A new research shows that retail co-operatives in the UK are giving back to local communities 10% of their profits, more than double the amount their competitors do (4.5%).
Carried out by Co-operative News, the Community Impact Index, reveals that the UK’s top nine co-operative retailers had a collective profit of £93m and contributed £12m to good causes in 2015. By contrast, retail competitors Asda, Tesco and Sainsbury’s recorded a collective profit of £3.3bn and gave £158m (4.5%) back to communities.
The research highlights a number of ways in which co-ops are making a difference in their communites, such as staff/member fundraising for charities, dividend grants given to community groups, in-kind support through donations of equipment and giving staff time off to volunteer for local projects.
In terms of volunteering hours, co-op retailers have donated 115,610 to communities last year. This is equivalent to 92 minutes dedicated for every co-op employee during the year.
Co-op retailers are also supporting other co-ops. The Impact Index shows that 2% of profits made by retail co-operatives are reinvested back into the movement. Last year seven of the largest consumer co-operatives gave over £2.2m to co-operatives.
The index also features interviews with community specialists from various co-ops, who highlighted that putting members first was a priority and a starting point when being there for the community.