The shortlist for the Growing Co-operative of the Year Award 2017: Daily Bread Co-operative; Dulas; and Outlandish
Daily Bread Co-operative
For nearly 40 years, the Daily Bread Co-operative has been providing good quality wholefoods to people in Northampton and surrounding areas. As well as a long-standing and strong commitment to Fairtrade, the co-op is committed to stocking as much organic and local produce as possible, as well as offering a really wide range of gluten free and vegan products. All of our produce is suitable for vegetarians.
As a worker co-op, it is owned and controlled by its employees, so isn’t accountable to outside shareholders. It recently undertook a full ‘democracy audit’ to assess how far it gave workers an equal say, and came through with flying colours. It has long been a standard-bearer for co-operative values and principles in our area.
In fact, Daily Bread has played an important role helping similar businesses get off the ground. Its approach has been used as a model by a sister business, the Daily Bread Co-operative in Cambridge, and by Unicorn Grocery in Manchester – both of which benefitted from advice and mentoring from Daily Bread Northampton.
It also has a commitment to give away a percentage of its annual turnover to causes, particularly educational projects in developing countries. Much of this giving has been distributed through a charity revived by Daily Bread, called Strive, though the co-op also supports causes in and around the town of Northampton, such as Northampton Soup and the Hope Centre, which work to relieve poverty and tackle the causes of homelessness.
Our small co-operative based in mid-Wales was founded in 1982 to deliver renewable energy solutions. From hydro dams in Austria to solar powered vaccine refrigerators in Zambia, Dulas innovates the technology and delivers it.
I am nominating Dulas for this award because our social impact is significant. As far back as 1984 we installed solar power in Kenya. We built our first wind farm in 1988 and our first Hydro system in 1994. We’ve canoed down the Amazon to deliver solar power to Peruvian villages and flown helicopters into Snowdonia to deliver hydro energy pipes. We recently installed wind monitoring instruments for the world’s biggest offshore wind-farm, scaled the third tallest building in London to fit solar and provided essential support to medics in the wake of the West African outbreak of Ebola. We’ve always been trail-blazers, putting the UK on the forefront of renewable advancements. From our rural setting, we are actively changing the world.
I am also nominating Dulas for maintaining staff welfare as a fundamental element of its business ethos. Dulas is an exciting, dynamic and progressive company to work for. A company with London levels of benefits in rural Wales. A STEM company where, unusually, women are racing to the top, a company that truly does consider itself a family and a part of the local community. In short, I feel that Dulas is a model co-operative and we’d love to celebrate our achievements so far with an award for the Co-operative of the Year.
Outlandish was a successful, class-leading web development partnership before converting to a co-operative society in 2016. Its members and associates have demonstrated fantastic commitment to co-operative values by investing really significant time and resources in co-operative and community development.
They led and then underwrote the formation of the Tech Co-ops network - one if the most exciting developments in co-op sectoral organisation for years - with a mission to grow the co-op share of tech by promoting the model in their industry and increasing collaboration between co-ops. They designed and resourced the Outlandish Fellowship, to enable groups to realise a number of ground-breaking social 'tech for good' projects. They have supported and contributed to the Worker Co-op Solidarity Fund, the developing platform co-ops and freelancer co-ops agenda, and the wider movement, as well as projects in their local community.
Outlandish are also relentlessly innovative in developing models of economic democracy and participation using a wide range digital, platform and cultural tools. Their contribution is characterised by energy, enthusiasm and practical solidarity. While being quite modest themselves, it has to be said that Outlandish have put their money where their mouth is in fulfilling the highest mission of every co-op - to create new co-operatives and co-operators, and build the co-operative commonwealth. They are also fantastically talented and professional web developers. Truly a leading co-op this year.