Making money from fresh air with The Co-operative

>> Thursday, 24 March 2011




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Whilst on a fleeting visit to the UK a couple of weekends ago, I noticed that The Co-operative has started a new advertising campaign. I like the Co-op; it's testament to the principle that a good idea can stand the test of time and succeed. In fact, the original co-operative was formed by The Rochdale Pioneers in 1844. I doubt that back then they had any idea their concept would still be working over 150 years later.



The ad campaign I mentioned features some modern-day successors of the Pioneers ideals. I particularly like the first community owned wind farm; set up in a Cumbrian village, Baywind Energy Co-operative has been running now since 1996 and typically generates enough electricity to power 30,000 homes each year. Not bad for a project that was initially set up using a loan from The Co-operative.



Co-operative ventures don't always work, obviously (the vast farms set up in Stalin's time in Russa are testament to that, sadly), but it can be a very successful business model. The Austrian village that the Potski family went skiing in this year is an example of that; the entire mountain is owned by the occupants of the village, all of whom take home a share of the profits at the end of each tourist season. Not only does this mean that improvements and investments are joint decisions - and hence implemented more efficiently than they might otherwise be - it also means that every person living in the village has a stake in ensuring that visitors enjoy their trip and hopefully return in future years. In short, everyone wins.



Which is, essentially, what The Co-operative is all about.



You can find out more about the Co-operative on their Facebook page, and can get involved and join the Revolution here.








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