now the<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group in 1984. He was elected in<br />

1992 to a divisional committee and in<br />

2005 to the North Eastern and Cumbrian<br />

Regional Board. In 2009 he was elected to<br />

the Group board.<br />

A member of the National Members’<br />

<strong>Co</strong>uncil since its inception, Ray was keen<br />

to see the body challenge the main board<br />

and promote membership participation<br />

at a local level. His involvement in the<br />

movement deepened when he retired from<br />

the Telecoms and IT industry, leading him<br />

to become secretary of <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Press.<br />

But he was a committed and dedicated<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>erator all his life, with particular<br />

interests in financial management and<br />

corporate governance.<br />

In 1999, he became company secretary<br />

of the North East Music Teachers <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative,<br />

a successful public service<br />

mutual. He also had a stint as company<br />

secretary of the Film and Video Institute,<br />

a national membership organisation.<br />

Denise Scott-McDonald, president of the<br />

Group’s National Members’ <strong>Co</strong>uncil, said:<br />

“Ray had a long-standing commitment<br />

and involvement with the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group.<br />

Over the years he served in a variety of<br />

roles from a local level, at regional board<br />

level and as a director on the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group<br />

Board before 2015.<br />

“Ray had wide knowledge and<br />

experience of the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> and the wider co<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

movement and always enjoyed<br />

working closely with members. He was<br />

deeply committed to <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Values<br />

and Principles and was actively dedicated<br />

to his role as a <strong>Co</strong>uncil member, even<br />

during his long battle with Myeloma.<br />

“He’ll be hugely missed by members,<br />

fellow council members and co-<strong>op</strong>erators<br />

across the movement.”<br />

Ray was also an active member of<br />

Tyneside <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Party, and sat on its party<br />

council, which said it was ‘extremely<br />

sad’ to hear the news. “He will be dearly<br />

missed by us all,” it said in a message on<br />

Twitter.<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Press chair Elaine Dean, a friend<br />

and fellow co-<strong>op</strong>erator, said: “I initially<br />

met Ray in 2008 when I was first elected<br />

to the board of <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Press at<br />

<strong>Co</strong>ngress in Blackpool. Ray was so kind<br />

and helpful to me and helped me find<br />

my feet.<br />

“He was a superb secretary of <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong><br />

Press and I came to appreciate his skills<br />

even more when I became chair in 2013.<br />

We appointed a young editorial team and<br />

acted as ‘elder statespe<strong>op</strong>le’ to them. We<br />

appreciated their fresh take on <strong>News</strong> and<br />

supported their plans for change.<br />

‘Ray was always totally professional<br />

and conducted the affairs of the Press so<br />

well. He became a trusted ally and a very<br />

dear friend.<br />

“When illness forced him to give up the<br />

role a few years ago we kept him involved<br />

as Treasurer and he attended board<br />

meetings by Zoom over the last two years.<br />

“He was also an excellent contributor<br />

to the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group National Members’<br />

<strong>Co</strong>uncil, challenging without fear or<br />

favour when necessary.<br />

“Ray was a man of great integrity and<br />

was widely respected throughout the<br />

many co-<strong>op</strong>eratives of which he was a<br />

member. He was a true co-<strong>op</strong>erator I was<br />

always proud to call my friend.<br />

“Rest in peace Ray, you will be sadly<br />

missed by your <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> <strong>News</strong> family.”<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 25

Ariel Guarco re-elected ICA president as<br />

movement gathers for General Assembly<br />

by Anca Voinea<br />

Ariel Guarco was re-elected president of<br />

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

(ICA) at the organisation’s General<br />

Assembly in Seville last week.<br />

The election, held on 20 June, saw<br />

Mr Guarco win with 455 votes, ahead of<br />

rival candidates Melina Morrison from<br />

Australia (164 votes) and Jean-Louis<br />

Bancel from France (160 votes).<br />

The election was conducted manually<br />

due to a technical issue with the online<br />

voting system.<br />

Mr Guarco is also president of the<br />

<strong>Co</strong>nfederación <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erativa de la<br />

República Argentina (<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erar). He has<br />

been involved in co-<strong>op</strong>s since the 1980s,<br />

when he started to actively participate<br />

in the electric co-<strong>op</strong>erative of his city,<br />

<strong>Co</strong>ronel Pringles. He was elected president<br />

of the co-<strong>op</strong> in 1997 and president of the<br />

federation (Fedecoba) that integrates<br />

electric co-<strong>op</strong>eratives in the province<br />

of Buenos Aires in 1998. He became<br />

president of <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erar in 2011 and was<br />

elected to the board of the International<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Alliance in 2013.<br />

In his speech at the GA, ahead of the<br />

election, he talked about his life-long<br />

commitment to showcasing the co<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

identity and said the last four<br />

years as president of the ICA had been<br />

ones of learning and had made him<br />

<strong>op</strong>timistic about the future. He talked<br />

about the ICA’s role as a global platform<br />

for co-<strong>op</strong>s to share experiences and<br />

build consensus, mentioning the<br />

important role of its sectors, regions<br />

and thematic committees.<br />

“You know what we have built<br />

together over the past few years. You do<br />

because we built it together,” he said.<br />

“We will be successful if we can show<br />

that faced with global challenges we<br />

can come up with complex responses.”<br />

Taking the podium after the result<br />

was announced, Mr Guarco apologised<br />

on behalf of the ICA for the issues with<br />

the online voting system. “We are all<br />

victims of this failure,” he said.<br />

Mr Bancel – who also lost his place on<br />

the board – said: “Whatever happened,<br />

unity is more important than anything<br />

else. What happened here was a joint<br />

failure. We said we believe in democracy,<br />

but failed to organise elections. We<br />

were not able to organise a pr<strong>op</strong>er vote.<br />

I think the ICA board position is not a<br />

power question, it’s much more than<br />

that. I ask the re-elected president and<br />

board to see what happened today and<br />

try to find a way not to go in that type<br />

of failure.”<br />

Alliance chooses new global board<br />

Delegates elected 15 directors to the ICA<br />

board, from a shortlist of 22 candidates.<br />

Those elected are:<br />

• Márcio L<strong>op</strong>es de Freitas, Brazilian<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>eratives (OCB), Brazil<br />

• Aditya Yadav, Indian Farm Forestry<br />

Devel<strong>op</strong>ment <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Limited<br />

(IFFDC), India<br />

• Giuseppe Attilio Dadda, Alleanza<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Italiane, Italy<br />

• George Magutu Mwangi,<br />

Kenya Union of Savings & Credit<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>eratives (KUSCCO), Kenya<br />

• Iñigo Albizuri Landazabal,<br />

<strong>Co</strong>nfederación Española de<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erativas de Trabajo Asociado<br />

(COCETA), Spain<br />

• Zhenhong Cai, All China Federation<br />

of Supply and Marketing <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>eratives<br />

(ACFSMC), China<br />

• Martin Lowery, National <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative<br />

Business Association (NCBA CLUSA),<br />

USA<br />

• Toru Nakaya, JA Zenchu (Central<br />

Union of Agricultural <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>s), Japan<br />

• Bahman Abdollahi, Iran Chamber of<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>eratives (ICC), Iran<br />

• María Eugenia Pérez Zea,<br />

Asociación <strong>Co</strong>lombiana de<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erativa (Asco<strong>op</strong>), <strong>Co</strong>lombia<br />

• Krasimir Ignatov, Central<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Union Bulgaria, Bulgaria<br />

• Dato’ Kamarudin Ismail, Malaysian<br />

National <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Movement,<br />

Malaysia<br />

• Simona Cavazzutti, <strong>Co</strong>nfederación<br />

de <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erativas Rurales del Paraguay<br />

(CONCOPAR), Paraguay<br />

• Marjaana Saarikoski, SOK<br />

<strong>Co</strong>rporation, Finland<br />

• Alexandra Wilson, <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives<br />

and Mutuals Canada, Canada<br />

The unsuccessful candidates included<br />

the UK’s Ben Reid, from Midcounties<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative, who had sat on the<br />

26 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>

oard since 2016. Mohiuddin Ahmed<br />

(Bangladesh), Johan Nyhus (Sweden),<br />

Eva Kusuma Sundari (Indonesia), David<br />

Fraser (Australia), Jean-Louis Bancel<br />

(France) and German Astul Mejia Mejia<br />

(Honduras) also failed to secure seats.<br />

Delegates also ratified the elections of<br />

Ana Aguirre as representative of the ICA<br />

Youth <strong>Co</strong>mmittee; Dr Carlos Zarco from<br />

Spain as president of the International<br />

Health <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Organisation (IHCO);<br />

Sunghee Lee from the Republic of<br />

Korea as president of the International<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Agricultural Organization<br />

(ICAO); and Petar Stefanov from Bulgaria<br />

as president of <strong>Co</strong>nsumer <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>eratives<br />

Worldwide (CCW).<br />

“For me this will be the continuation<br />

of a huge learning path as well as<br />

an exciting new phase for the youth<br />

network,” said Ms Aguirre, adding that<br />

the Youth <strong>Co</strong>mmitte would be launching<br />

a Youth Action Plan in November.<br />

Statutory amendment for the sectoral<br />

representation in the ICA board<br />

A motion for the sectoral organisations<br />

of the ICA to each have a seat on the ICA<br />

board for the 2021-2025 mandate was<br />

ad<strong>op</strong>ted. It said that having direct board<br />

representation would contribute to closer<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>eration between regions and sectors<br />

and to greater visibility, transparency and<br />

accountability not only on the board itself<br />

but also across the governance bodies of<br />

the ICA as a whole.<br />

To approve this request, Article 15 of<br />

the Articles of Association was amended.<br />

Director-general’s report<br />

ICA director general Bruno Roelants<br />

presented his report of the ICA’s work<br />

since its previous General Assembly<br />

in Kigali in 2019. The apex focused on<br />

four areas of work, as per its strategic<br />

plan ad<strong>op</strong>ted in 2019 – the Second<br />

Blueprint for a <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Decade.<br />

The four themes are promotion of the<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>erative identity, growth of the<br />

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

among co-<strong>op</strong>eratives and contribution to<br />

global sustainable devel<strong>op</strong>ment.<br />

Mr Roelants mentioned several<br />

initiatives, including hosting the World<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative <strong>Co</strong>ngress and organising a<br />

roundtable with government officials in<br />

Seoul in December 2021, carrying out a<br />

Legal framework analysis as part of the<br />

“What was built over<br />

generations was<br />

destroyed in a matter<br />

of minutes by Russian<br />

tro<strong>op</strong>s”<br />

– lllia Gorokhovskyi<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>s4Dev project, and engaging with<br />

UN bodies and the G20 working groups.<br />

The ICA is also preparing to launch a<br />

Global <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Impact Fund.<br />

A report on the ICA’s 2020-2021<br />

financial statements was presented by<br />

Greg Wall, chair of its Audit and Risk<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmittee. He said subscription income<br />

had increased by 3% in 2021 compared<br />

with 2020 despite the pandemic.<br />

He argued that the ICA still has a<br />

stable financial status compared to 2020.<br />

The ICA global office suffered a loss of<br />

€277,770 in 2021 (from a loss of €40,380<br />

in 2020). This was due to a loss of<br />

€366,300 from the World <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative<br />

<strong>Co</strong>ngress because of event attendance<br />

being lower than expected.<br />

However, all ICA regional offices made<br />

surpluses in 2021: ICA Africa – (€26,052<br />

in 2021), ICA Asia Pacific (€68,011), ICA<br />

Americas (€119,287).<br />

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

were not included, as they were<br />

separately established, respectively<br />

under the Belgian and the US law.<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>eratives Eur<strong>op</strong>e made a surplus<br />

of €104,450 in 2021 while Dot<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>, in<br />

which the ICA holds a 50% share made<br />

a surplus of €54,849.<br />

After his presentation the general<br />

assembly approved the 2021 accounts<br />

and discharged the auditor. The budget<br />

for <strong>2022</strong> was also approved.<br />

Supporting Ukraine<br />

GA delegates heard from Illia<br />

Gorokhovskyi, chair of <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong> Ukraine,<br />

who said Ukrainian co-<strong>op</strong>erators had<br />

planned to attend but were forced<br />

to change their plans by the Russian<br />

invasion.<br />

He said 10 million Ukrainians have<br />

been displaced so far by the conflict;<br />

figures from the Office of the United<br />

Nations High <strong>Co</strong>mmissioner for Human<br />

Rights (OHCHR) show that 4,569<br />

civilians, 304 of them children, have<br />

been killed during Russia’s attack as of<br />

June 19.<br />

Ukraine’s co-<strong>op</strong> sector has been<br />

harmed in the conflict, said Mr<br />

Gorokhovskyi, with damage to co-<strong>op</strong>s in<br />

several parts of the country. He estimates<br />

that hundreds of co-<strong>op</strong>eratives have<br />

been affected by the war with thousands<br />

of co-<strong>op</strong>erators losing their homes and<br />

their co-<strong>op</strong>s.<br />

“What was built over generations<br />

was destroyed in a matter of minutes by<br />

Russian tro<strong>op</strong>s,” he said.<br />

Thanking countries who have<br />

supported Ukrainian co-<strong>op</strong>s, he said that<br />

all assistance would go to support co-<strong>op</strong>s<br />

and co-<strong>op</strong>erators affected by the crisis.<br />

“It is the <strong>op</strong>portunity to show that<br />

mutual assistance and solidarity are<br />

fundamental principles of co-<strong>op</strong>eration,”<br />

he added. “This assistance is not only for<br />

Ukraine, but also for yourselves and your<br />

future.<br />

“I believe in God, in peace and I<br />

believe in justice. I love my country<br />

and I ask that you stand with me in co<strong>op</strong>eration.”<br />

The call to action launched by<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong> Ukraine was echoed by the<br />

