Valley Organics

Coops UK

 

Coops

Why a co-op?

A workers' co-op is a business run democratically to provide a service to the local community and meaningful employment for its members. We think a workers' co-op has a number of important advantages:

  • A less hierarchical structure means that there is a wider pool of skills, experience, ideas and energy to draw on in all areas of the business.
  • With workers collectively determining the direction of the business and supporting each other, co-ops ensure greater autonomy for staff and a better working environment.
  • Co-ops are founded on principles of co-operation and mutual support, they enjoy help from other co-ops and co-operative development agencies. This is something we have already drawn great benefits from in planning our business.
  • Co-ops have social, environmental and educational aims beyond the pursuit of profit. This helps to inspire greater commitment from workers, and increases support from customers and the wider community.
  • Although decision-making can take time, decisions considered collectively will lead to better, long-lasting outcomes.

We have decided to run our Co-op by collective management. This means all the worker/members are also directors. We pay ourselves a reasonable wage and all receive the same rate of pay.

The co-op advantage

There is abundant evidence that demonstrates how being a co-op makes good financial and business sense.

Co-ops as a whole have consistently outperformed the rest of the economy for the last few years. Latest figures from Co-ops UK reveal that co-op businesses in the UK have increased their combined turnover by some 15.8% to almost £34 billion, despite UK GDP decreasing by 4.9% in the same period.

A recent report by Co-ops UK reveals the following public perceptions:

  • Fairness - 75% think co-ops are fair, while only 18% think shareholder companies (PLCs) are
  • Trust - 66% think co-ops can be trusted, but only 29% think PLCs can
  • Honesty - 63% think co-ops are honest, compared with 15% who think PLCs are honest
  • Public good - 65% of people think co-ops work for the public good, compared with 12% who think PLCs do.

For more information about co-operatives see www.uk.coop

Local co-ops

Hebden Bridge is reputed to have the second highest density of co-operatives in the country. Please support these local coops:

Andrew Bibby discusses issues relating to co-operative businesses in his blog, Bibby on cooperatives