Tue 3 May 2022 9:55AM

ICA likely to review Co-op Identity in next few years

JA John Atherton Public Seen by 114

Hi All, every 25 years or so the International Co-operative Alliance reviews the Co-operatives Identity statement, values and principles. They are doing some preliminary surveying to get a sense of what co-ops think.

Co-operatives UK's international working group and colleagues will be doing a formal response and consultation of UK co-ops if this becomes a proper review. But if you do want to do an individual response or just a bit nosey. Take a look: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RFFDFGJ


Tatiana Baskakova, Ceramics, Ldn Wed 4 May 2022 12:24PM

All done, thanks John. :)


Alex Bird Wed 4 May 2022 12:33PM

I wrote a piece for Co-op News back in 2015 https://www.thenews.coop/94300/sector/time-to-extend-the-seven-co-operative-principles/ which proposed 3 new principles. The words are mine, but the ideas behind them are the 10 principles adopted by the Mondragon Co-operative. these new principles include the subsidiarity of Capital to Labour, a salary cap, and a profit funded commitment to Co-operative Development.

I rearranged the Mondragon principles so they would form up as additional to the ICA principles, as I thought the ICA would find it easier to accept additions as opposed to removing/revising the existing ones.

If you agree with these, please reference my article in your responses so that the ICA sees there is a body of support building.


Austen Cordasco Wed 4 May 2022 5:48PM

Yes to the ideas behind this article but it stops just as it starts to get interesting.

Subsidiarity of Capital to Labour

This follows from One Member One Vote so is already implicitly stated but perhaps it needs to be explicitly stated so that it is more readily understood.

Fairness in Remuneration

Agreed. The value of equability and fairness in remuneration needs to be a Principle.

Commitment to Co-op Development

This is the big one. This is a huge missing piece that is necessary for the sustainability of the co-operative economy/movement. Since the original principles were codified it has become apparent that in order for new co-operatives to develop there needs to be a mechanism in place to enable existing co-ops to support them and therefore the principle of contributing equitably to co-operative development must be enshrined.

The author suggests that all co-ops donate 10% of profits - but donate to whom or to what? This principle cannot be adopted in the absence of a mechanism for the collection and distribution of this money. We have to build the infrastructure before we can adopt the principle.

The establishment of a national Fund for Co-operative Development was one of the founding objectives of Platform 6 - it was achieved and the fund exists, but it is really only in embryonic form - tiny and simple compared to the multi-million pound monster it would need to be to operate in the UK co-operative economy. If we can get it or something like it up and running then co-ops will be able to pay into it directly and not have the overhead of designing programmes for co-operative development on their patch in order to meet their commitments under this shiny new principle.


Graham Wed 4 May 2022 12:49PM

Thanks for posting this @Alex Bird . There's value in your proposal. At the same time I'm wary of significantly messing about with what's already there, perhaps preferring to focus on clarity and impact in terms of interpretation of the principles, and most importantly how they are deployed. Very few people seem to understand that they operate together as a holistic interlinked set of ideas. This seems to be evidenced in the ICA's own questionnaire which asks respondents to tank the principles in order of importance! Crazy.

Personally I think a whole lot more could be achieved by implementing a clear diagnostic framework by which cooperatives could assess themselves against the principles, and thereby actually improve.