Polish co-<strong>op</strong>erative movement, whose<br />

representative called on the global co<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

movement to support Ukraine<br />

and those facing famine due to the war.<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 27

Seville welcomes global co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

movement to ICA General Assembly<br />

by Anca Voinea<br />

Over 700 co-<strong>op</strong>erators from around<br />

the world gathered in Seville on 20<br />

June for the General Assembly of the<br />

International <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Alliance.<br />

They were welcomed to Seville, the<br />

capital of Andalucía, Spain, by the<br />

city’s mayor, Antonio Muñoz, during<br />

a side event organised by the Spanish<br />

confederation of worker co-<strong>op</strong>eratives<br />

(COCETA) with the theme “<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>eratives,<br />

the time is now!”<br />

Mr Muñoz praised co-<strong>op</strong>eratives<br />

for their economic contribution to<br />

his city, which is home to 230 co-<strong>op</strong>s<br />

that employ 2,900 pe<strong>op</strong>le. He said the<br />

sector plays a key role in diversifying<br />

the economy but this is not always<br />

recognised; the conference, he added,<br />

would h<strong>op</strong>efully help to raise awareness<br />

of its contribution.<br />

Participants also saw a video<br />

message from Yolanda Díaz, second<br />

deputy prime minister and labour<br />

and social economy minister in the<br />

national government, who noted the<br />

fundamental role of co-<strong>op</strong>s in reducing<br />

inequalities, promoting decent work<br />

and protecting the environment.<br />

Her government runs a number<br />

of initiatives to promote co-<strong>op</strong>s, she<br />

said, including the Strategic Project<br />

for the Recovery and Economic<br />

Transformation (PERTE) of the Social<br />

Economy and Citizens. Ad<strong>op</strong>ted<br />

in May, this pledges to devel<strong>op</strong><br />

the social economy and carry out<br />

an accessible, pe<strong>op</strong>le-centred<br />

transformation of the care sector. As<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le-centred enterprises rooted in<br />

their communities, with a long-term<br />

vision, co-<strong>op</strong>s also help to promote<br />

democratic governance, she added.<br />

Susanne Westhausen, president<br />

of <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>eratives Eur<strong>op</strong>e, said co-<strong>op</strong>s<br />

need to win the battle of ideas with<br />

other enterprises – and also get better<br />

p Yolanda Díaz, second deputy prime minister and labour and social economy minister<br />

at “walking the talk” by collaborating<br />

more and financing new co-<strong>op</strong>s: “We<br />

need to demonstrate our results and do<br />

it together.”<br />

Youth engagement is also a priority,<br />

she added, warning: “If we are not<br />

engaging young pe<strong>op</strong>le, we will not just<br />

lose he battle of ideas, but our movement<br />

… The best way to move forward is by<br />

empowering pe<strong>op</strong>le through education<br />

and democratic participation. So yes,<br />

the time for co-<strong>op</strong>eratives is now.”<br />

ICA president Ariel Guarco continued<br />

the theme, telling the assembled co<strong>op</strong>erators<br />

they have reasons to be<br />

<strong>op</strong>timistic about the future.<br />

“If we want to face global challenges<br />

we know none of them can be solved<br />

without involving local communities.<br />

That is where we come in,” he said.<br />

H<strong>op</strong>e can bring a transformational<br />

power, he added – and “co-<strong>op</strong>s can give<br />

h<strong>op</strong>e through a social, economic and<br />

environmental devel<strong>op</strong>ment model that<br />

looks after pe<strong>op</strong>le and the planet.”<br />

There were also representations<br />

from the autonomous government<br />

of Andalucía. Rocío Blanco, acting<br />

minister of employment, training and<br />

self-employment for the Andalucía<br />

government, said co-<strong>op</strong>eratives are a<br />

priority for the region, which has the<br />

highest number of co-<strong>op</strong>eratives –<br />

4,000 – 80% of which are worker co<strong>op</strong>s.<br />

They employ 59,000 pe<strong>op</strong>le.<br />

In a video message to the conference,<br />

the president of Andalucía, Juan Manuel<br />

Moreno, also highlighted the sector’s<br />

importance to the region’s economy.<br />

Panel discussions<br />

The conference also included panel<br />

discussions, worksh<strong>op</strong>s and visits to<br />

local co-<strong>op</strong>s.<br />

The first panel looked at the current<br />

state of the co-<strong>op</strong> sector and the wider<br />

social economy in Spain and around<br />

the world. Iñigo Albizuri, president<br />

of CICOPA and chief of public affairs<br />

at Mondragon, said: “We need to<br />

democratise enterprises, we cannot<br />

talk about workers like they are<br />

interchangeable and we need to look<br />

after the planet, but there is h<strong>op</strong>e,<br />

there is a model that does this –<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s, that is why the time is now.”<br />

28 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>

Juan Antonio Pedreño, president<br />

of Social Economy Eur<strong>op</strong>e and the<br />

Spanish Social Economy Employers’<br />

<strong>Co</strong>nfederation (CEPES) highlighted<br />

the need for co-<strong>op</strong>eratives to raise<br />

awareness about their business model.<br />

He thinks this can be done within<br />

the conversations about the social<br />

economy.<br />

“The Social economy is now talked<br />

about, something that was not the case<br />

in the past. The objective is to grow a<br />

movement based on values,” he said.<br />

Carlos Zarco, president of the<br />

International Health <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative<br />

Organisation (IHCO) y Fundación Espriú<br />

in Spain, highlighted the important role<br />

health co-<strong>op</strong>eratives play in providing<br />

access to health services.<br />

“Because they exist in so many<br />

countries, co-<strong>op</strong>s are in a position to<br />

have a global answer to challenges.<br />

Health co-<strong>op</strong>s give access to health<br />

services to over 100m pe<strong>op</strong>le,” he said.<br />

Maravillas Espín, general director of<br />

Self-Employment, Social Economy and<br />

RSE of the Ministry of Labor and Social<br />

Economy, said that the Next Generation<br />

EU economic recovery package to<br />

support the EU member states to<br />

recover could be an <strong>op</strong>portunity for co<strong>op</strong>s<br />

– the plan could enable the use of<br />

public resources to support actors such<br />

as co-<strong>op</strong>s and social economy, she said.<br />

Public-private partnerships are another<br />

<strong>op</strong>portunity for co-<strong>op</strong>s, she said.<br />

“I think co-<strong>op</strong>s are ready and the<br />

government is too, and these alliances<br />

will bring great benefits,” agreed Mr<br />

Albizuri.<br />

He explained that in the Basque<br />

<strong>Co</strong>untry universities, co-<strong>op</strong>s and<br />

government meet on a regular basis.<br />

“The world has never needed to<br />

improve more than now. Let’s build<br />

more co-<strong>op</strong>eratives, please!” he said.<br />

He added that it was important for<br />

the plan to have objectives regarding<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s. “We need more co-<strong>op</strong>s and<br />

more larger co-<strong>op</strong>s as well,” he said,<br />

adding that Spain is known as a tourism<br />

country with tourism contributing 12%<br />

to its GDP. “<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>s contribute 10% to<br />

Spain’s GDP and pe<strong>op</strong>le don’t know it.”<br />

Mr Pedreño explained that five<br />

years ago the social economy started<br />

benefiting from EU structural funding.<br />

p (Clockwise from t<strong>op</strong> left) Juan Antonio Pedreño and Carlos Zarco; Trebor Scholz;<br />

Graciela Fernández; and Maravillas Espín and Iñigo Abizuri<br />

“The world has never<br />

needed to improve more<br />

than now. Let’s build more<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>eratives, please!”<br />

– Iñigo Albizuri<br />

He said Spain was the first in Eur<strong>op</strong>e to<br />

give priority to the social economy when<br />

allocating structural funding, €40m has<br />

been allocated through this to the social<br />

economy with €70m more to be allocated<br />

over coming years, he said.<br />

He called on co-<strong>op</strong>s to work with<br />

other social economy actors to raise<br />

awareness about the sector.<br />

The second panel looked at what the<br />

future could look like for co-<strong>op</strong>s.<br />

“We have a unique <strong>op</strong>portunity to<br />

dream, to build a more participative<br />

and sustainable future,” said Malena<br />

Riudavets, vice-president of COCETA.<br />

Leire Mugerza, president of the<br />

<strong>Co</strong>ngress at the Mondragon <strong>Co</strong>rporation,<br />

praised co-<strong>op</strong>s for maintained work<br />

during the pandemic, providing loans<br />

and essential services and committing<br />

to decent work.<br />

“What societies need is what we’ve<br />

been doing all our lives,” she said,<br />

adding, “We don’t have to recreate the<br />

model, it is there.”<br />

Trebor Scholz, associate professor<br />

of Culture & Media, at New School<br />

in New York City, argued that co-<strong>op</strong>s<br />

needed “a vision that is bigger than<br />

the immediate needs for co-<strong>op</strong>s.” He<br />

believes what is needed is an economy<br />

rooted in many organisations,<br />

including co-<strong>op</strong>eratives, unions, small<br />

private companies and organisations<br />

owned by municipalities.<br />

“All these are complementing each<br />

other to promote wellbeing,” he said.<br />

Prof Scholz added that platform<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s need supporting regulatory<br />

environments in order to thrive. He<br />

also called for more partnerships<br />

between existing co-<strong>op</strong>s, unions and<br />

social movements.<br />

Graciela Fernández, president of ICA-<br />

Americas, said that co-<strong>op</strong>s can also use<br />

the UN Sustainable Devel<strong>op</strong>ment Goals<br />

to express what they are doing in terms<br />

of social innovations.<br />

She also called for more statistics of<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>eratives, particularly on their role<br />

in empowering women.<br />

“We need to visibilise the invisible,”<br />

she said. “The ICA-EU <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>s4Dev<br />

project gave great visibility to co-<strong>op</strong>s,<br />

enabled them to be at the table and we<br />

must continue to lobby for co-<strong>op</strong>s to be<br />

taken into account,” she said.<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 29

Empowering co-<strong>op</strong>eration<br />

the <strong>2022</strong> UK <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> <strong>Co</strong>ngress<br />

<strong>Co</strong>ngress reports by Anca Voinea,<br />

Rebecca Harvey and Shaz Rahman<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives UK’s annual congress<br />

brought delegates from around the<br />

country to Birmingham on 17-18 June to<br />

explore ways to ‘empower co-<strong>op</strong>eration’.<br />

It was the first in-person congress for<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives UK CEO Rose Marley, who<br />

used the <strong>op</strong>portunity to bring together<br />

different parts of the movement, as well<br />

as pe<strong>op</strong>le from sectors where co-<strong>op</strong>s<br />

have the potential to make a difference.<br />

Alongside co-<strong>op</strong>erative leaders and<br />

practitioners, delegates heard from<br />

those in the music and healthcare<br />

industries, metro mayors and MPs,<br />

who engaged in conversations about<br />

how pe<strong>op</strong>le, businesses, employees<br />

and activists can work together to solve<br />

problems and make lives better.<br />

Challenging times and a co-<strong>op</strong> future<br />

Welcoming delegates, <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives<br />

UK chair Don Morris talked about<br />

the current challenges, from <strong>Co</strong>vid-19<br />

and the war in Ukraine to the cost of<br />

living crisis. “This conference is about<br />

action,” he said. “Take learnings back<br />

to your co-<strong>op</strong>s and drive change.”<br />

The event was sponsored by the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong><br />

Bank, and its director for consumer and<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le, Maria Cearns, told delegates<br />

about the organisation’s co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

heritage, arguing that co-<strong>op</strong> values are<br />

still at the heart of its ethical policy.<br />

The bank will continue to support<br />

co-<strong>op</strong> businesses, she added – through<br />

its products and services as well as its<br />

funding of the Hive, <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives UK’s<br />

co-<strong>op</strong> devel<strong>op</strong>ment programme.<br />

There is also political support. In a<br />

video message, West Midlands mayor<br />

Andy Street said his region will be<br />

looking to create more jobs using the<br />

social economy and co-<strong>op</strong>s as it rebuilds<br />

from the pandemic.<br />

But Ms Marley warned that while there<br />

is a lot happening in the co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

movement, it still lacks visibility. She<br />

referred to a YouGov poll commissioned<br />

by <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives UK which found that,<br />

while issues causing concerns for<br />

young pe<strong>op</strong>le could be addressed via<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s, less than 40% of young pe<strong>op</strong>le<br />

surveyed could name a co-<strong>op</strong>. “There’s<br />

something not connecting there and we<br />

need to fix that,” she said.<br />

From the UK’s most visible co-<strong>op</strong>, the<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group, came a video message<br />

from interim CEO Shirine Khoury-Haq,<br />

describing how her organisation aims to<br />

empower co-<strong>op</strong>eration.<br />

She said: “Funds can only go so far in<br />

empowering co-<strong>op</strong>eration and cash on<br />

its own cannot empower co-<strong>op</strong>eration”.<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eration is also empowered by<br />

building strong relationships between<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s and their members, she said,<br />

and told delegates it was important<br />

to recognise that “the best form of co<strong>op</strong>eration<br />

might not always include the<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group and its members.”<br />

Members had been involved with<br />

Group 1.7 million times in 2021, she<br />

said; the society wants to build on<br />

this through community support,<br />

fundraising, and raising awareness.<br />

“Galvanised members make us a<br />

better co-<strong>op</strong> which, in turn, makes us<br />

a better partner,” she added, arguing<br />

that co-<strong>op</strong>eration is about creating<br />

relationships that sustain themselves,<br />

and improve the lives of communities.<br />

“We shouldn’t be seeking groups<br />

to create dependencies on the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong><br />

