Global Co-operative Monitor

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The first multi-dimensional ranking of cooperatives worldwide

The main goal of the world Co-operative Monitor project is to improve a multi- indicator database reporting on the socio-economic value and impact of cooperatives both within a global scenario and in their regional and national contexts. In 2005 the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) began the Global300, an initiative finalized to develop a list of the 300 biggest co-operatives and mutual organizations worldwide.

In 2011, with the addition of Euricse (European Research Institute on Cooperative and Social Enterprises) as a technical- scientific partner, this ICA project gains methodological strength. In order to expand and give more scientific basis to the project, Euricse and ICA have established a scientific committee consisting of Euricse researchers and other international experts with diverse training and skills. The result of this collaboration is the publication of The World Co-operative Monitor Report that has been presented at the closing of the International Year of Cooperatives in Manchester and recalled during the official celebrations at the UN Palace in New York. Contribute to the monitor here: http://s.coop/1khzf

CDS CONTINUES THE SEARCH FOR SCOTLAND’S BEST NEW CONSORTIUM BUSINESS

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Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) is offering £30,000 worth of cash and support to develop new consortium co-operatives in Scotland and will be hosting a series of free workshops with Business Gateway across the country in June and July for local businesses to find out more.

Launched earlier this year by First Minister Alex Salmond, the Collaboration Prize aims to encourage businesses to consider working with others to form a new consortium co-operative. Consortiums are collaborative vehicles that play an important role in creating globally competitive businesses. They enable employees, businesses and communities to work together to fulfil shared interests.

CDS is calling for interested parties to pitch an idea for a new consortium co-operative with up to three winning concepts each receiving a cash prize of £5,000 and a further £5,000 of support to get the business off the ground.

The workshops will run from 9:30am – 12:30pm and will take place in Stirling, Paisley and Inverness. The aim is to provide a general review of the consortium co-operative model and take attendees through the stages of forming a new consortuim business. They will also help applicants consider how best to respond to all aspects of the application form.

STIRLING WORKSHOP DETAILS:

Date: Tuesday 12 June 2012

Time: 9:30am – 12:30pm

Location: Business Gateway – Stirling, STEP, John Player Building, STIRLING FK7 7RP

PAISLEY WORKSHOP DETAILS:

Date: Tuesday 26 June 2012

Time: 9:30am – 12:30pm

Location: Business Gateway – Paisley, 9b Gilmour Street, PAISLEY PA1 1DD

Places for these events can be booked through the Business Gateway website or by calling 0845 609661.

INVERNESS WORKSHOP DETAILS:

Date: Thursday 12 July 2012

Time: 9:30am – 12:30pm

Location: Ness Horizons Centre, Kintail House, Inverness

To book a place please contact Lesley Allan on 01463 713889 or email lesley.allan@highland-opportunity.com

Applications for the Collaboration Prize can be submitted online at: www.scottish-enterprise.com/cds-collaboration-prize

Deadline for entries is 31 July 2012 and winners will be announced in August later this year.

Businesses of any size and type (company, partnership, sole trader) can apply but you must:

  • Be based in Scotland
  • Have identified potential partners for the proposed collaborative venture

With a combined turnover of £4bn and employing around 28,000 people, Scotland’s 550 co-operative businesses currently play a key role in driving Scotland’s economic growth.

For more information about the Collaboration Prize or Co-operative Development Scotland, please visit: www.cdscotland.co.uk or call 0141 951 3055.

Big Co-op Event #2: New Lanark 15 June 2012

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In contrast to the 14 June, this event will focus on co-operative studies in higher education and explore ways in which it can be enhanced. Here are the details of the event:

We are happy to play a part in the celebrations around IYOC and to help raise awareness of the scale, scope and sustainable contribution of co-ops to the global economy.

However, we think it is even more important to ensure that 2012 creates a legacy and in particular in the field of education. 

There are many options in terms of co-op structures and growing areas of support but we keep coming back to the imperative, of the need to imbed co-operative values and principles and co-operative models of enterprise at the very core of our education system.  There are alternatives and we need to ensure future generations are made aware that there are alternatives.

Successful co-ops are based on member participation.  Progress, in co-operative teaching and learning, needs the participation of co-operative academics.  The basic economics of making the most efficient use of scarce resources still applies – we need your input to determine the most efficient  way to imbed co-operatives into the system.

We have an interesting programme with significant input from academics, practitioners and most significantly, students.  It will be even more interesting, stimulating and productive with your input so book your place by responding to e-mail below.

