What a phenomenal year 2016 was – a year that will be looked back on as a turning point for our Co-op. Not only have we seen the return of our much loved iconic Co-op look, but members are now once again seeing meaningful rewards from our reinvented membership offer. As our Young Members Board might say – we’ve smashed it!

I’m immensely proud of the role the Council has played in these landmark achievements – representing members’ interests in the business.

2016 key achievements

The commitment to have 1,500 member pioneers in the communities we serve will help bring our purpose to life and show how the Co-op is a better way of doing business. My thanks to Vice President, Dan Crowe, for his work on leading the Council’s work on the community strategy that has delivered our commitment to a Member Pioneer in every community

We achieved the Fair Tax mark – something that as a Council we initiated. I’d especially like to single out Lisa O’Hare in our finance team who devoted many hours to getting us there.fair-tax-mark

Launching our Co-op Compass now gives us a consistent structure to how we hold the Board to account. This focuses on what matters most to us: member value, member voice, ethical and sustainable leadership and co-operative leadership.


We’ve helped make our Governance stronger – getting a fourth Member Nominated Director onto the Board allows for a louder member voice to be heard

We all played an active part in catching up face-to-face with our members at local meetings and events during the last 12 months. Over 1,000 members from across our Council constituencies came to find out more about our business performance, new membership offer and how we’re at the heart of our communities. Oh, and they got to taste some pretty fine food too!

Through the Co-op Way committee, we’re setting the policies that will make our members proud of their Co-op. Comprised of senior Executives and Council members, this committee ensures that elected members are setting the agenda for our Society.  My particular thanks to Vice President Bev Perkins for her leadership of the Council delegation on the committee.

Looking to 2017

You may be wondering how we can possibly beat the feeling that 2016’s given us… but I’m sure we can.

We’re aiming for a million new members through our Join Us campaign as we introduce our Co-op uniqueness to new people.

The Council will be co-creating the Renew strategy with Rod Bulmer who is leading the Renew plan for the Co-op. Our work with Rod will ensure we have a plan which builds on our strengths and confirms our role as a 21st century Co-op. It will consider all the ways we can grow – co-operating with other Co-ops, with partners and exploring new ventures – with the objective of defining how we bring the Co-op difference into new markets and services in a modern digitised world.

And we’ll go digital on a Co-op principle that would make the original Pioneers proud – demonstrating our commitment to openness and transparency around our food provenance.

I hope you share my excitement for the year ahead – it’s set up to be a great one!

Finally, I’d like to say a final thank-you to the Council and Senate for their outstanding work during the year. Elected members representing the owners of our co-operative business – our millions of individual members and the Independent Societies – are what makes the Co-op unique.

Nick Crofts
President National Members Council

Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. Yes, the CO operative society lost it’s way several years ago for whatever the reasons where, one being they failed to be competitive on the high street I think they thought the loyal customer syndrome would prevail and the customer would not notice the more reasonable and cheaper prices of the now major supermarkets who moved in on the CO OP and squeezed out the oldest and largest retailer of their time, you where the first retail outlet to have a majority of high street and estate outlets and made the mistake of being complacent and not moving with the general trend on selling at reduced more reasonable prices as is the idea of the major retailers of the day. The shopping public of today are looking for quality and everyday consumables at an affordable price, the CO OP being as large as it was had the buying power collectively to have become a mainstream player on the high street and with old fashioned and archaic trading ideas and mechanisms the CO OP missed out and let it’s most faithful customer base down to shop at it’s rivals. The CO OP could have been leaders and a main high street player in the food retail business long before the now competitors we shop with now.

  2. You may have achieved some things Nick but the fact that the group sold 298 stores to McColls (and according to my information gave the Council 2 days notice) is a disgrace and leaves many communities without a Co-op store where successful trading has prevailed for over a hundred years. To my mind it just shows the contempt the current manage has for Co-operative democracy.

    Kind Regards
    John Macbeth

  3. We were vry sorry when the Haverhill in Suffolk shop closed as I used that all the time. We are having lots of hew houses being built this year and it says that we would be getting a shop in the plans. It would be great if a Coop shop could be built on that estate. I worked for the Cambridge Coop in the sixties and still have my member card from that time. We do have 3 stores local to us but it means a commute to either Claire, Fulbourn or Cambridge so not exactly local. If a new shop was opened on the new build site it would probably be in the village of Keddington which is a very should drive for us but there are also lots of small villages around the area.

  4. Cooperative Energy is Not the cheapest Why . I am a customer.

    When fuel went down I was told we buy 6 months in Advance. But never noticed 6/9 months later prices going down.

    Tried to encourage friends to go over to Coop Energy but no where near the cheapest.

    Anything we can do ?

  5. I very much support the ‘Stop Funding Hate’ campaign. I would urge the Cooperative Organisation to bring their advertising and marketing decisions into line with their brand values.


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