Thursday, October 18, 2007

Co-op Month

Bet you didn't know that October is co-cop month. I didn't.

Find out more information about co-ops here.

About 170 million million Americans are members of co-ops. True. the biggest number of these are members of credit unions. Co-ops represent a real alternative to the corporate model. Radicals and economic democrats should make a more serious effort to understand both the real role of co-ops and their potential. Liberal and progressive candidates, likewise, should include support for co-cops in addition to the standard affirmations of small business.

A 2003 poll for co-op month had some interesting findings showing wide support for the ideas of the co-op movement.

Respondents were read a list of corporate governance characteristics and asked if that characteristic makes a business more or less trustworthy.

  • 68% said that a business that has consumers on its board of directors is more or much more trustworthy;
  • 66% said that a business that is owned by the people who use the services of the company or buy its goods is more or much more trustworthy;
  • 63% said that a business that is governed by a board of directors made up of the people who use the services of the company or buy its goods is more or much more trustworthy;
  • 62% said a business that is locally owned and controlled is more or much more trustworthy; and
  • 55% said a business that allows its customers to democratically elect its board of directors is more or much more trustworthy. Perceptions of Co-ops vs. Publicly Traded Corporations

Respondents were given nine positive business attributes and asked if they agreed or disagreed whether each attribute described co-ops and publicly traded corporations;

  • 81% agreed that co-ops can be counted on to meet their customers needs, compared to 65% for publicly traded corporations;
  • 79% agreed that co-ops are committed to providing the highest quality service to their customers, compared to 58% for publicly traded corporations;
  • 78% agreed that co-ops are committed to and involved in their communities, compared to 53% for publicly traded corporations;
  • 77% agreed that co-ops have the best interests of consumers in mind when conducting business, compared to 47% for publicly traded corporations;
  • 76% agreed that co-ops run their businesses in a trustworthy manner, compared to 53% for publicly traded corporations;
  • 74% agreed that co-ops provide products and services that are of high value, compared to 63% for publicly traded corporations;
  • 68% agreed that co-ops are ethically governed, compared to 45% for publicly traded corporations;
  • 64% agreed that co-ops offered the most competitive prices, compared to 58% for publicly traded corporations; and
  • A nearly equal percentage agreed that co-ops and publicly traded corporations engage in charitable giving: 57% for co-ops and 58% for publicly traded corporations.
  • Publicly traded corporations outscored co-ops only on marketplace choice. While more than a majority (53%) agreed co-ops offer consumers more choices in the marketplace, 62% agreed that publicly traded corporations did.

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