New Lanark Programme Details

Hugh Donnelly
hugh.donnelly@cets.coop

“Stirrin’ Stuff” and the Co-operative at Forth Primary!

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Morag

Taste buds were tingling for the P5-7’s at Forth Primary on Monday 23rd April!

The Co-operative Kitchen

See more photographs from the event on our Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cets/sets/72157629546873002/

The local Co-operative had arranged for their cookery demonstration unit to be erected in the school and Fi Bird  of Stirrin’ Stuff (a former MasterChef finalist) to come and work with the pupils to explore and create and make some interesting healthy  food. The pupils had the opportunity to take part in cooking chicken, making cous cous and chopping a wide variety of vegetables to combine them into a tasty , but healthy dish, which everyone then got to taste.  Participants were encouraged to try foods they had previously not  eaten or thought they didn’t like and the overwhelming view was a “thumbs up” from the pupils.

Throughout the event, the P5-7 pupils were encouraged to think about healthy eating and lifestyles as well as how to make sure their cooking skills met with health and safety guidelines… this meant regular hand washing and the wearing of aprons and a chefs hat! Finger licking (of their own fingers!), however was encouraged, especially when they experimented with rhubarb smoothies, yoghurt and honey!

The Co-operative Education Trust Scotland were supporting the day of healthy eating and living, by showing the pupils their new online resource  “The Co-operative Farm to Food Cycle”.  This gave the P5-7’s  the opportunity to explore where their food comes from, how it is processed and what happens to any waste.  Looking at what we do with our waste from the food industry will be explored further by Jonathan Kneeshaw form Zero waste Scotland, when he visits the classes at Forth Primary next week.

The Co-operative are keen to encourage communities to  shop local, buy seasonal and reduce our waste  as well as our carbon footprint – the average family throws away nearly £500 worth of food a year!

After these sessions in Forth Primary, perhaps the next generation of young people can show us how to make healthier and less wasteful food choices.  Looking at these young people, – happier choices as well!

£30,000 PRIZE FUND FOR BEST NEW CONSORTIUM BUSINESS IDEAS

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Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS) is offering £30,000 worth of cash and support to develop new consortium co-operatives in Scotland.

The inaugural Collaboration Prize aims to encourage businesses to consider working with others to form a new consortium co-operative. Co-operatives are collaborative vehicles that play an important role in creating globally competitive businesses. They enable employees, businesses and communities to work together to fulfil shared interests.

CDS is calling for interested parties to pitch an idea for a new consortium co-operative with up to three winning concepts each receiving a cash prize of £5,000 and a further £5,000 of support to get the business off the ground.

First Minister Alex Salmond, who has backed the initiative, said: “I am determined that the Scottish Government does everything possible to get more businesses thinking about how they can work better together, and the Collaboration Prize is a very valuable opportunity.

“I hope the new prize will stimulate new thinking.”

With a combined turnover of £4bn and employing around 28,000 people, Scotland’s 550 co-operative businesses currently play a key role in driving Scotland’s economic growth.

The deadline for entries is 31 July 2012 and winners will be announced later this year in August.

For more information about the Collaboration Prize or Co-operative Development Scotland, please visit: www.scottish-enterprise.com/cds-collaboration-prize or call 0141 951 3055.

Co-operative capitalism; Cultural Nationalism and Scraggie Aggie’s Co-op Baggie!

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I decided to take the advice of my peers and get out a bit more.  In the past few weeks I have been to a variety of events, some co-op and some general public policy.  However, it was in my more natural repose, on the couch with the remote control and a glass, that the inspiration for this blog arrived.  I was surfing and came upon “Val and Roger just Got In”.  It transpired that Roger had just got in from winning his job back at an Industrial Tribunal and Val suggested a holiday to recuperate but “….. not to the Scottish Islands.  I want to go somewhere where they have restaurants and not just a co-op”.  I regarded this as a nice little piece of observational humour and a pat on the back for the Community Retailing Network CRN in supporting isolated communities.   (I have subsequently been informed that Dawn French (Val) is a supporter of things co-operative and the mention of an off screen character called Pauline Green did make me wonder).   Many of the community co-op members of CRN have been operating for over 30 years and one of them featured in the BBC Series “An Island Parish” (Eriskay, if memory serves) along with local character Scraggie Aggie who has featured with her green Co-op Food “Bag for Life” scavenging for crustaceans at low tide and delivering a hand knitted pullover to the parish priest.  I have previously blogged about coops being referenced in contemporary literature and film but it is heartening to see it continue in the UN International Year of the Co-operative.  There is even a film being made about the Rochdale Pioneers (talk about history repeating itself, not only did Fenwick beat them to title of first ever co-op but also produced their own short drama piece on DVD last year!).  It appears that co-ops are becoming part of the message.

