Co-op to give £100m a year back to members and communities with relaunch of membership

21 May 2016

The new membership benefits, which will reward members and their communities for trading with the Co-op, were announced at its AGM in Manchester today. Members will receive a 5% reward for any purchases they make of Co-op own brand products and services, with a further 1% directly benefiting local causes*. The benefits will be available to all members from autumn this year and by 2018 will amount to more than £100m a year going directly to members and their communities.

The Co-op has identified 1,500 communities around its Food stores and Funeralcare homes, where local causes and projects will be given the opportunity to benefit from the new 1% community reward. Initially members will choose the local cause they want to support from a list of three selected by colleagues in their local community, but later they will be able to propose local causes they think should benefit.

This move re-enforces the Co-op’s commitment to place membership and community firmly at the heart of its business again and build on the clear momentum already being seen across its family of businesses in Food, Funerals, Insurance, Electrical and Legal Services.

After completing its investment in rebuilding the Co-op, it also plans to bring back the much loved ‘Divi’ – the share of profits which it gives to members.

For any co-op the voice of its members is crucial so there will also be new ways for members to connect with each other, get involved in their communities and have a say in the future of our Co op.

The Co-op is also setting a number of ambitious targets to support its vision of creating a Co op economy across the UK, benefitting members, communities and local suppliers alike.

Over the next five years the Co-op’s ambition is:

  • To recruit one million new members  
  • To have 50% of sales across our businesses coming from Co-op members (currently 25% in our food business)
  • To return an additional £3 million in benefits to Fairtrade producer communities by extending our sourcing commitments
  • To make digital work for our businesses and our members and seek new digital opportunities to co-operate

To mark the launch of these new member benefits the Co-op has also announced today a return to its iconic blue clover-leaf logo, which will be rolled-out across its entire business over the next few years.       

70,000 Co-op colleagues across the UK are also taking part in a ‘Back to being Co-op’ programme, helping to educate staff about the benefits of membership and reconnect them with our heritage. The ambitious plans, which involve 5,000 colleague events will enable the mutual to tell the new “Being Co-op” story to its entire workforce, present in every post code area across Britain.

Richard Pennycook, CEO of the Co-op, said:

“This is what the Co-op is all about. Big business is often accused of taking money out of communities – we are putting it back in as we champion a better way of doing business for our members and their communities.

“Our intention is to return to paying a dividend again, but we also want to make the rewards for members who trade with the Co-op more meaningful and community focused. We’re already seeing good momentum across our businesses and this will drive further growth which our members and their communities will benefit from.  It clearly demonstrates the Co-op difference being delivered every day.”

Allan Leighton, Chair of the Co-op, said:

“We are on the verge of creating a new Co-op economy, one where the trade from our members clearly benefits them, their communities and our thousands of suppliers.

“Our brand identity, whether seen on a Fairtrade bottle of wine, on a funeral home fascia or on our insurance website, will signify a better way of doing business.

Media Enquiries:

The Co-operative Group

Jon Church
Tel: 07545 210812  

Russ Brady
Tel: 07880 784442

Tulchan Communications

Susanna Voyle/Jonathan Sibun
Tel: 020 7353 4200

Note to editors

About The Co-operative Group:

The Co-operative Group, one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives, with interests across food, funerals, insurance, electrical and legal services, has a clear purpose of championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities. Owned by millions of UK consumers, The Co-operative Group operates a total of 3,750 outlets, with more than 70,000 colleagues and an annual turnover of approximately £10 billion.

New Membership benefits 

A percentage (currently 5%) of the amount a member spends on Co-op own brand products and services will be credited to the member’s account and can be used as a discount against products and/or services when they trade with us in the future; and a percentage (currently 1%) of the amount a member spends on Co-op own brand products and services will be awarded to the member’s account for them to donate to a good cause of their choosing from a selection being supported by Co-op.

*Colleagues within a Co-op community will initially select three local charities for members to support with their 1% community benefit for a period of six months. After this Co-op members will be able to put forward charities and causes from their communities which they believe will benefit the local community. This will result in thousands of local causes benefitting.