Group,” she said.<br />

The Group also sent non-executive<br />

director Lord Victor Adebowale, who<br />

had stern words about the state of UK<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s, which he sees as an interest<br />

group, rather than a movement.<br />

“You’re too white, you’re too old,<br />

you’re too embedded in the rules,”<br />

he warned, arguing that co-<strong>op</strong><br />

principles are “<strong>op</strong>en to interpretation”.<br />

He thinks they could be summarised<br />

in two principles – “Be human, be<br />

fair” – and should be expressed “for<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le who live now and are going to be<br />

running the movement in 10 years”.<br />

“We need to find ways of expressing<br />

what a co-<strong>op</strong> is for young pe<strong>op</strong>le,” he<br />

said. “There is a communication gap<br />

between us and them.”<br />

“We need to st<strong>op</strong> talking to ourselves<br />

so much and start talking to pe<strong>op</strong>le<br />

30 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>

who are not members,” added Lord<br />

Adebowale. He urged co-<strong>op</strong>s to spend<br />

time asking pe<strong>op</strong>le what is wrong and<br />

translate that into applicable principles.<br />

“We’ve got to do better,” he said.<br />

“You’ve got to look different. You’ve got<br />

to speak differently. We’ve got to invite<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le in. You’ve got to figure out some<br />

improvements. That’s how we make<br />

change.”<br />

Empowering co-<strong>op</strong>eration<br />

Over the two days, delegates could join a<br />

plethora of sessions covering issues and<br />

ideas concerning co-<strong>op</strong>eratives today,<br />

including how to make membership<br />

meaningful; the state of co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

devel<strong>op</strong>ment across the nations and<br />

regions of the UK; the use of the <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative<br />

Marque and plans in the UK<br />

to more closely link the Marque to high<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>erative standards; empowering<br />

young pe<strong>op</strong>le to explore and live co<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

values; and discussions<br />

around the creation of a new federal<br />

body for worker co-<strong>op</strong>s.<br />

Technology<br />

One of the most p<strong>op</strong>ular sessions<br />

looked at how technology could enable<br />

a stronger co-<strong>op</strong>erative economy.<br />

Catherine Douglas, managing<br />

director of SMEs at the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

Bank, shared her experience working<br />

with Bankify on <strong>op</strong>ening a new app<br />

for their SME customers. Prior to this<br />

project, the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Bank recognised<br />

that its digital service was not up to<br />

scratch. The experience meant it had to<br />

“innovate quicker than we are used to.”<br />

Central England CEO Debbie<br />

Robinson shared her “co-<strong>op</strong> digital<br />

dream” of being able to log into an app<br />

in any country and find local co-<strong>op</strong><br />

businesses. She suggested that a crypto<br />

currency for co-<strong>op</strong>s could be a way to<br />

overcome traditional economic barriers.<br />

There were also discussions around<br />

the ethical use of data, with Emma<br />

Howard, technical partner at Open<br />

Data Services, warning of the ethical<br />

issues regarding the personal data that<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le freely give away when they use<br />

the internet.<br />

These issues include serious concerns<br />

over human rights, democracy,<br />

governance, and data ethics. She<br />

p Music journalist Paul Stokes with the music industry panel: David Martin, CEO, Featured<br />

Artists <strong>Co</strong>alition; <strong>Co</strong>lin Young, chartered accountant and music industry and streaming<br />

royalties specialist; Terry Tyldesley, music tech consultant and artist; Tom Gray, chair of the<br />

Ivors Academy, founder of the #BrokenRecord campaign and member of Gomez; Lord Victor<br />

Adebowale, chair of UD and Social Enterprise UK; Paul Pacifico, associate professor, Berklee<br />

Valencia and artist; Sarah Pearson, founder of Wasted Youth Music and Juste Entertainment<br />

believes we need a new model that<br />

allows co-<strong>op</strong>s to use data in a way that<br />

benefits them as well as their members.<br />

“Data is one of the most important<br />

commodities in the current climate,”<br />

she added.<br />

Dot<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>’s Violetta Nafpaktiti agreed:<br />

“Why don’t we create a new worldwide<br />

co-<strong>op</strong> data-sharing project?” she asked.<br />

Access to capital – the perennial<br />

question for co-<strong>op</strong>s of all stripes – was<br />

also highlighted in the session. <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>s<br />

can compete with the ability of<br />

conventional tech companies to access<br />

venture capital – in a sector that often<br />

needs substantial amounts of money to<br />

drive devel<strong>op</strong>ment.<br />

Music<br />

The music industry is one sector<br />

increasingly turning to co-<strong>op</strong>eratives<br />

for models of fairness for performers<br />

and punters.<br />

Music contributes £5.8bn to the UK<br />

economy, including £2.9bn in exports,<br />

said Sarah Pearson, founder of Wasted<br />

Youth Music. But the music industry<br />

serves those at the t<strong>op</strong> at the expense<br />

of the majority of musicians, where<br />

“exploitation is the name of the game”.<br />

Tom Gray, singer from 90s indie<br />

band Gomez who founded the<br />

#BrokenRecord campaign in response<br />

to artist complaints over streaming<br />

rates and record company contracts,<br />

said “the model had changed but the<br />

relationship with musicians had not.”<br />

Music is dominated by large labels with<br />

executives making millions while most<br />

musicians struggle, he said.<br />

Paul Pacifico referred to the Fair<br />

Digital Deals Declaration, which is often<br />

attached to record deals and gives a level<br />

of protection to artists, but chartered<br />

accountant and streaming royalties<br />

expert <strong>Co</strong>lin Young spoke about how<br />

there was equity in songwriting but<br />

not in the record industry. “We need<br />

legislative change,” he said.<br />

Terry Tyldesley, music tech<br />

consultant and artist, said there are lots<br />

of new ways for musicians to release<br />

music, highlighting Resonate as the<br />

co-<strong>op</strong> alternative to the existing<br />

streaming platforms.<br />

Lord Adebowale, speaking in his<br />

role as chair of the Urban Devel<strong>op</strong>ment<br />

Music Foundation, likened the music<br />

industry to “a pint of Guinness: lots<br />

of black talent with white executives<br />

creaming off the money”. Young pe<strong>op</strong>le<br />

become musicians, he said, but they<br />

are not prepared to become a small<br />

business and are exploited as a result.<br />

The speakers acknowledged that<br />

change is needed, but there were<br />

disagreements about the rate of<br />

progress – although all agreed that<br />

co-<strong>op</strong> interventions like Resonate<br />

can help for the future. At the end<br />

of the session, Geraint Davies MP<br />

took to the stage and announced<br />

that he will be bringing forward a co<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

music bill to Parliament. u<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 31

uThere was also a session from<br />

Mark Davyd, CEO and founder of the<br />

Music Venue Trust, who spoke of the<br />

uncertain future facing independent<br />

music venues in the UK, the majority of<br />

which have an average of 18 months left<br />

on their tenancy.<br />

“Everyone loves music,” he said, “but<br />

it’s a precarious existence for many<br />

grassroots music venues. They’re at the<br />

mercy of landlords who can hike prices<br />

or fail to renew contracts.”<br />

The music industry needs those<br />

venues, he added. “Playing them is how<br />

bands learn their craft and progress<br />

from rooms in pubs to stadium gigs.<br />

Think of some of the great bands whose<br />

music you love. If local venues like<br />

these didn’t exist, you may never have<br />

had the chance to hear it.”<br />

In May, MVT launched an ambitious<br />

campaign for the live music community<br />

to own, protect and improve grassroots<br />

venues across the UK (see p42-43).<br />

The climate crisis<br />

There were also sessions exploring how<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s can engage with climate action.<br />

One session focused on the Climate<br />

and Ecology Bill, which aims to ensure<br />

the UK government fulfils its Paris<br />

Agreement obligations to limit global<br />

temperatures to 1.5°C; conserves<br />

the natural world by protecting and<br />

restoring ecosystems; and establishes<br />

a citizens’ assembly to recommend<br />

measures for inclusion in a climatenature<br />

strategy.<br />

So far the private members bill has<br />

support from 152 MPs and peers as well<br />

as 200 councils. Speakers shared how<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s can – and are – add their weight<br />

to this support.<br />

“This blue dot is all we have,” said<br />

the BBC’s George McGavin, adding<br />

that from the 1970s we have known the<br />

damage we are doing to the planet, from<br />

habitat loss to pollution and invasive<br />

species spreading. “The planet will be<br />

fine, it is our survival that it is at stake,”<br />

he warned.<br />

Amy McDonnell, from youth<br />

climate campaign Zero Hour, said her<br />

organisation was using tactics of mass<br />

mobilisation.<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives and other ethical<br />

businesses have been are the front<br />

of climate actions for decades, said<br />

Deborah Darlington, of the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Bank<br />

– which st<strong>op</strong>ped investing in fossil fuels<br />

in 1998. The Bank is now on the sixth<br />

version of its ethical policy, which is<br />

“highly valued” by its customer base.<br />

Ms Darlington said the bank is urging<br />

customers to support the bill.<br />

Barry Clavin, senior ethics &<br />

sustainability manager at the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong><br />

Group, said the retailer is mobilised<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le for the Climate Change Act – but<br />

added that young pe<strong>op</strong>le are not getting<br />

involved in the climate movement in<br />

enough numbers.<br />

In a separate session, delegates<br />

heard about some of the practical<br />

ways co-<strong>op</strong>s are taking climate action.<br />

Jonathan Atkinson, co-founder of<br />

the Carbon <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>, described how the<br />

organisation deals in energy efficiency,<br />

electric vehicles, heat pumps and<br />

other innovations. This delivers for<br />

consumers as well as the environment:<br />

external wall insulation from the<br />

Carbon <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> can save a £1,000 a year<br />

on energy bills, he said.<br />

Midcounties’ head of sustainability,<br />

Mike Pickering, represents his co-<strong>op</strong><br />

on an sustainability forum that shares<br />

best practice in the industry. There is a<br />

big mixture in how far businesses are<br />

on this journey, he said, and the forum<br />

helps them move forward.<br />

Michaela Cryar, head of product and<br />

origination at Younity –a community<br />

energy initiative between Midcounties’<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Energy and Oct<strong>op</strong>us Energy<br />

– talked about the importance of<br />

technological innovation, and gave the<br />

example of a partnership between the<br />

Energy Garden, Patagonia, Oct<strong>op</strong>us and<br />

Powershare, which encourages youth<br />

involvement in community energy.<br />

The capital conundrum<br />

A recurring theme over the weekend was<br />

the difficulty co-<strong>op</strong>s have in accessing<br />

capital to set up or grow.<br />

In a session on community shares,<br />

delegates heard how £200m has been<br />

raised using community shares to<br />

support, save and set up hundreds of<br />

vital businesses – with an impressive<br />

92% still trading.<br />

Eva Goudouneix, community<br />

devel<strong>op</strong>ment manager at Repowering<br />

London, said her co-<strong>op</strong> has put solar<br />

panels on community buildings. It<br />

ran two community share offers – in<br />

its home borough of Lambeth, and<br />

in Kensington and Chelsea. The first<br />

raised £140,000, the second £80,000,<br />

and there was booster funding from the<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmunity Shares Booster programme.<br />

Ms Goudouneix noted how 90% of the<br />

money for Lambeth came from the local<br />

community, compared to only 30% for<br />

Kensington and Chelsea.<br />

t John Robb (music journalist) with<br />

Mike Pickering (head of sustainability,<br />

Midcounties <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative; Michaela Cryar<br />

(head of product and origination, Younity)<br />

& Jonathan Atkinson (co-founder, Carbon<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>)<br />

32 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>

David Boyle, from the <strong>Co</strong>mmunity<br />

Shares <strong>Co</strong>mpany, explored the<br />

demographics the typical community<br />

shares investor. Unsurprisingly, 60% of<br />

the money comes from 10% of investors<br />

– who are retired and have a bachelors<br />

degree. “How many Guardian readers<br />

are in your target area?” he asked.<br />

A few key conditions can bring<br />

success or failure for a community share<br />

offer, he said. These include a sense<br />

of identification with what is being<br />

offered; a committed core team; and the<br />

time to do everything that is needed.<br />

In a separate session, Tony Greenham<br />

of the Mutual Banks Association (MBA)<br />

and Cliff Mills, of Anthony <strong>Co</strong>llins<br />

Solicitors, presented their efforts to<br />

tackle the capital conundrum in the<br />

finance sector – where capital is highly<br />

regulated. To address barriers to co<strong>op</strong>eration<br />

in this sector, the MBA has<br />

devel<strong>op</strong>ed a new co-<strong>op</strong>erative structure<br />

under the <strong>Co</strong>mpanies Act 2006 that does<br />

three things: legally embed a common<br />

good corporate purpose; create a multistakeholder<br />

ownership structure with<br />

active participatory governance; and<br />

create a form of co-<strong>op</strong>erative equity<br />

capital that can deliver fair returns to<br />

early-stage, high-risk investors – while,<br />

crucially, remaining aligned with co<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

principles.<br />

“We’ve created an association under<br />

the <strong>Co</strong>mpanies Act which is designed<br />

to be more flexible around capital,<br />

to solve some of the problems while<br />

being mutual,” said Mr Greenham. “My<br />

aspiration is that it would be recognised<br />

by the co-<strong>op</strong>erative movement as also<br />

being pr<strong>op</strong>erly co-<strong>op</strong>erative.”<br />

Healthcare<br />

The <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative <strong>Co</strong>uncils Innovation<br />

