This is the age of the co-operative

Ed Mayo
Co-operatives UK

In a timely move, the United Nations designated 2012 the International Year of Co-operatives. Ed Mayo describes how the co-operative business model is flourishing and what can be learned from its success.


John Lewis: one of the best-known co-operative business successes

Co-operatives are member-owned businesses, avoiding share listings in favour of vesting ownership in the people most closely involved in the business. Perhaps because their shares are not traded, they may be less in the business limelight. Their heritage, though, is impeccable.

While the joint stock company was taking off in the 19th century and investing in railroads around the world, the co-operative business model was also emerging, with a strong working class accent and an emphasis not on limited liability but on shared responsibility.