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Blogs posted by Co-operatives UK staff, members or supporter organisations.


First for fifty years – a new law and a new sense of purpose for co-operatives

We have the first new consolidated Co-operatives Act in the UK for nearly fifty years. With our technical input, support from across the political spectrum and preparatory work by the Law Commission, the Coalition Government has made UK a better place to start and grow co-operatives.

The landmark Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act (2014) which comes into force today brings together long dated overly complex legislation into one unified statute. It also wraps up a programme of legislative reform delivered by the Coalition:

Fairness is the shadow of the future

I was prompted by an article by the great Kiwi Co-operator, Ramsey Margolis, on how co-ops can tackle inequality to reflect on the deep connections that exist between ideas of co-operation and of equality.

Some might say that the concept of fairness is at odds with the complexity and apparent ungovernable dynamics of modern, open economies – there is little we can do and if there is unfairness, perhaps it will work out in the long run.

Guest Blog - Ramsay Dunning of Co-operative Energy

This month we're pleased to have the opportunity to share a guest blog from one of our members.
Ramsey Dunning is the General Manager of Co-operative Energy and a firm believer in giving energy consumers a fairer deal. Here he talks about the new 'User Chooser' option, which aims to give real power to consumers when considering where their energy comes from.

How we developed the Co-operative Marque – a story of how coops are coming together

Today is International Coops Day – the 92nd year it has been held and the 20th sponsored by the United Nations (UN) – and the close of the 2014 UK Co-operatives Fortnight.

It seems a good day to tell the story of how we developed the Co-operative Marque. Eight months after launching it in South Africa, 740 co-operative businesses have signed up to use the Marque. Those businesses come from 70 countries.

Coops and the World Cup – Viel Erfolg! Succes! Boa Sorte! Buena Suerte! Bonne Chance!

The countries left in the World Cup are ones by coincidence all that we have had contact with over recent years, having something special and co-operative going on domestically.

And in that spirit, Fred Bosch, chief executive of Coop Netherlands, has sent us over a note on how he reconciles co-operation with the competitive demands ahead in football and in retail.

“This year’s International Day of the Cooperatives coincides with the quarterfinals of the World Cup in Brazil.

Out of Italy (and into Wales) comes a new strategy for social care – ‘with and for’

The social care sector, catering for the most vulnerable people in society, has been hit hard by austerity measures.

Social care costs account for one third to one half of local government core budgets and the squeeze on funding has meant that low pay has become endemic to the model of state care, as it has been among private sector contractors. In the home care sector, eight out of ten workers are on zero-hour contracts.

Defamation and the Internet

This is July’s blog on legal and governance issues from Linda Barlow, in Co-operatives UK’s advice team.

One million co-operative strawberries

As a Wimbledon-born boy, I am excited that it is tennis time again and time again for… strawberries.

One million strawberries will be eaten over the course of the two weeks at Wimbledon, all from Kent’s Hugh Lowe Farms, a member of the soft fruit co-operative, KG Growers.

It is busy too across the co-operative sector, as the number of co-ops across the UK has leaped over the last year to over 6,300, with a total turnover of over £37 billion.

The greatest hits of the Co-operative Group as an ethical retailer

It has been an awful year for the Co-operative Group. But alongside the sorry saga of conflict and confusion, it is worth remembering that the business has been a wonderful innovator for some time in one field, of ethical retail.

These are what I would pick out as the five greatest hits of the Co-operative Group as an ethical retailer.

1. The pioneer of ethical certification: from Fairtade to Freedom Foods to Leaping Bunny – the Co-operative Group has helped to develop the standards for success with green and ethical products.

Fairtrade comes up roses

After the media scrutiny of Fairtrade over recent days and my last blog in support, I received this warm note from Fairtrade grower, John Nevado:


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