Network (CCIN) hosted a session<br />

looking at how co-<strong>op</strong>eratives can make<br />

a difference in care, applying the co-<strong>op</strong><br />

principles to create new and effective<br />

ways of working and become part of<br />

a solution to the care crisis. Dr Justin<br />

Varney, director of public health at<br />

Birmingham City <strong>Co</strong>uncil, described<br />

how the city is working in partnership<br />

with Lewisham <strong>Co</strong>uncil Public Health<br />

Divisions to gather insights on health<br />

inequalities within black African and<br />

Caribbean communities.<br />

p Clockwise from above: Andy Burnham<br />

(mayor of Greater Manchester) with Cheryl<br />

Barrott (Change AGEnts and <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives<br />

UK); Paul McNamee (UK editor, The Big Issue)<br />

with Jess Philips MP; Lord Victor Adebowale<br />

He described how <strong>Co</strong>vid-19 “created, for<br />

the first time for some generations, that<br />

feeling of universal experience that made<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le feel united with other pe<strong>op</strong>le and<br />

made them want to do something about<br />

it – for the first time ever in my years<br />

in health, pe<strong>op</strong>le were checking their<br />

privilege without being prompted.”<br />

Cheryl Barrott of Change AGEnts and<br />

a <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives UK board member, said<br />

that, as a disabled person, she didn’t<br />

want to be “done to or done for, I want<br />

to be done with”, adding that the co<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

model gave recipients of care<br />

vital control over their own lives.<br />

In another session highlighting<br />

issues in the care industry, Andy<br />

Burnham, mayor of Greater Manchester,<br />

highlighted the problems of associating<br />

‘care’ with ‘profit’.<br />

“I still believe care in this country<br />

needs radical change,” he said. “Social<br />

care should be provided on NHS terms<br />

but we haven’t got that at the moment.<br />

“The profit motive does not sit well<br />

with care of any kind – that’s the<br />

problem. The more complex the needs,<br />

the more that profit motivation becomes<br />

a problem. This is a broken system.”<br />

Another politician at the event<br />

was Labour MP Jess Philips, who<br />

held conversations with co-<strong>op</strong>erators<br />

in the care, energy and student<br />

housing sectors. “There is a fissure in<br />

understanding when it comes to pe<strong>op</strong>le<br />

investing in things together – it sounds<br />

like socialism,” she said.<br />

“There’s a belief deficit with current<br />

government – what needs to be done<br />

to prove this is for it to become a more<br />

p<strong>op</strong>ulous issue and for pe<strong>op</strong>le to say<br />

‘this is what we want’.”<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>s “have to be a solution to a<br />

problem that pe<strong>op</strong>le are clamouring<br />

for,” she added. “Then pe<strong>op</strong>le like me<br />

can argue for it.”<br />

u Visit the thenews.co<strong>op</strong> for more<br />

reports from <strong>Co</strong>ngress, including<br />

discussion of global co-<strong>op</strong>eration<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 33

Canada <strong>Co</strong>ngress: Alberta’s co-<strong>op</strong>s<br />

showcase the power of the movement<br />

<strong>Co</strong>ngress reports by Anca Voinea<br />

Canada’s co-<strong>op</strong> movement converged<br />

on Calgary for three days in June for its<br />

annual congress, which began with a look<br />

at how Alberta’s co-<strong>op</strong>s are embedded in<br />

the province and its economy.<br />

The event, organised by national<br />

apex body <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives and Mutuals<br />

Canada, began with a session introducing<br />

participants to the local movement. Vicki<br />

Zinyk, general manager of the North<br />

Parkland Power Rural Electrification<br />

Association and board chair of the Alberta<br />

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

(ACCA), highlighted the sector’s role<br />

in the province’s economy. Alberta has<br />

704 co-<strong>op</strong>s that issued over CA$100m in<br />

dividends in 2021. Two thirds of Albertans<br />

are members of a local credit union, co-<strong>op</strong><br />

or mutual.<br />

One of the best known is United<br />

Farmers of Alberta (UFA), which has<br />

120,000 farmer owners. Its chair, Kevin<br />

H<strong>op</strong>pins, a third generation leader at the<br />

organisation, said the co-<strong>op</strong> is “deeply<br />

entrenched in Alberta’s history”. Set up<br />

in 1909 – just four years after Alberta<br />

was founded – it had ambitions beyond<br />

agriculture. In 1919 it passed a resolution<br />

to allow its members to engage in political<br />

activity and by the 1921 general election,<br />

the small group of farmers had secured<br />

two thirds of the province’s legislature.<br />

Alberta farmers went on to play a key<br />

role in the electrification of the province’s<br />

rural areas in the 1940s by forming electric<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s – known as Rural Electrification<br />

Associations (REAs). “<strong>Co</strong>mpanies existing<br />

at the time couldn’t see the values of<br />

bringing electricity to rural Alberta, it was<br />

about costs for them,” said Andy Metzger,<br />

CEO at utilities co-<strong>op</strong> EQUS. “So REAs<br />

formed and grew over the years.”<br />

The movement is continuing to drive<br />

devel<strong>op</strong>ment, added Mr Metzger. “We<br />

have three of our five <strong>op</strong>erating facilities<br />

generating clean, green electricity from<br />

over 100 kilowatts of solar power. And<br />

we’re using a natural gas co generation, to<br />

p Kevin H<strong>op</strong>pins (left) and Vicki Zinyk<br />

provide high efficiency heat and electricity<br />

at our new head office.”<br />

The co-<strong>op</strong> has also taken steps to<br />

modernise its distribution system with<br />

smart meter infrastructure.<br />

“We’re looking to be responsive and<br />

proactive in meeting the evolving needs<br />

of our members and their communities,”<br />

said Mr Metzger. “Right now we’re seeing<br />

a high need for high-speed internet in our<br />

communities.<br />

“This is the same case as it was back<br />

in the 1940s with power – the investorowned<br />

broadband companies are not<br />

stepping up to this need. They cannot see<br />

how they can make this feasible, and get<br />

a return on those dollars. So that’s where<br />

we come in. We believe our co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

has an incredible <strong>op</strong>portunity to meet this<br />

need for rural broadband services.”<br />

Bob Rae, ambassador and permanent<br />

representative of Canada at the UN, told<br />

the session that co-<strong>op</strong>s have a key role to<br />

play in driving sustainable devel<strong>op</strong>ment<br />

in Canada and around the world, with<br />

global challenges like climate change,<br />

<strong>Co</strong>vid-19 and the Ukraine war needing<br />

global answers.<br />

“Sustainable devel<strong>op</strong>ment is not just a<br />

devel<strong>op</strong>ment project for other places, it is<br />

about the whole planet,” he said. “There<br />

is no effective answer except for a global<br />

one. And at the same time, the global one<br />

requires us step up at home.”<br />

He said the movement has had a<br />

tremendous impact in countries in the<br />

global south, and praised agricultural,<br />

fishery and credit co-<strong>op</strong>s for their work.<br />

Current world crises pose a threat<br />

to the credibility of important world<br />

organisations, he warned. “Institutions<br />

that are far away, that are distant and that<br />

are so big that nobody really trusts them,<br />

have much less prospect of really being<br />

well received.”<br />

But co-<strong>op</strong> ventures offer a solution to<br />

this, he added; they “have shares that are<br />

tied to common equity, that are tied to a<br />

sense of pe<strong>op</strong>le working together for a<br />

better return and doing it for each other.<br />

These are very powerfully based in human<br />

solidarity, they’re very powerfully based<br />

in great values.”<br />

Urging delegates to step up to this<br />

challenge, he said: “I think the co<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

institutions of the world have<br />

a tremendous amount to contribute to<br />

the current crisis. I h<strong>op</strong>e very much that<br />

the Canadian co-<strong>op</strong>erative community<br />

will see the <strong>op</strong>portunity to engage at the<br />

global level, as I know you do, to help<br />

make a difference.”<br />

34 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>

Justice and resilience: Delegates share<br />

lessons of the pandemic<br />

A congress session on <strong>Co</strong>vid-19 including<br />

a presentation of research into the co-<strong>op</strong><br />

response to the pandemic in Canada.<br />

Derya Tarhan, the postdoctoral<br />

researcher at the Ontario Institute for<br />

Studies in Education who carried out<br />

the study, said co-<strong>op</strong>s newly converted<br />

from conventional business models had<br />

struggled with establishing governance<br />

structures and community building. And<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s that relied on face-to-face businesses<br />

were among the hardest hit.<br />

But some co-<strong>op</strong>s didn’t just survive the<br />

pandemic – they actually increased their<br />

revenues. Aron Theatre <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> in Ontario<br />

raised more money as pe<strong>op</strong>le kept paying<br />

their membership fees even though there<br />

were no movies being shown.<br />

“These co-<strong>op</strong>s are very resilient,” said<br />

Dr Tarhan. “That has to do with how well<br />

rooted in the community they are and how<br />

they care for their community. It has been<br />

about more than just saving jobs.”<br />

Around 80% of co-<strong>op</strong> conversions occur in<br />

Quebec. Dr Tarhan thinks this is due to “an<br />

enabling ecosystem of policy, institutional<br />

support, technical support, financial<br />

support, by a network of organisations.”<br />

This also happens in the rest of Canada,<br />

he added, but it usually needs an individual<br />

or a group of co-<strong>op</strong> devel<strong>op</strong>ers to champion<br />

the cause. This leaves some communities at<br />

a disadvantage.<br />

“Given the massive potential crisis of<br />

succession,” he warned, “Canada also<br />

needs a very concerted effort to enable co<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

convergence. So one of the lessons<br />

is definitely the importance of an enabling<br />

environment.”<br />

Hazel <strong>Co</strong>rcoran, executive director,<br />

Canadian Worker <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Federation,<br />

described some of the challenges faced by<br />

worker co-<strong>op</strong>s, such as workers struggling<br />

with financial pressures or mental health<br />

issues. Worker co-<strong>op</strong>s had generally c<strong>op</strong>ed<br />

well with these challenges, showing<br />

resilience – and, as climate change, conflict<br />

and inequality have driven pe<strong>op</strong>le to seek<br />

for alternative ways of working, the model<br />

is becoming more p<strong>op</strong>ular. This is both an<br />

p T<strong>op</strong>: Andrea Renaud, director of co-<strong>op</strong>erative affairs, Sollio <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>; Scott Bolton;<br />

Hazel <strong>Co</strong>rcoran and Derya Tarhan. Bottom left: Bob Rae; bottom right: Andy Metzger<br />

<strong>op</strong>portunity and a challenge, she said, as<br />

federal bodies sometimes struggle to meet<br />

demand for support and advice.<br />

The federation runs a worker co-<strong>op</strong><br />

business succession committee which<br />

has been leading an advocacy campaign<br />

with the federal government; it wants the<br />

kind of resources available in Quebec to be<br />

replicated across the country. One recent<br />

success has been the mention of co-<strong>op</strong>s in<br />

the Canadian government’s recent Social<br />

Innovation and Social Finance strategy,<br />

which highlights the role co-<strong>op</strong>s can play in<br />

equity-seeking communities.<br />

“The whole co-<strong>op</strong> sector needs to get<br />

better at all kinds of diversity, inclusion<br />

and justice,” said Ms <strong>Co</strong>rcoran. “It will only<br />

strengthen us to build in this way.”<br />

Other challenges for the sector included<br />

preventing demutualisations, and<br />

honouring principle six – co-<strong>op</strong>eration<br />

among co-<strong>op</strong>eratives. “At our federation, we<br />

have a co-<strong>op</strong> specific procurement policy<br />

whenever possible,” said Ms <strong>Co</strong>rcoran. “We<br />

obtained products and services from worker<br />

co <strong>op</strong>s or other kinds of co-<strong>op</strong>s and we live<br />

that.”<br />

Scott Bolton, president & CEO, United<br />

Farmers of Alberta <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives, explained<br />

how the pandemic hit Canada just as cr<strong>op</strong><br />

farmers were about to start their spring<br />

planting.<br />

“We’re a retailer of farm products,” he<br />

said. “We help farmers do their business. We<br />

had to stay <strong>op</strong>en, and we had to find a way<br />

to do it so farmers could plant cr<strong>op</strong>s.”<br />

The <strong>Co</strong>vid crisis, he said, was where the<br />

co-<strong>op</strong> started “to really shine … This wasn’t<br />

about us, it wasn’t about profitability, it<br />

wasn’t about anything other than making<br />

sure that we’re doing our part to make sure<br />

society is not impacted by something so<br />

fundamental as food production.”<br />

Mr Bolton added: “I believe this movement<br />

proved its worth in this time of crisis... It’s<br />

because, I think, we have a purpose – and<br />

our purpose is that our members feed the<br />

world, and we look after them. That’s what<br />

we do, and I’m proud of the way our team<br />

accomplished that.”<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 35

‘We need our land back’<br />

community land trusts and the fight for fair space<br />

by Rebecca Harvey<br />

q St Ives, <strong>Co</strong>rnwall.<br />

(Photo by Matt Cardy/<br />

Getty Images)<br />

The world is having a crisis of space. As global<br />

issues of climate change and sustainability<br />

collide head first with p<strong>op</strong>ulation growth and<br />

mass migrations, the question of who owns<br />

space on our planet – and what they are doing<br />

with it – is taking centre stage.<br />

In the UK, land and pr<strong>op</strong>erty have been at<br />

the heart of disputes for centuries, from access<br />

rights to affordable housing. This year is the<br />

90th anniversary of the mass trespass of Kinder<br />

Scout, a key event in the struggle for public<br />

access to countryside, but it’s an ongoing issue,<br />

particularly in Scotland, where 432 private landowners<br />

own 50% of private rural land.<br />

And then there’s the housing crisis: not<br />

enough, and too expensive – especially with the<br />

meteoric rise of Airbnb.<br />

One model addressing this inequality is<br />

the community land trust (CLT) which gives<br />

ordinary pe<strong>op</strong>le the means to steward land.<br />

CLTs are locally controlled and democratically<br />

accountable through a membership that is <strong>op</strong>en<br />

to all who live or work in the defined community<br />

– including occupiers or users of the land and<br />

pr<strong>op</strong>erties that the trust owns. According to the<br />

UK’s CLT Network there are 548 CLT groups in<br />

England and Wales running 587 projects. There<br />

are over 1,100 completed homes, with a further<br />

7,100 in the pipeline.<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmunity ownership of the land is protected<br />

