Coop Group

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The Co-operative Group

The Co-operative Group is the world’s largest consumer co-operative. Its operations span food and farming, electrical, pharmacy, travel, banking, insurance, legal services and funeralcare.

The Co-operative Group began in 1863 as The Co-operative Wholesale Society (CWS). By 1900 it was supplying goods to 1,439 retail co-operative societies, had entered manufacturing and farming, and had established Co-operative Insurance and the Co-operative Bank. In the early 1920’s many co-operative societies were going out of business, so CWS established Co-operative Retail Services Limited (CRS) which aquired failing societies and brought them back into the movement.

In 2000 the CWS and CRS merged to form The Co-operative Group.

2013 was the 150th anniversary year.

The Co-operative is proud to say that it is:

  • Owned by Members
  • Sharing the Profits
  • Helping your Community
  • Changing the World

The Co-operative leads the way in ethical trading including Fairtrade and product labelling, and does not trade on the stock market. It is owned collectively by its members who are shareholders, each owning one share (£1).

The Trading Surplus is:

  • Re-invested into the business
  • Distributed to the members to the extent that the profits allow (decided at the Co-operative Group annual general meetings)
  • Invested in the communities where it trades and in the wider co-operative movement in accordance with the values and principles of the Movement (see statement of the Co-operative Identity).

The Co-operative is a three tier representational democracy. Members vote for Area Committee representatives, who in turn elect the Regional Boards and the Group Board. It is the responsibility of the elected members to ensure that the Co-operative remains a successful business providing a useful service to its members and general customers and is true to its co-operative principles.

The Regional Democratic Services manager is Ed Powell,