So if we are making some headway in raising awareness of co-operation amongst the general populace can we expect to make the leap to “Co-operative Capitalism”   I can see the general concept gaining credence as a response to “Big Society” (or “co-operation for slow learners” as suggested by Dave Scott) but it implies that we are part of the existing system rather than an alternative, an acceptable face of how to compete ethically within markets.  In terms of the co-operative business model that is fine but, in my limited reading on the subject so far, it doesn’t really get to grips with co-operation as a social movement, with co-operation as a value system or a different way of organising society.  As a trained economist my main concern would be that it doesn’t really tackle the neo-classical model of rational economic man.  There is a growing school of behavioural economics and others who are making the point that co-operation is just as, if not more, natural than competition.  I am delighted to confirm that we have Dr Matt Bell – the Meerkat Man – speaking on this very topic at two IYOC events this year (Aberdeen in may and New Lanark in June).

Finally, I was at a discussion on the need for a constitution for Scotland (in the event that there was a vote for independence?).  I made the point that the Co-operative movement has more constitutions, more discussions on constitutions and more experience in this field than anybody else.  I also argued that when you need to fall back on written constitutions it generally means the culture has broken down.  At their most basic co-operatives only work when there is mutual self interest, a common objective which is not achievable individually but is collectively – the Co-operative Donkeys.  So I have to confess the design of a constitution for an independent Scotland when there is no visible support for the latter does seem an inefficient use of our scarce time.  However, it did set me thinking that independence/devo max wouldn’t really change much in terms of business models in the Global economy.  MacDonalds, Vodafone, Shell, HSBC et al would still sell their services in an independent Scotland.  Most of the profit would still be exported.  So the UK wide co-operatives, mutuals and employee owned businesses would still continue with some minor restructuring in recognition of different tax regimes.  Who knows, it might even end up be beneficial for the Co-op Group to re-locate from Manchester to Fenwick for favourable tax treatment!

Fairly hypothetical, especially if one debates the independence issue solely from an economics perspective.  If one considers the concept of cultural nationalism however the party loyalties and economics tend to get lost and that does take us into the unknown.  The economists might deride this as emotional and irrational.  Maybe but that takes us back to simply accepting that we only make decisions based on perceived economic  outcomes.  I suspect there is a huge middle ground as yet undecided on independence or devo max or whether to make that decision on social, cultural or economic grounds or some combination thereof

The First Minister is known as a betting man but at this stage I would be as likely to correctly guess the contents of Scraggie Aggie’s Co-op Baggie in any future series of “An Island Parish” as the outcome of a referendum.  And I don’t see the First Minister putting his shirt on a runner he isn’t convinced will win.

Young Co-operatives – Fairlogie Café

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Morag

Do you know how to set up and run a successful Fairtrade Café? If not, but you would like to, get in touch with the P6 class at Carlogie Primary in Carnoustie and they will be delighted to help you!  Over the last few months they have been planning the opening of their monthly fairtrade café.  The first very successful morning was held on the 23rd November, in the local church hall.

I arrived to be greeted and escorted around by a group of very enthusiastic and knowledgeable young people who delivered me into the capable hands of tea and coffee makers, who then engaged me in conversation around the merits of their fairtrade products. They were unfazed by doing mental calculation to give me my change after I had been persuaded to buy other attractive fairtrade products from another stall!

Their easy, relaxed and informed manner created a warm happy atmosphere for all their customers – I counted at least 60 –who arrived from all over their community to support them. Asking the minister to announce their enterprise from his pulpit on the preceding Sunday was obviously also a very good marketing ploy!

At the co-op, we are always trying to explain clearly what our values and principles are – looking at the student’s interpretation of them, perhaps we can learn how to apply them more easily through children’s eyes.

Fairlogie Cafe values

Fairlogie Cafe principles

I also have to mention, for teachers benefit, that to my mind this is a really good example of how to “do” Curriculum for Excellence. There was evidence of true interdisciplinary learning – listening and talking, writing, numeracy, health and well-being for starters, as well as showing how to put the four capacities into action. If you want to see this all happening for yourself – go along to their next Fairtade Café event at Panbride Church Hall, Newton Church, Arbroath Road, Carnoustie, 10am-11.30 on Wednesday 14th December. Remember to take plenty of cash as their excellent sales team will persuade you to buy lots of their excellent products specially selected for Christmas.

There – they have now managed to get me to do some marketing for them as well!

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