for the future through CLTs holding their assets<br />

in perpetuity, though they do have the flexibility<br />

to respond to changing circumstances. Assets<br />

can only be sold or devel<strong>op</strong>ed in a manner which<br />

benefits the local community; for example, if a<br />

home is sold, the cash realised is protected and<br />

can be re-invested into something else that the<br />

trust’s members think will bring benefit.<br />

The UK<br />

In <strong>Co</strong>rnwall alone, there are an estimated<br />

10,000 Airbnbs – and this number is growing,<br />

as landlords who were letting pr<strong>op</strong>erty for<br />

£800-£900 a month have now realised they can<br />

make £1,500 a week. Research by <strong>Co</strong>rnwall Live<br />

showed that in March, St Ives had 119 Airbnbs.<br />

There were 68 houses and flats for sale, with<br />

none for rent.<br />

“In <strong>Co</strong>rnwall<br />

alone, there are<br />

an estimated<br />

10,000 Airbnbs.”<br />

36 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>

<strong>Co</strong>rnwall CLT was set up in 2006 to combat<br />

this, and is now one of the largest in the UK,<br />

having delivered more than 230 affordable<br />

sustainable homes with more in the pipeline,<br />

alongside advising other community-led groups<br />

in <strong>Co</strong>rnwall and the Isles of Scilly. Most of its<br />

homes are for sale (although some are for rent)<br />

and are offered at discounts calculated to be<br />

affordable to median local incomes.<br />

Australia<br />

According to SQM Research, rental vacancy rate<br />

in the Blue Mountains plunged from 3.2% in<br />

December 2019 to 0.7% in April <strong>2022</strong>%, while the<br />

value of homes in Australia rose 16.7% in the 12<br />

months to May <strong>2022</strong>. Now the Blue Mountains –<br />

a region 65 miles inland from Sydney – could be<br />

among the first places in the country to establish<br />

a CLT, catering especially for women.<br />

“Domestic violence is the single largest cause<br />

of homelessness in Australia and the largest<br />

cohort is women over the age of 55 who don’t own<br />

pr<strong>op</strong>erty and have very little in superannuation,”<br />

Blue Mountains MP Trish Doyle told the first inperson<br />

meeting of the Walanmarra Artists &<br />

Blue Mountains CLT in May, adding that women<br />

from indigenous communities and those with<br />

disabilities were particularly vulnerable.<br />

The USA<br />

The CLT model emerged in the US during the civil<br />

rights era. Influential figures including Robert<br />

Swann and Slater King (cousin of Martin Luther<br />

King Jr) wanted to create long-term <strong>op</strong>portunities<br />

for economic and residential independence for<br />

African Americans in the rural south.<br />

In 1968, Mr Swann travelled to Israel, learning<br />

about the success of the Jewish National Fund,<br />

which had a history of acquiring then leasing<br />

land to planned communities and co-<strong>op</strong>s.<br />

Working with fellow civil rights leaders he<br />

devel<strong>op</strong>ed the first land trust in the US, New<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmunities, in 1970. Based on a 5,000-acre<br />

farm near Albany, Georgia, it is still going strong,<br />

and this year is working with Airbnb to launch<br />

the Southwest Georgia Agri-Tourism Trail. This<br />

will “allow participating farmers to benefit from<br />

the economic <strong>op</strong>portunities of local tourism<br />

through hosting [while] raising awareness of the<br />

current needs of Black farmers.”<br />

There are now over 240 CLTs in the US. The<br />

biggest – Champlain Housing Trust in Vermont –<br />

owns over 3,000 homes and over 130,000 sq ft of<br />

commercial and community facilities.<br />

Others are just getting started. In cities, CLTs<br />

are at the forefront of campaigns to bring vacant<br />

land into productive use. In an area where<br />

space is at a huge premium, East New York CLT<br />

(ENYCLT) is planning to take over a number of<br />

underutilised city-owned sites used as NY Police<br />

Department (NYPD) staff car parks in East New<br />

York, Bushwick and Brownsville.<br />

The CLT has calculated that one such empty<br />

lot – at the corner of Sutter Avenue and Linwood<br />

Street in East New York – is big enough to hold<br />

up to 60 permanently affordable one-, two- and<br />

three-bedroom co-<strong>op</strong> units, a community facility,<br />

a small pocket park and a rooft<strong>op</strong> farm. Research<br />

by ENYCLT found there are 145 vacant lots and<br />

parking lots citywide used by the NYPD, of which<br />

73 are underutilised and poorly maintained.<br />

“Together, these 73 lots represent more than<br />

1.3 million square feet of devel<strong>op</strong>ment potential<br />

that could provide hundreds of affordable<br />

housing units and tens of thousands of square<br />

feet of manufacturing and commercial space,”<br />

the study argues. The 73 lots are located in five<br />

community districts in Brooklyn and the Bronx.<br />

ENYCLT has not yet acquired any land, but it<br />

is in conversation with devel<strong>op</strong>ers and architects<br />

and h<strong>op</strong>es to seek funding through various city<br />

and state government programmes.<br />

“We have a vision through the community,<br />

through the residents, of what this land can bring<br />

to East New York, we can bring so many resources<br />

here: housing, green space, commercial space,”<br />

says ENYCLT secretary Debra Ack. “We have so<br />

many young, up-and-coming entrepreneurs who<br />

are in school, who would love to come back to<br />

their community and <strong>op</strong>en up a business and<br />

hire from within the community. But there’s one<br />

problem: They can’t afford the space.<br />

“[NYPD staff are] coming into my community<br />

and parking over here for free. You know what I<br />

say to that? Take the damn train like everybody<br />

else. We need our land back.”<br />

p East New York<br />

CLT is putting plans<br />

in place to take<br />

over a number of<br />

underutilised cityowned<br />

sites used<br />

as NYPD car parks<br />

(Image: ENYCLT)<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 37

How a co-<strong>op</strong> became a local icon after<br />

40 years in its community<br />

by Miles Hadfield<br />

Town and city centres have been<br />

under pressure in recent years, which<br />

threatens to erode local sense of place<br />

and identity. One major issue has been<br />

the rise of the ‘clone town’, where the<br />

spread of retail and hospitality chains<br />

have replicated identical high streets<br />

across entire countries.<br />

This has chipped away at local<br />

differences and wiped out many<br />

unique businesses – along with the<br />

social and community assets that such<br />

distinctive local organisations can offer.<br />

As online sh<strong>op</strong>ping began to take trade<br />

from bricks and mortar retail, it also<br />

meant that boarded windows began<br />

to simultaneously appear in dozens of<br />

town centres as big chains collapsed.<br />

With looming recession thrown into<br />

the mix, many localities are concerned<br />

for the future of their centres and longstanding,<br />

distinctive local names are<br />

becoming more cherished.<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratively owned enterprises,<br />

with their roots in communities, can<br />

offer strong examples of this – and in<br />

Ireland, one such business has just<br />

celebrated its 40th anniversary.<br />

Quay <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> <strong>op</strong>ened in May 1982<br />

on O’Sullivan’s Quay in <strong>Co</strong>rk and has<br />

become a local icon: a mix of a landmark<br />

building, radical campaigning base<br />

and trusted business. The city’s first<br />

vegetarian restaurant, it is based in a<br />

neglected former pawnbroker’s sh<strong>op</strong><br />

which the co-<strong>op</strong> members personally<br />

renovated with a distinctive blue facade.<br />

It has since expanded into the pr<strong>op</strong>erties<br />

on either side, including a former fire<br />

station building.<br />

Launched in a time of recession<br />

and joblessness, over its lifetime Quay<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> has employed 750 pe<strong>op</strong>le and<br />

estimates that a million pe<strong>op</strong>le have<br />

passed through its doors.<br />

Still owned by its members, it employs<br />

50 pe<strong>op</strong>le between its vegetarian deli,<br />

bakery, wholefoods store and restaurant<br />

on O’Sullivan’s Quay, its vegetarian<br />

food-production facility on <strong>Co</strong>ve Street<br />

and satellite stores in Carrigaline and<br />

Ballincollig.<br />

Like many community co-<strong>op</strong><br />

businesses, it also acts as a social and<br />

community hub, providing space for<br />

a food co-<strong>op</strong>, booksh<strong>op</strong>, women’s<br />

centre and crèche, and offers a meeting<br />

place for feminist, gay, lesbian and<br />

environmentalist groups.<br />

Over the years, it says it has provided<br />

“a local base for the politics of social<br />

movements which is as needed today as<br />

it was in the 1980s when Irish society,<br />

and its economy, seemed to be going<br />

backwards rather than forwards … we<br />

have seen many one-time h<strong>op</strong>es become<br />

a reality.”<br />

Pressing issues at the time of its<br />

launch included gay rights, the 1983<br />

anti-abortion amendment, the Criminal<br />

Justice Bill and the first Divorce<br />

Referendum. A worker co-<strong>op</strong>, it clings to<br />

that idealism still, and plans to continue<br />

Canadian co-<strong>op</strong> federation<br />

gifts $1m for culture heritage park<br />

by Miles Hadfield<br />

Wanuskewin Heritage Park is an<br />

archaeological site and non-profit<br />

cultural and historical centre of the<br />

First Nations, which lies just outside the<br />

city of Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, which<br />

works to advance the understanding<br />

and appreciation of the evolving<br />

cultures of the Northern Plains<br />

indigenous pe<strong>op</strong>les.<br />

In Cree, ‘Wanuskewin’ means ‘living in<br />

harmony’ or ‘peaceful gathering place’.<br />

“This name was chosen by our original<br />

elders to reflect the spirit of the land<br />

and its history,” says the Wanuskewin<br />

Heritage Park Authority (WHPA).<br />

“The nomadic tribes who travelled<br />

through the Northern Plains gathered<br />

on this site of natural beauty where<br />

today visitors can relive the stories of<br />

a pe<strong>op</strong>le who came here to hunt bison,<br />

gather food and herbs and escape the<br />

winter winds.”<br />

It adds: “Walking in their footsteps,<br />

you will understand why this site was<br />

a place of worship and celebration, of<br />

renewal with the natural world and<br />

of a deep spirituality, and is still this<br />

way today.”<br />

Wanuskewin is a National Historic<br />

Site of Canada due to its archaeological<br />

resources – a treasure store of nearly<br />

6,000 years of the history of the<br />

Northern Plains pe<strong>op</strong>les – and the<br />

centre aims to be a “living reminder”<br />

of the pe<strong>op</strong>les’ sacred relationship with<br />

the land.<br />

To preserve this for future<br />

generations, WHPA is submitting a bid<br />

to bring World Heritage Site status to<br />

Wanuskewin – which, if successful, will<br />

38 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>

its campaigns “so future generations<br />

may enjoy this planet respectfully”.<br />

This extends to the running of the<br />

business, which works to improve<br />

sustainability of packaging and<br />

sourcing. For deliveries, it has just<br />

bought an electric van “which is<br />

far more environmentally sound<br />

and almost silent” and is looking at<br />

switching its lighting to LED.<br />

“Over the years,” it adds, “a balance<br />

always has been found between the<br />

campaigning work in which many<br />

members were involved and with the<br />

day-to-day work needed to create the<br />

funds to keep us up and running.<br />

“Ireland has undergone a massive<br />

social and a cultural shift and the Quay<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> has played an important role<br />

in driving those changes. We retain a<br />

strong interest in food politics which we<br />

believe to be the next big fight and we<br />

are leaders in the provision of organic<br />

vegetarian/vegan wholefood.”<br />

Celebrating its 40th anniversary, cofounder<br />

Arthur Leahy said: “I speak for<br />

all the Quay <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> members when I say<br />

that we are hugely grateful to the pe<strong>op</strong>le<br />

of <strong>Co</strong>rk for their continued support, it<br />

means so much to us.<br />

“Reaching this milestone anniversary<br />

is down to hard work, dedication and<br />

also that spark of alternative creativity<br />

that we see every day in the pe<strong>op</strong>le that<br />

work here, come here and sh<strong>op</strong> here.<br />

Our radical roots inform what we do to<br />

this day; they make us proud of where<br />

we work and what we’ve stood for, for<br />

40 years.<br />

“Today we face new challenges, none<br />

more so than ensuring that our future<br />

generations may respectfully enjoy this<br />

beautiful planet in peace.”<br />

General manager Simon Tiptaft<br />

added: “Hundreds of pe<strong>op</strong>le have<br />

worked at the Quay <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> over the years<br />

but many have stayed for decades.<br />

“Our team and our members are so<br />

important to us. Our customers, too, are<br />

savvy forward thinkers who continually<br />

spur us on to be better, to do more for<br />

the causes that will make a better future<br />

for us all.<br />

“As a worker co-<strong>op</strong>erative we have<br />

a unique view on trading – for us it is<br />

not about profit – if we can break even<br />

while supporting jobs and the causes<br />

that matter to us, that will do just fine<br />

for the next 40 years.”<br />

be the first site in Saskatchewan to gain<br />

such a distinction.<br />

The bid is being supported by another<br />

organisation rooted in Saskatoon:<br />

Federated <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives Ltd (FCL),<br />

