The Co-operative urges consumers to “join the revolution”

March 07, 2011

The Co-operative today (7 March) launched a major new communications programme calling upon consumers to “join the revolution” and help secure a more balanced and sustainable future for the UK.  

The call to “join the revolution” will be underpinned by a high profile TV, press and social media campaign that will provide guidance on how people can set up their own co-operative businesses, fund community projects, campaign for change or simply purchase ethical products and services, such as Fairtrade and ethical investments.

The media campaign will showcase everyday people who, with help from The Co-operative, are instigating real change – everything from community owned wind-turbines to fan-owned football clubs, from urban beekeeping to young film-maker co-operatives.

Peter Marks, Group Chief Executive of The Co-operative said:

“Until the 1980s people understood the benefits of mutual ownership, but then the UK’s family silver was sold-off cheaply in a wave of demutualisation that weakened the influence that ordinary consumers could have on our economy.

“We are beginning to see momentum again at grassroots level, where the Co-operative Enterprise Hub is helping new co-operative businesses set up at a rate of more than one a day, but the opportunity is much bigger than that. Co-operatives alone are not a panacea, but sitting alongside other business and service models, they can help address the unprecedented social, economic and environmental challenges facing the country”.

The TV commercial, which airs for the first time on Monday 7 March, tells how the Rochdale Pioneers, who established the first successful retail co-operative in 1844, started a revolution which is still going strong. The Co-operative now has more than 5,000 stores across the UK and there are almost a billion co-operative members worldwide.

Today, The Co-operative is itself enjoying a strong economic renaissance, which has seen it double revenues, double profits and double membership over the past three years.

The campaign supports the Group’s recently launched Ethical Plan, which sets out a number of revolutionary goals that aim to cement its reputation as the most socially responsible business in the UK.

The pledges in the Ethical Plan include:

  • Growing membership from 6m to 20m by 2020, with the aim of making every customer a co-owner.
  • The most radical Fairtrade conversion programme ever undertaken.
  • £11m to support co-operative growth, and the launch of a £20m international Co-operative Development Loan Fund.
  • Doubling financial support for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, from £400m to £1bn by 2013.
  • The world’s first ethically-screened general insurance products, which will support over two million policies.

Notes to Editors:

The Co-operative Group stands apart from other major retailers in the UK as a business which is owned, not by a small group of shareholders, but by more than five million consumers. With core interests in food, financial services, travel, pharmacy, funerals and farms, it has an annual turnover of £14 billion, employs 120,000 staff and operates over 5,000 retail trading outlets serving more than 20 million customers per week.

Following the acquisition of the Somerfield supermarket chain in March 2009, The Co-operative Food is the fifth largest food retailer. The Co-operative Financial Services is one of the largest and most diversified financial mutual businesses, operating The Co-operative Bank, The Co-operative Insurance and Britannia.
The Co-operative is the UK’s number one provider of funeral services, the third largest retail pharmacy chain, a leading travel retailer, supplying the travel needs of more than three million people annually, and is the UK’s largest farmer.

Among its other businesses are The Co-operative Motor Group, The Co-operative Electrical and The Co-operative Legal Services.

Enterprise Hub

The Co-operative Enterprise Hub is a £7.5m investment in member-owned enterprises by The Co-operative Group. The Enterprise Hub operates through a central website with a network of local co-operative development experts providing dedicated advice, training and guidance - including up to four days free business consultancy - on how to set up, run and grow sustainable co-operative enterprises.  

For media enquiries

Russ Brady
Head of Group Public Relations
0161 827 5856
07880 784442
Email russ.brady@co-operative.coop  
 
Dave Smith
PR Manager - corporate
0161 827 5614
07702 12771
Email dave.smith@co-operative.coop