Co-operatives: An Overview - Martin Meteyard

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Presented at the Irish National Rural Network conference on the 1st of December 2009

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Co-operatives: An Overview - Martin Meteyard

  1. 1. Co-operatives: An Overview Martin Meteyard Co-operative Consultant (Scotland) [email_address] www.nrn.ie
  2. 2. Co-operatives: An Overview <ul><li>Tried and tested business model going back more than 200 years </li></ul><ul><li>Over 800m co-op members worldwide </li></ul><ul><li>Co-ops provide more than 100m jobs </li></ul><ul><li>Aggregate turnover of top 300 co-ops in world = 1.1 trillion USD </li></ul><ul><li>Business model based on TRUST </li></ul>
  3. 3. Co-operatives: An Overview Co-operatives operate according to seven principles as agreed by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) <ul><li>Voluntary and Open Membership </li></ul><ul><li>Democratic Member Control </li></ul><ul><li>Member Economic Participation </li></ul><ul><li>Autonomy and Independence </li></ul><ul><li>Education, Training and Information </li></ul><ul><li>Co-operation among Co-operatives </li></ul><ul><li>Concern for Community </li></ul>
  4. 4. Co-operatives: An Overview <ul><li>“ Co-operatives are a means to provide goods and services which members need and which they cannot obtain individually at similarly favourable conditions, or at all.” </li></ul><ul><li>(Prof. Hans-H. Munkner) </li></ul>
  5. 5. Co-operatives: An Overview <ul><li>Case study 1 : The Co-operative Group (UK) </li></ul><ul><li>Established 1863 as Co-op Wholesale Society </li></ul><ul><li>Dominant food supplier up till WW2 </li></ul><ul><li>Almost continuous decline till early 1990s </li></ul><ul><li>Decline halted with greater emphasis on membership and values – ethical positioning </li></ul><ul><li>Strong support for rural retailing </li></ul><ul><li>Now largest consumer co-op in world – Somerfield takeover & Britannia BS merger </li></ul>
  6. 6. Co-operatives: An Overview <ul><li>Case study 2 : Mondragon (Basque country, Spain) </li></ul><ul><li>Catholic priest set up technical school 1943 </li></ul><ul><li>First industrial co-operative with 24 workers 1956 </li></ul><ul><li>Caja Laboral bank established 1959 </li></ul><ul><li>Retail co-ops form Eroski chain 1969 </li></ul><ul><li>Importance of multi-stakeholder model </li></ul><ul><li>Role of members’ capital </li></ul><ul><li>Now 90,000+ employees worldwide </li></ul><ul><li>‘ Green jobs’ initiative in USA with USW trade union </li></ul>
  7. 7. Co-operatives: An Overview <ul><li>Case study 3 : Amul (India) </li></ul><ul><li>First dairy co-op union in Gujarat formed 1946 </li></ul><ul><li>Indigenous R&D and technology development </li></ul><ul><li>Success led to formation of other dairy co-ops </li></ul><ul><li>Apex co-op formed 1973: Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation </li></ul><ul><li>Now jointly owned by 2.8m milk producers via more than 13,000 village dairy co-ops </li></ul><ul><li>Largest food brand in India, turnover of 1.5 bn USD </li></ul><ul><li>Strong consumer branding, now export to 37 countries </li></ul>
  8. 8. Co-operatives: An Overview <ul><li>Other co-op success stories: </li></ul><ul><li>US rural electricity co-ops – 930 co-ops with 40 million consumer members covering 75% of land mass in 46 states </li></ul><ul><li>Renewable energy: Denmark and Scotland </li></ul><ul><li>Co-operative banks and credit unions </li></ul><ul><li>Agricultural co-ops </li></ul>
  9. 9. Co-operatives: An Overview <ul><li>Co-ops can also unite producers and consumers </li></ul><ul><li>Oklahoma Food Co-op started November 2003 </li></ul><ul><li>Only sells food and non-food products made in Oklahoma </li></ul><ul><li>Membership open to producers & consumers </li></ul><ul><li>Co-op charges each 10% to finance operating costs </li></ul><ul><li>Now more than 2,000 members, with 3,800 items offered every month, and $1m annual sales </li></ul>
  10. 10. Co-operatives: An Overview <ul><li>Other examples: </li></ul><ul><li>Farmers’ markets – notably Dublin Food Co-op! </li></ul><ul><li>Fairtrade system, based on consumers supporting producers – UK sales in 2008 rose 43% to more than £700m </li></ul><ul><li>Can UK and Irish agricultural co-ops (e.g. milk producers) learn from this? </li></ul>
  11. 11. Co-operatives: An Overview <ul><li>In the wake of the financial crisis, people are looking more than ever for business models that embody accountability and trust. </li></ul><ul><li>An opportunity that co-operatives should seize! </li></ul><ul><li>Thank you. </li></ul>
  12. 12. Co-operatives: An Overview <ul><li>Some useful websites: </li></ul><ul><li>International Co-operative Alliance www.ica.coop </li></ul><ul><li>The Co-operative Group www.co-operative.coop </li></ul><ul><li>Mondragon Co-operative Corporation www.mondragon-corporation.com </li></ul><ul><li>Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation www.amul.com </li></ul><ul><li>National Rural Electric Co-operative Association www.nreca.org </li></ul><ul><li>Energy4All www.energy4all.co.uk </li></ul><ul><li>Oklahoma Food Co-op www.oklahomafood.coop </li></ul><ul><li>Dublin Food Co-op www.dublinfood.coop </li></ul><ul><li>UK Fairtrade Foundation www.fairtrade.org.uk </li></ul>

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