which is giving the centre a CA$1m<br />

(£630,000) backing. FCL is a co-<strong>op</strong><br />

federation which provides procurement<br />

and distribution to more than 160<br />

member co-<strong>op</strong>s across Western Canada<br />

– with activities ranging from groceries<br />

to fuel and lumber.<br />

“At the heart of community is a<br />

commitment to understanding the<br />

rich history and diverse backgrounds<br />

from which we’ve come. This includes<br />

taking the time to create spaces<br />

and <strong>op</strong>portunities for inclusivity,<br />

spaces where we can gather to better<br />

u p40<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 39

understand each other,” said FCL chief<br />

executive Heather Ryan.<br />

She added that for FCL, the gift<br />

represents a “unique <strong>op</strong>portunity to<br />

build on our commitment to diversity and<br />

inclusion and reaffirm our commitment<br />

to Truth and Reconciliation”.<br />

The donation will help the park with<br />

its programming, resource management<br />

activity, and application to become a<br />

World Heritage Site by 2025.<br />

“This is an extremely exciting and<br />

timely charitable gift to Wanuskewin,”<br />

said park CEO Darlene Brander. “These<br />

beautiful traditional lands belong to all<br />

of us and in the spirit of reconciliation,<br />

FCL has stepped up to ensure we can<br />

fully articulate the new interpretive<br />

centre and trail system as being unique<br />

in the world.”<br />

After completing its visionary<br />

Thundering Ahead Campaign in late<br />

2020, the newly expanded Wanuskewin<br />

faces its next big challenge: the Unesco<br />

World Heritage designation application<br />

process. The park announced its bid<br />

in 2016 and must meet the rigorous<br />

Unesco criteria while expanding<br />

its programming and resource<br />

management activity.<br />

New amenities in place include<br />

an exhibit hall with interactive<br />

displays, indigenous art galleries, an<br />

enhanced trail system through multiple<br />

archaeological sites, and the new and<br />

ever-growing bison herd. The centre<br />

also hosts daily dr<strong>op</strong>-in programmes, as<br />

well as summer kids’ camps supported<br />

by the Saskatchewan-based <strong>Co</strong>nexus<br />

credit union.<br />

Candace<br />

Wasacase-Lafferty,<br />

Wanuskewin board member and<br />

Fundraising <strong>Co</strong>mmittee chair, added:<br />

“Wanuskewin relies on strong<br />

community partnerships to ensure we<br />

can fulfil our vision that Wanuskewin<br />

will be the living reminder of the pe<strong>op</strong>les’<br />

sacred relationship with the land. FCL has<br />

long been a stable and strong partner of<br />

Wanuskewin and we h<strong>op</strong>e their ongoing<br />

commitment will serve to inspire others to<br />

join us in our important work here.”<br />

Minnesota land co-<strong>op</strong> reimagines 40 acre<br />

site as creative space<br />

by Miles Hadfield<br />

A group of residents and artists in<br />

<strong>Co</strong>ok <strong>Co</strong>unty, Minnesota have banded<br />

together to form the Tamarack Land<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative, which intends to create a<br />

creative rural hub on a 40 acre site.<br />

The group is looking to use a stretch<br />

of land at the east end of <strong>Co</strong>ok <strong>Co</strong>unty,<br />

with the plans recently approved by<br />

the local planning commission and the<br />

<strong>Co</strong>ok <strong>Co</strong>unty Board of <strong>Co</strong>mmissioners.<br />

Close by is the unincorporated<br />

community of Hovland, on Chicago<br />

Bay of the north shore of Lake Superior.<br />

A former fishing community for 19th<br />

century Scandinavian settlers, Hovland<br />

is in Grand Portage State Forest, an area<br />

noted for its water recreation, hiking<br />

trails and fishing.<br />

The co-<strong>op</strong> will see members pay a<br />

monthly or annual usage fee in return<br />

for use of the pr<strong>op</strong>erty. Its permit<br />

application for the land use will<br />

“provide equitable access to stay and<br />

recreate in the area, while also building<br />

a community of pe<strong>op</strong>le with shared<br />

values”; in the long term they h<strong>op</strong>e it<br />

will address housing issues in the area.<br />

Among the planned activities are<br />

vacation rentals, artist residencies,<br />

public events and chicken rearing.<br />

Current owner Paul Stucker will be<br />

one of three full-time member residents,<br />

with six members staying 50 or fewer<br />

nights a year and 10 members staying<br />

14 or fewer nights per year.<br />

40 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>

On its website, the co-<strong>op</strong> “envisions<br />

a space of dynamic harmony where<br />

a diversity of life shares resources.<br />

Together, we seek to enjoy and<br />

understand nature, harness co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

power, provide <strong>op</strong>portunities for healing<br />

and growth, and encourage agency.”<br />

It adds: “Through our programming,<br />

TLC generates equity and access to<br />

land, growing a community of pe<strong>op</strong>le<br />

with the shared values of creativity,<br />

resiliency, and accountability.”<br />

The plans have drawn concerns –<br />

along with some support – from Hovland<br />

residents, reflecting the tensions that<br />

often arise with devel<strong>op</strong>ment in rural<br />

areas valued for their solitude and<br />

tranquillity. This saw plans for the<br />

site scaled back by commissioners:<br />

the duration of intended use plan has<br />

been cut from five years to two, and the<br />

number and size of permitted events<br />

has been reduced – from 12 events a year<br />

with a maximum crowd of 80, to five<br />

events with a maximum crowd of 40,<br />

and conditions have been set around<br />

issues such as the septic system, light<br />

pollution and noise.<br />

Speaking to WTIP <strong>Co</strong>mmunity Radio,<br />

Mr Stucker said the project is in “very<br />

much an exploratory phase” and there<br />

are details still to be hammered out with<br />

the planning authorities.<br />

Margaret Johnson, a full-time resident<br />

at co-<strong>op</strong> pr<strong>op</strong>erty, told WTIP that events<br />

would vary in size and focus.<br />

“Right now our thinking on what<br />

those events may be, are really that<br />

they’re held in conjunction with the<br />

artists in residence so the artists that<br />

are coming to spend dedicated time<br />

working on a project or a practice,<br />

and that those events might take<br />

place during their stay or at the end of<br />

their stay.<br />

“It might look like a showing of the<br />

work that they do. It might look like<br />

a worksh<strong>op</strong>, a sharing of a skill or a<br />

practice that they want to teach. We<br />

really felt like those events would be<br />

targeted to the community and offering<br />

<strong>op</strong>portunities to have our neighbours<br />

and local artists in conversation with<br />

the artists we have visiting.<br />

“I’m personally really interested in<br />

having regional and local artists in<br />

conversation with each other, showing<br />

work alongside each other, having<br />

conversations about what they do, and<br />

then also the potential for having local<br />

artists lead worksh<strong>op</strong>s themselves.”<br />

Part of being a co-<strong>op</strong> means living<br />

on good terms in a community and Ms<br />

Johnson said the team wanted to hear<br />

about neighbours’ concerns. “it has<br />

been an <strong>op</strong>portunity for us to reflect<br />

on our project and on the ideas that we<br />

want to do.<br />

“It was an <strong>op</strong>portunity to get<br />

feedback and kind of like how our<br />

internal conversations are being heard<br />

by others … We want to continue to be<br />

good neighbours. We want to continue<br />

to deepen our relationship with that<br />

piece of land and also with the pe<strong>op</strong>le<br />

that we live nearby.<br />

“This process has been a great<br />

<strong>op</strong>portunity for us to connect with our<br />

closest neighbours walking door-todoor<br />

and having conversations … We<br />

h<strong>op</strong>e that we can continue to connect<br />

with pe<strong>op</strong>le who have questions.”<br />

Photo: National<br />

Parks Service<br />

“This process has been a great <strong>op</strong>portunity<br />

for us to connect with our closest neighbours<br />

walking door to door and having conversations”<br />

– Margaret Johnson<br />

Mr Stucker, who moved to the area<br />

from Minneapolis-St Paul, noted that<br />

locals valued the quiet solitude of the<br />

area and said he h<strong>op</strong>ed the co-<strong>op</strong> would<br />

minimise the impact of a growing<br />

demand for activity.<br />

“I think there’s a virtue to using the<br />

space that’s there,” he told WTIP. “It<br />

might feel a little counterintuitive at<br />

first, but it’s bringing that activity into<br />

one space rather than spreading it out.”<br />

The virtue of the area is that it feels<br />

“sort of sparse and it’s pretty easy to<br />

get away and find that solitude and<br />

go walk out on a trail by yourself,” he<br />

added. “Part of that, I think, is actually<br />

acknowledging where the spaces are<br />

being used, and using them to their<br />

best capacity.<br />

“You know, say everyone in this co<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

went out and bought their<br />

own piece of land … that would actually<br />

have a much bigger impact on the<br />

character of Hovland.”<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 41

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>s plug in for a new<br />

wave of music venues<br />

by Susan Press<br />

p An architect’s<br />

impression of the<br />

main arena space at<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Live<br />

On 11 April 1963, the Beatles released their first<br />

No.1 single – and played to 300 fans at Middleton<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Hall in north Manchester. <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong><br />

venues like this were a big part of the gig<br />

circuit for the fab four, along with the<br />

Stones, the Who, the Hollies and others.<br />

Most shut decades ago but almost 50 years on the<br />

movement is looking to a new wave of venues.<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Live, due to <strong>op</strong>en in 2023, is set to be the<br />

biggest indoor arena in the UK with a maximum<br />

capacity of 23,500. It is being devel<strong>op</strong>ed by<br />

Oak View Group (OVG) in partnership with the<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group and set to inject £350m of private<br />

investment into east Manchester.<br />

Sited next to the Etihad Stadium, <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong><br />

Live will host live music, sports and family<br />

entertainment alongside bars and restaurants.<br />

The partnership with the US-based sports and<br />

leisure corporate is a departure for the Group<br />

but Amanda Jennings, director of live and local<br />

marketing, says it stays true to co-<strong>op</strong> values.<br />

“It signifies a huge regeneration of a part<br />

of the city we love, bringing a world-class,<br />

sustainable events venue to the north west,<br />

while providing an amazing <strong>op</strong>portunity to raise<br />

money for communities, allowing us to establish<br />

significant value and <strong>op</strong>portunities for members<br />

and colleagues,” she says.<br />

“This partnership is also a real <strong>op</strong>portunity<br />

for us to challenge perceptions of the brand and<br />

reach new customers.”<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eration has been central to the<br />

partnership with OVG, she adds, embedding<br />

social and environmental responsibility in the<br />

project. It will be powered by renewable energy<br />

and have an energy-efficient design, low carbon<br />

technologies and waste reduction measures,<br />

including using reclaimed water for bathrooms<br />

and toilets. Fairtrade food and drink will be on<br />

sale and green spaces are a key part of the plans.<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> members will receive exclusive presale<br />

tickets as well as late-sale ticket access and<br />

discounts, she adds, and the Group will make<br />

thousands of tickets available each year for<br />

customer promotions, competitions, colleagues<br />

and community programmes. The venue will also<br />

deliver over £1m in donations a year through the<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Foundation to communities around the<br />

UK, generating 1,000 roles and apprenticeships,<br />

in addition to over 3,000 construction jobs.<br />

But at the grassroots level of UK music – the<br />

spawning ground for the nation’s talent – small<br />

42 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Live,<br />

due to <strong>op</strong>en in<br />

2023, is set to<br />

be the biggest<br />

indoor arena<br />

in the UK<br />

venues are going to the wall and even iconic<br />

names like Sheffield Leadmill face uncertain<br />

futures at the hands of their landlords.<br />

And so, in another ambitious project, the<br />

Music Venue Trust, a charitable membership<br />

organisation set up in 2015, aims to raise £3.5m<br />

to fund nine new venues across the country.<br />

The initiative is a response to the strain put<br />

on venues by the pandemic, says CEO Mark<br />

Davyd. “At the onset of <strong>Co</strong>vid-19 it was estimated<br />

about 83% of grassroots music venues faced<br />

permanent closure. As a result of our work, less<br />

than 1% permanently closed.<br />

“However, over 90% of venues are now tenants<br />

with on average 18 months left of their tenancies.<br />

If we want these venues to continue, they need<br />

to be owned by the community.”<br />

The trust set up Music Venue Pr<strong>op</strong>erties, a<br />

charitable community benefit society, to raise<br />

capital to buy venues. With help from the Hive<br />

– the business support programme delivered by<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives UK in partnership with the <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong><br />

Bank – the team launched a community share<br />

offer in May.<br />

“We’ve had a really fantastic launch,” says<br />

Mr Davyd, “raising over £250,000 already,<br />

with an incredible response from the public.<br />

We are working to convert all the interest and<br />

enthusiasm into investors and supporters,<br />

with the aim of raising the full amount by 30<br />

September. We’re confident we can make very<br />

rapid progress in buying the venues should we<br />

be able to raise the money.”<br />

The nine locations are Hull, Darwen, Glasgow,<br />

Derby, Newport, Preston, Bideford, Atherton and<br />

Swansea. All are in areas which would struggle<br />

with more traditional models of ownership and<br />

are in need of economic investment.<br />

Rose Marley, CEO of <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives UK, said:<br />

