Celebrating Co-op Fortnight

Celebrating Co-op Fortnight

At Central Co-op, we are thrilled to be part of Co-op Fortnight, a time when co-operatives and organisations across the UK unite to celebrate and promote the co-operative movement. This year’s Co-op Fortnight is particularly special as we commemorate the 180th anniversary of the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society, the world’s first successful consumer retail co-operative. The principles established by the Rochdale Pioneers in 1844 have laid the foundation for modern co-operatives worldwide, and their legacy continues to inspire us today.

Many of us are familiar with co-operative high street convenience shops, but the co-operative model extends far beyond that. A co-operative is a business or organisation owned and led by its Members to meet their shared needs. These Members can be customers, employees, residents or suppliers, all of whom have a say in how the co-operative is run. This democratic structure is at the heart of what makes co-operatives a distinct and powerful way to do business.

The theme for this year's Co-op Fortnight is "An Altogether Different Way to Do Business." This theme highlights the unique benefits and values that co-operatives bring to their Members and communities. At Central Co-op, we embody this theme through various innovative and impactful initiatives…

Co-operative International Trading Development Fund
We are proud to have launched an innovative Co-operative International Trading Development Fund to help lift global communities out of poverty. This fund focuses on countries where we can make the greatest difference. For instance, our Malawi Partnership, launched on the 100th International Day of Co-operatives on the 2nd of July 2022, supports producers and farmers in Malawi. In our stores, we sell a range of products linked to Malawi where a portion of the proceeds support this initiative, strengthening trading capacity in the region.

Ambitious sustainability goals
We are committed to becoming self-sufficient in green energy by 2030, further reducing our reliance on traditional energy sources. Building on our Carbon Neutral 2030 target, we are also working with the Science Based Target initiative to set ambitious plans to achieve Net-Zero by 2040, including creating more Net-Zero new stores. We continue to drive down energy consumption through various measures, including LED lighting, adding doors to chillers, and implementing more efficient refrigeration and freezers.

The next generation of co-operators
We are thrilled to pledge 300 work experience placements this year, supporting 1,500 students through our "adopt a school" programme. Local store managers will collaborate with schools and colleges to offer work experience opportunities throughout the year for students in years 10 and 11, those in college or university courses, and adults seeking to retrain. These placements, available in our food stores, funeral homes, or at our Support Centre in Lichfield, provide valuable insights into various roles within Central Co-op. Participants will also receive a complimentary meal deal during their experience to ensure they are well-supported.

As we celebrate Co-op Fortnight, we invite you to learn more about the co-operative movement and how co-operatives like Central Co-op are making a difference. This is not just about celebrating our 180 year heritage but also about looking forward to a future where co-operatives play a central role in creating a more inclusive, responsible and sustainable economy.

Co-operatives are democratic businesses with a purpose beyond profit, dedicated to sharing power and wealth. However, to truly thrive, we need more support from the government. As the next UK general election approaches on the 4th of July, we are calling on all political parties to commit to co-operative growth.

Join us in embracing "An Altogether Different Way to Do Business" and help us advocate for a future where co-operatives can thrive and continue to positively impact our communities and the world. Keep an eye on our blogs and socials to find out just what co-operative growth can achieve with more government support. Together, we can create a more sustainable Society for all.

To find out more information about what is means to be a co-operative, visit morethana.coop/.