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Co-op successes amid the troubles

For all the troubles that have hit the Co-operative Group and Bank, as earlier with other banks, there are over 6,000 co-operatives across the UK, owned by 15.4 million people (Is there any future for the Co-op?, G2, 24 April). Co-operatives are enterprises that are owned by the very people that are involved in the everyday life of the business. The survival rate for new co-operatives is far higher than for business at large. One in three conventional businesses goes out of business within three years of starting; for co-operative enterprises, that is only one in 20. Worldwide, the co-operative sector has a turnover 54 times the global turnover of Coca-Cola. In farming, 65% of all farmers in Scotland, an expanding sector, are now members of an agricultural co-operative. Co-operative schools have doubled their number every 16 months, with close to 700 co-operative schools in England. There are now 1 million members of credit unions in Britain – financial co-operatives, lauded most recently by the archbishop of Canterbury. Co-operative Energy, challenging the big six retail energy giants, is recommended by 97% of their customers, over three times the market average.....
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