“This campaign is a real game-changer with the<br />

potential to be the biggest community share offer<br />

to date. Music fans and communities will be able<br />

to save the venues that matter most to them –<br />

just as importantly they’ll own them too. It is an<br />

amazing <strong>op</strong>portunity to be part of securing and<br />

shaping the future of grassroots music venues.”<br />

Not every small venue will weather the coming<br />

challenges but community campaigners in<br />

south Manchester are h<strong>op</strong>ing a former cinema<br />

can survive the threat of demolition.<br />

It’s three years since the Stayin’ Alive<br />

campaign was launched to save the Gaumont in<br />

Chorlton – like the Middleton venue, a stepping<br />

stone for future icons when it hosted an early<br />

show by local boys the Bee Gees. Subsequently<br />

the site was home for many years to a <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong><br />

Funeralcare but now its fate is uncertain.<br />

Campaigners want to turn it into a live<br />

performance space with street food and bars;<br />

they have raised £400,000 and at one stage the<br />

project was the preferred bid. <strong>News</strong> the building<br />

had been sold to Southway Housing Association<br />

sparked widespread consternation.<br />

At the recent <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group AGM, member<br />

pioneer and digital specialist Shaun Fensom<br />

spoke out against the plans – but he now<br />

h<strong>op</strong>es the project can be rescued. “Southway<br />

are showing signs of being collaborative and<br />

talking to the community land trust (CLT) which<br />

is positive,” he told <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> <strong>News</strong>. “There is a lot<br />

of space behind the building to build flats, so<br />

why not convert the rest into a general purpose<br />

events space? We are h<strong>op</strong>eful the CLT will be<br />

able to agree something with Southway where<br />

the building can be kept at the heart of Chorlton.<br />

“My message is, c’mon <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Group, stay<br />

involved and help us get this over the line. This<br />

incredible piece of music heritage should not<br />

be demolished. When you have <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Live,<br />

wouldn’t this be a brilliant addition to that?”<br />

u <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> Live is due to<br />

<strong>op</strong>en in a year’s time

Sister<br />

Midnight<br />

by Alice<br />

Toomer-McAlpine<br />

q Sister Midnight<br />

directors Lottie<br />

Pendlebury, Lenny<br />

Watson and S<strong>op</strong>hie<br />

Farrell (Photo: Holly<br />

Whitaker)<br />

Lenny is a founding co-director of Sister<br />

Midnight, a community benefit society on a<br />

mission to create an accessible, affordable and<br />

inclusive grassroots music venue in Lewisham.<br />

While studying fine art in London, Lenny passed<br />

a record sh<strong>op</strong> and basement venue in Deptford,<br />

on a backstreet called Tanner’s Hill.<br />

“I just thought, ‘that seems like my kind of<br />

place’. So I asked if I could volunteer, and they<br />

said yes.” Lenny volunteered at Vinyl Deptford<br />

while studying, and her focus shifted from fine<br />

art to music.<br />

She became increasingly concerned with<br />

understanding all the things that were leading<br />

to the loss of grassroots venues, which she<br />

describes as “the seedbed of the whole music<br />

industry” – so when in 2018 Lenny’s boss told<br />

her he was going to shut the record sh<strong>op</strong> and<br />

venue down, and that someone wanted to turn<br />

it into a cheese and wine bar, she decided to do<br />

something about it.<br />

Lenny got together the money to buy the rights<br />

to her boss’s lease and Sister Midnight was born.<br />

“It was originally just an attempt to preserve<br />

what was already there,” says Lenny. “We<br />

weren’t that well known, but I think we had a<br />

fairly significant impact in quite a short amount<br />

of time ... It was just very different to how a lot of<br />

other places were being run in the local area.”<br />

By different, Lenny means Sister Midnight<br />

was not focused on making profit, but making<br />

an impact in its community. “The priority was<br />

always affordability and what was best for the<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le who were coming there.”<br />

Sister Midnight was already working in a co<strong>op</strong><br />

way, but it wasn’t until they lost their venue<br />

during the pandemic that they considered<br />

becoming a community benefit society.<br />

“The reason that we did this is because of the<br />

Music Venues Trust,” says Lenny. “They ran a<br />

seminar during lockdown and said, ‘there’s<br />

this way that you can become owned by your<br />

community and raise money to buy your building<br />

so that your landlords don’t kick you out or raise<br />

your rent or do all these horrible things that are<br />

a massive threat to most venues in the country’.<br />

44 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>

“I thought, that sounds great, but Sister<br />

Midnight’s not really big enough to raise the<br />

money it would need. We’re just a tiny venue.”<br />

But another co-<strong>op</strong> venue, Exchange in Bristol,<br />

put Lenny in touch with Dave Boyle from the<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmunity Shares <strong>Co</strong>mpany. “It just gave me so<br />

much confidence that I thought, ‘yeah, maybe<br />

we can do this. Maybe we should give it a try.’”<br />

In 2021 Sister Midnight launched a community<br />

share offer to bring a Lewisham pub called the<br />

Ravensbourne Arms into community ownership.<br />

The campaign raised over £260,000 from 865<br />

investors, but Sister Midnight has been unable<br />

to agree an offer with the owner.<br />

“That building is not worth what they want us<br />

to pay for it, and so we can’t do it. Even if we had<br />

£3m sat in our bank account, there’s a really big<br />

question around the ethics involved with using<br />

investors’ funds towards significant private gain.<br />

“We’re keeping a very close eye on the<br />

situation and it’s still a long term aspiration of<br />

ours that we would be able to bring that space<br />

into community ownership, but I think it’s just<br />

a very sad reflection on the state of the London<br />

pr<strong>op</strong>erty market.”<br />

The team is still looking for a local pr<strong>op</strong>erty<br />

but the business has had to change tack for now.<br />

“The economic situation has changed so much<br />

that taking on that kind of large loan funding<br />

doesn’t seem like such a good idea. With interest<br />

rates going up so significantly I don’t know<br />

whether it would still be affordable for us.<br />

“So we recently went to our investors and<br />

asked them if they would support us using the<br />

funds to set up a ‘meanwhile space’, to find<br />

somewhere that we can run the venue in the<br />

medium term and reposition the goal of owning<br />

our venue to be a more long term one.”<br />

This plan has been supported by 97% of those<br />

who responded to Sister Midnight’s pr<strong>op</strong>osal,<br />

says Lenny. “In a lot of ways it was surprising<br />

to us how many of the investors came back and<br />

said that they’d actually invested on the basis of<br />

a community owned venue, not on this specific<br />

building,” she adds. “That was a really beautiful<br />

thing to see, that so many pe<strong>op</strong>le have this<br />

greater understanding of co-<strong>op</strong> businesses and<br />

how they can benefit the community and they<br />

really want one no matter where it is. So that’s an<br />

achievement, if anything, just that pe<strong>op</strong>le have<br />

this awareness now and this desire for it.”<br />

Sister Midnight’s journey has also introduced<br />

them to a wider network of community-owned<br />

businesses, working together. “When we were<br />

going through the process of setting this up,<br />

The priority was always<br />

affordability and what<br />

was best for the pe<strong>op</strong>le<br />

who were coming ...”<br />

so many pe<strong>op</strong>le were willing to give us their<br />

time just to offer advice and help us out. It’s a<br />

much more supportive environment, which<br />

is something that I love, because even prior to<br />

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

I’ve always been of the mindset that venues<br />

should be supporting each other, not competing<br />

with each other. We’re part of an ecosystem and<br />

no venue can survive by itself.<br />

“We have a great network. And I’m really<br />

excited to build on that because I think there<br />

are so many interesting things happening co<strong>op</strong>eratively<br />

that pe<strong>op</strong>le don’t know about.”<br />

Sister Midnight’s story has already inspired a<br />

number of groups who now want to <strong>op</strong>en their<br />

own community owned businesses, and they<br />

are beginning to support a number of fledgling<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>s take their first steps towards community<br />

ownership in order to help grow the movement.<br />

Sister Midnight also wants to expand its network<br />

of creatives, Lenny says.<br />

“So many musicians have been amazed by<br />

the promise that this kind of project can have<br />

for music venues because most musicians are<br />

very, very aware of the problems facing venues –<br />

how difficult it is to <strong>op</strong>erate and to survive. And<br />

so I think this is something that’s of really great<br />

interest to the whole music community.”<br />

Sister Midnight will hold its fourth birthday<br />

party in Lewisham on 23 <strong>July</strong>. “It’s very strange<br />

to think about how far we’ve come in four years,”<br />

says Lenny, adding that it would be nice if, by<br />

their fifth birthday, Sister Midnight has a home.<br />

And to those considering the route of<br />

community ownership, Lenny recommends it,<br />

but warns that it is a big learning process and<br />

something you must be fully committed to.<br />

“It’s not just a business structure. It’s a<br />

business culture, in a way. You have to completely<br />

change your mindset to how businesses are run<br />

and how they should be run. You have a lot more<br />

accountability to your community and to your<br />

employees. It changes things, but I don’t see that<br />

being a negative change. I think that’s a change<br />

that everyone needs to embrace.”<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 45

Sharjah<br />

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

the heart of its<br />

community for<br />

40 years<br />

by Anca Voinea Sharjah <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Society was set up in 1977<br />

by ministerial decree to provide services to the<br />

local community and boost the living standards<br />

of pe<strong>op</strong>le in Sharjah, one of the emirates of the<br />

United Arab Emirates.<br />

Other co-<strong>op</strong>s followed and the UAE is now<br />

home to 40 co-<strong>op</strong>s and two co-<strong>op</strong>erative unions,<br />

with most of the sector <strong>op</strong>erating in retail.<br />

Sharjah <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Society runs 48 retail<br />

outlets, including big sh<strong>op</strong>ping centres with<br />

various retail stores, restaurants, cafés and<br />

healthcare centres. As such, the co-<strong>op</strong>erative is<br />

an important community hub for the emirate<br />

and its capital city of Sharjah, which is the<br />

country’s third-most p<strong>op</strong>ulous city, after Dubai<br />

and Abu Dhabi.<br />

p Sharjah’s stateof-the-art<br />

Rahmania<br />

Mall Hypermarket in<br />

the city of Sharjah<br />

The pandemic led to changes in UAE customers’<br />

behaviours with e-commerce accounting for 8%<br />

share of the retail market during 2020. The UAE<br />

retail e-commerce market reached a record US<br />

$3.9bn in 2020, a 53% year-on-year increase.<br />

In response to these changes, Sharjah has put<br />

systems in place for customers to order online or<br />

via WhatsApp. Items can be delivered to them or<br />

picked up at a selected store.<br />

“As a co-<strong>op</strong>, our mission and target is different<br />

from that of all the other competitors around<br />

us, we don’t just target profit, but also serve<br />

the community,” says executive director Zied<br />

Hammami.<br />

During the pandemic, the co-<strong>op</strong> distributed<br />

AED 7m in the form of gifts and food to charities<br />

in the area. Such acts of kindness are common<br />

during the holy month of Ramadan and known<br />

as ‘Ramadan Meer’.<br />

The co-<strong>op</strong> also extended a helping hand<br />

to those affected by the August 2020 Beirut<br />

explosion, sending 65 tons of food as part of<br />

Sharjah city’s ‘Salam Beirut’ initiative.<br />

In addition to its retail outlets, Sharjah <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong><br />

also runs Mobi<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>, a ‘sh<strong>op</strong> on wheels’, to reach<br />

customers in remote locations. Mr Hammami<br />

46 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>

says this initiative shows that his co-<strong>op</strong> remains<br />

rooted in the local community.<br />

“When it comes to food, pe<strong>op</strong>le need to<br />

smell, to touch,” he says, adding that Mobi<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong><br />

enables them to choose the products they want<br />

just like they would in a local supermarket.<br />

“Many branches were <strong>op</strong>ened to support<br />

communities, because no one else would go<br />

there,” he says. “Our message for customers is<br />

we are here for you. We will come and serve you”.<br />

“We consider participating in society as our<br />

main goal,” adds Abdullah Issa Al Huraimel,<br />

executive director, new enterprises.<br />

He says the co-<strong>op</strong> provides services<br />

in underserved areas to support remote<br />

communities including via 16 branches in central<br />

jails – this is in addition to the 48 branches run<br />

in Sharjah.<br />

Customers make around 35,000 transactions<br />

across all of Sharjah <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>’s branches every<br />

day. Around 60-70% of the p<strong>op</strong>ulation living in<br />

Sharjah sh<strong>op</strong> at the co-<strong>op</strong>, which has a market<br />

share of 25% in the city – the highest of all<br />

retailers, and 5% in the UAE.<br />

Sharjah <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> is owned by 24,000 member<br />

shareholders, who get a dividend on the surplus<br />

made by the co-<strong>op</strong> and 10% cash back on total<br />

purchase. Around 165,000 customers sh<strong>op</strong> at the<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>, including member owners.<br />

The co-<strong>op</strong> is also an important employer in the<br />

local community, providing 2,000 jobs, of which<br />

women hold 25%. Employees can use a mobile<br />

app to access KPIs or book holidays.<br />

Having a social purpose is not without<br />

challenges as competitors are quick to establish<br />

outlets in devel<strong>op</strong>ed areas, reaping the benefits<br />

of Sharjah’s investments in the local community.<br />

In April 2021 Sharjah <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> launched its first<br />

state of the art Rahmania Mall Hypermarket in<br />

the city of Sharjah, an initiative that cost the<br />

co-<strong>op</strong> US $1m.<br />

Another challenge is that customers want<br />

cheaper prices, a trend that began during the<br />

pandemic which is here to stay. Big retailers<br />

are at an advantage in this price war as they<br />

can run at a loss for many years to gain the<br />

market share.<br />

Despite these challenges, Sharjah remains<br />

strong. In 2020 it reported a 7% year-on-year<br />

sales revenue growth and a 200% increase in<br />

e-commerce year-on-year revenue.<br />

The co-<strong>op</strong> sco<strong>op</strong>ed several accolades at the<br />

