1951 – 2000

Key events in The Co-operative's history between 1951 and 2000

1844 to 1900 | 1901 to 1950 | 2001 to present


Addlestone Co-op in 1966


Dividend Stamps introduced as an alternative to the traditional methods of paying the 'divi', and as a response to the adoption of trading stamps by other food retailers; individual societies operated their own stamp schemes. CWS launched the national Dividend Stamp scheme in 1969. Publication of the Joint Reorganisation Committee Report. CWS full-time elected Directors discontinued (a practice which dated from 1906).


Co-operative principles revised by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA), with a view to making them more relevant to a wider variety of fast-growing co-operatives throughout the world. CWS appointed its first 'outsider' chief executive Philip Thomas.  


Scottish CWS merged with CWS, following difficulties with the SCWS Bank; CWS then became directly involved in retailing.


Co-operative Congress President J H Perrow calls for the formation of 'Co-op Great Britain'.

BUAV logo1985

The CWS announces that no own-brand toiletries or household products, or their ingredients, will be tested on animals after 1985 – even though the law allowed the practice to continue. The Co-operative co-sponsored a Private Member's Bill with the RSPCA to require more informative labelling for products tested on animals.


The Co-operative Bank became the world's first bank to introduce a customer-led Ethical Policy. Since then thousands of people have had the opportunity to choose a bank which will not do business with unethical companies and organisations.


In partnership with Greenpeace, The Co-operative Bank launches the world’s first biodegradable credit card.

Fairtrade logo1998

The Co-operative stocks Fairtrade products in every food store – meaning it now stocks Fairtrade products in more outlets than any other retailer.  


The Co-operative Bank launches Smile, the UK's first full internet bank.


CWS and CRS merge, creating the world's largest consumer co-operative, whose activities range from food and finance to farms and funerals. All these share a set of values based on honesty, openness and social responsibility. The new society is called The Co-operative Group to represent its family of businesses.

This is our history – be part of our future and join us today

1844 to 1900 | 1901 to 1950 | 2001 to present