British co-operatives have outperformed the UK economy for the fourth consecutive year. Annual figures released by Co-operatives UK, show the British movement has grown 1.5% in 2011, which is twice the rate of 0.7% in the UK economy.
The sector has coped well with the financial crisis and while the real level of GDP in the UK in 2011 is 1.7%, the turnover of the co-operative sector has grown by 19.5% over the same period.
Following the publication of the report Ed Mayo, Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, said: “This is good news for business and for our new emerging economy. At a time where our economic system is undergoing fundamental change and critical analysis as to its suitability for the future, this is evidence that broadening ownership and control, prioritising social and environmental impact alongside profit is a resilient alternative to austerity.
“Co-operative businesses are more resilient, 98% are still in operation after three years compared to 65% of all businesses, over half of them (56%) are in disadvantaged areas in the UK and 88% seek to minimize their environmental impact when 44% of businesses say they have taken no action whatsoever.”
The movement’s annual report, which covers 5,933 co-operatives, indicates that the model of sharing ownership and control with members not shareholders, while benefiting the society and addressing environmental concerns, is a successful one. The Co-operative Group, John Lewis Partnership, Midlands Co-operative Society and United Merchants are among the largest co-operatives from the 2011 financial year.
The news has been so significant that as cooperative success stories appeared on BBC Breakfast, BBC Five Live and in several national newspapers.
The media attention was in response to the report released by Co-operatives UK that showed co-operative businesses outperformed the market for the fourth year in a row.
The story was covered by papers from nationals such as the Guardian, and the Financial Times to local papers including the Manchester Evening News and the Scotsman.
When asked on BBC Five Live about why co-operatives were performing so well Mr Mayo said: “When times are tough you need to keep people in the business close to you, you need your customers to be loyal and your workforce to be motivated. This is what the co-operative model does really well.”
He added: “What we have seen in this report today is a real sense of public trust still in the co-operative business model.”
In response to a statement about whether it is big businesses that are creating new jobs, Mr Mayo added: “I think actually it is almost the opposite. Across the economy as a whole, its big business that destroys jobs and its small firms that really do create jobs.”
Courtsey: ICA Newshub