2021 Retail Asia Awards, winning Hypermarket<br />

of the Year – UAE, Omnichannel Strategy of the<br />

Year – UAE, and CSR Initiative of the Year – UAE.<br />

The UAE’s co-<strong>op</strong> movement continues to grow,<br />

with 95,000 member shareholders. The sector<br />

contributes AED 46m to the country’s GDP but<br />

the government feels there is potential for it<br />

do still more. To help drive this growth along,<br />

the Ministry of Economy has recently signed a<br />

partnership agreement with the ICA, through the<br />

latter’s Asia-Pacific office to devel<strong>op</strong> a long-term<br />

strategy for co-<strong>op</strong>s. As part of this, co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

legislation will also be amended.<br />

“Around 60-70% of the<br />

p<strong>op</strong>ulation living in Sharjah<br />

sh<strong>op</strong> at the co-<strong>op</strong>...”<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 47


Bhima Subrahmanyam<br />

President, International <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative<br />

Banking Association (ICBA)<br />

was written by Dr R Bhaskaran, a financial<br />

consultant, with Dr Padmanabhan, an IT expert.<br />

2. Sustainable Devel<strong>op</strong>ment Goals & Objectives:<br />

<strong>Co</strong>ntribution of <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Banks (2020), written<br />

by Dr Olivier Boned. The intervention of Dr Eum<br />

Hyungsik, director of the ICA Global Office,<br />

helped to fine tune the report.<br />

3. Report of <strong>Co</strong>untry Papers on Regulation and<br />

Sustainability of <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Banks – produced<br />

by the ICBA Secretariat<br />

4. ICBA Members Today: How Do They <strong>Co</strong>ntribute<br />

and Report on Sustainable Devel<strong>op</strong>ment? (2021)<br />

This written by Dr Nazik Beishenaly, researcher<br />

at KU Leuven and Rubiga Sivakumaran,<br />

independent consultant. Santosh Kumar,<br />

director of the ICA Global Office, extended<br />

guidance to the team which helped to concretise<br />

the methodology and fine tune the report.<br />



Our celebration will most likely take place this<br />

November in Brussels, home of the International<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative Alliance’s (ICA) global office.<br />

Specifically, the centenary celebrations will<br />

focus on the following actions: to revisit the role<br />

and objectives of the ICBA as a global organisation<br />

for co-<strong>op</strong>erative financial institutions (CFIs); to<br />

define the key parameters of the ICBA; to organise<br />

a global seminar on strategies to strengthen CFIs;<br />

to plan and bring out, if possible, a commemorative<br />

document comprising messages and articles on<br />

banking and finance; to publish the results of the<br />

three studies undertaken by the ICBA for analytical<br />

discussions; and to work out the strategies to<br />

execute the ICA’s strategic plan 2020-30.<br />




Over the last two years – while dealing with the<br />

<strong>Co</strong>vid-19 pandemic – the ICBA has published a<br />

number of academic documents:<br />

1. Regulation and Sustainability of <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative<br />

Banks: A cross country Study (2020), which<br />

The reports have been widely circulated and very well<br />

appreciated by many.<br />

A matter of great satisfaction to all of us at ICBA<br />

was that the first three reports were formally released<br />

by Ariel Guarco, president of the ICA, on 30 November<br />

at Seoul, South Korea – during the hybrid meetings of<br />

the ICBA General Assembly and board meeting.<br />

The fourth report on ICBA members was been fine<br />

tuned and finalised after discussions at different<br />

levels, with two webinars involving eminent<br />

personalities. Mr Guarco was accompanied by<br />

some of the directors from the ICA board at the 30<br />

November webinar –including Jean-Louis Bancel and<br />

Isabelle Ferrand.<br />

The ICBA acknowledged the contributions of all<br />

those involved in finalising the above study reports.<br />

To answer your question precisely, the ICBA<br />

Members Today report has come out very well – in<br />

spite of certain limitations, and sets out a clear<br />

message to CFIs about their role and involvement<br />

with the sustainable devel<strong>op</strong>ment goals (SDGs).<br />



Truly important question. There were number of<br />

challenges:<br />

1. Inconsistencies in contact information of ICBA<br />

members who are spread over four regions<br />

48 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>

2. <strong>Co</strong>mmunication channels are not updated<br />

3. A long- term gap between members and ICBA<br />

functionaries<br />

4. An ‘uncalled for’ tendency to question the<br />

usefulness of the ICBA and its relevance. This<br />

has been aptly answered by the ICA board in<br />

reviving and reconstituting the ICBA<br />

5. Inability to integrate available information<br />

about all 17 SDGs<br />

6. Dependence on secondary sources of<br />

information<br />

These challenges have been ably addressed by Dr<br />

Nazik Beishenaly and Rubiga Sivakumaran.<br />




Despite the increasing awareness of sustainability<br />

disclosure, more than half of ICBA members have<br />

not yet integrated the SDGs into their reporting<br />

and communication. The ICBA members that<br />

actively engage in sustainability reporting are often<br />

encouraged by national and regional regulators.<br />

ICBA members’ contributions to sustainable<br />

devel<strong>op</strong>ment are driven and enabled by a range of<br />

internal and external factors.<br />



Certainly, yes. It is possible to replicate the best<br />

practices and the ICBA can play a significant role in<br />

disseminating the practices.<br />

Furthermore, as has been documented in the<br />

report, the best practices and knowledge sharing<br />

are among the most important expectations of ICBA<br />

members because they are based in different regions<br />

of the world. The ICBA could serve as a platform to<br />

share regional experiences, banking knowledge<br />

and co-<strong>op</strong>erative expertise. It could also share<br />

best practices on devel<strong>op</strong>ments in areas such as<br />

financial and environmental regulation.<br />

The exchange of best practices is essential<br />

during pandemic times – and indeed at all times<br />

that require novel approaches in terms of health<br />

measures, hybrid working, and the resumption of<br />

activities and international travel.<br />

A regular benchmarking and exchange of CFI<br />

practices would also be helpful in establishing<br />

virtual communication, organising conferences<br />

and sharing north-south good practices.<br />

The ICBA could centralise the communication of<br />

its members on t<strong>op</strong>ics of common interest through<br />

its website, conferences, training, study tours and<br />

other means.<br />







As has been said, the ICBA could centralise the<br />

communication of its members on t<strong>op</strong>ics of<br />

common interest through its website, conferences,<br />

training, study tours and other means.<br />

The ICBA shall assume the advocacy role<br />

effectively, in contributing to SDGs.<br />



ICBA institutions can enter into partnerships with<br />

the co-<strong>op</strong>eratives. They will then have access to<br />

funding, so they can use those funds themselves, or<br />

let co-<strong>op</strong>eratives access funding for their own use.<br />

These are two major advantages the ICBA is having<br />

as a global organisation.<br />

The ICBA could also consolidate the information<br />

it collects and devel<strong>op</strong> guidance on sustainability<br />

reporting:<br />

As has been enumerated in the study report,<br />

sustainability reporting is mandatory in many<br />

countries, but questions remain because co-<strong>op</strong>s<br />

also need to devel<strong>op</strong> their stance on how they<br />

contribute to sustainability and what their valueadded<br />

is.<br />

The ICBA – which benefits from its international<br />

positioning and access to global policy platforms,<br />

the international co-<strong>op</strong>erative community and<br />

other financial institutions, can help devel<strong>op</strong> the<br />

conceptual grounding that emphasises the co<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

difference.<br />

Members expect the ICBA to support practical<br />

tools that include system to organise the<br />

measurements of the co<strong>op</strong>eratives’ contribution to<br />

the SDGs.<br />

As a part of advocacy, the ICBA platform could<br />

also allow the direct exchange of existing and new<br />

regulations with policy-makers and regulatory<br />

authorities.<br />

One of the ways to measure is to assess the extent<br />

of demonstrating and disseminating with case<br />

studies and other examples aimed at influencing<br />

the policies of governments.<br />

Furthermore, the ICBA – with its potential as a<br />

global organisation – may also attempt to devel<strong>op</strong><br />

a separate mechanism to measure the impact<br />

of the contributions by their members. It could<br />

use the result of this facilitate conducive policy<br />

formulations.<br />

JULY <strong>2022</strong> | 49

DIARY<br />

Do you have a co-<strong>op</strong>erative<br />

event – taking place in person,<br />

online, or as a hybrid – to be<br />

featured?<br />

Tell us at:<br />

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

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

2 <strong>July</strong><br />

International Day of <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives events<br />

2 <strong>July</strong> (Hebden Bridge, UK)<br />

10.45am: <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative heritage walk led<br />

by co-<strong>op</strong> historian Andrew Bibby. Free.<br />

Meet foyer of Hebden Bridge Town Hall.<br />

1.30pm-4.30pm <strong>Co</strong>nference: <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives<br />

work! Another economy is possible, plus<br />

worksh<strong>op</strong>s and stalls, at the Waterfront<br />

Hall, Hebden Bridge Town Hall. Free, with<br />

pre-booking advisable<br />

7.30pm <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eration <strong>Co</strong>ncert with the<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mmoners’ Choir. Trades Club, £9/£6.<br />

Day’s events organised by Calderdale <strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>erative<br />

Association.<br />

calderco<strong>op</strong>s@gmail.com<br />

Radical Bakers Summer Gathering<br />

7-10 <strong>July</strong> (Shrewsbury)<br />

A full programme of hands-on practical<br />

worksh<strong>op</strong>s, The Baker’s Arms Cafe, The<br />

Green Dragon Solar Stage hosting some<br />

great bands, kids’ stuff and a lot of lovely<br />

pe<strong>op</strong>le.<br />

bit.ly/3QFJjsp<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives UK National Youth Summit<br />

11 <strong>July</strong> (Manchester)<br />

A free event designed to empower and<br />

inspire young pe<strong>op</strong>le in school, college or<br />

university and those starting to consider<br />

their future choices – in work and in life.<br />

A day of worksh<strong>op</strong>s and inspiring<br />

speakers, the summit brings together<br />

today’s leaders with the leaders of the<br />

future to explore radical solutions to<br />

many of society’s challenges.<br />

bit.ly/3xTB434<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>s as a tool for Racial Justice<br />

13 <strong>July</strong> (London)<br />

This worksh<strong>op</strong> will explore the legacy of<br />

co-<strong>op</strong>erative devel<strong>op</strong>ment as a political<br />

and economic strategy that builds a<br />

racially just economy.<br />

bit.ly/3nf43cJ<br />

Playground for the New Economy<br />

12-14 <strong>July</strong> (Devon)<br />

Stir to Action’s Playground for the New<br />

Economy Festival is returning to its<br />

residential campus at Selgars Mill in Mid<br />

Devon for three days of panels, worksh<strong>op</strong>s,<br />

<strong>op</strong>en space, virtual reality experiences,<br />

sustainable food, and live music.<br />

stirtoaction.com/festival<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Press AGM<br />

25 <strong>July</strong>, 6pm (Online)<br />

The annual meeting of <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Press,<br />

the co-<strong>op</strong> which publishes <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> <strong>News</strong>.<br />

thenews.co<strong>op</strong>/AGM<strong>2022</strong><br />

Why co<strong>op</strong>s? How co<strong>op</strong>eratives can<br />

contribute to pe<strong>op</strong>le and planet<br />

28 <strong>July</strong> (London)<br />

This session will explore the benefits of<br />

being a co-<strong>op</strong> and how co-<strong>op</strong>s can have<br />

a positive impact on workers, consumers,<br />

the wider economy and communities, and<br />

help you to build your knowledge and<br />

confidence to make the case for co-<strong>op</strong>s.<br />

bit.ly/3OCsU6a<br />

UKSCS Annual <strong>Co</strong>nference<br />

26-28 August (Lincoln)<br />

The first in-person UK Society for<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Studies conference since<br />

2019 will take place at Lincoln University<br />

and explore the theme: <strong>Co</strong>nsumer co<strong>op</strong>eratives:<br />

past, present and future.<br />

bit.ly/3EU3ahM<br />

Values and value chains<br />

7 September (London)<br />

Join Outlandish <strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong> for a session<br />

to better understand the values and<br />

planning tools that co<strong>op</strong>eratives support<br />

(delivered Douglas by Racionzer)<br />

bit.ly/3HPh8TI<br />

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

8-9 October (Leeds)<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>erative Party’s showcase and the<br />

largest political online gathering of the<br />

year for the UK co‐<strong>op</strong>erative movement.<br />

party.co<strong>op</strong>/event/annconf022<br />

<strong>Co</strong><strong>op</strong>s and social enterprises<br />

12 October (London)<br />

A session to better understand the terms<br />

<strong>Co</strong>-<strong>op</strong>eratives and Social Enterprises<br />

and how to access resources available.<br />

(Hosted by Outlandish and delivered by<br />

Douglas Racionzer)<br />

bit.ly/3tUey9h<br />

ICMIF Centenary <strong>Co</strong>nference<br />

25-28 October <strong>2022</strong> (Rome)<br />

The ICMIF Centenary <strong>Co</strong>nference will be<br />

hosted by the Unipol Group, an ICMIF’s<br />

founding member, in Rome, where the<br />

organisation was formed.<br />

icmif.org/icmif-conference/<br />

50 | JULY <strong>2022</strong>



100% COMPOSTABLE<br />

100% Home<br />

<strong>Co</strong>mpostable<br />

<strong>Co</strong>rnstarch<br />

Material<br />

Nespresso® <strong>Co</strong>mpatible Capsules<br />

coffee@revolver.co<strong>op</strong> www.revolverworld.com 01902 345 345

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