Press release

Co-operatives UK and Nesta join forces to foster a fairer platform economy

Co‑operatives UK and Nesta are undertaking a new joint initiative entitled Platform Co‑operatives in Practice to explore and develop the potential of platform co‑operatives.

More and more products and services are offered via digital platforms – from freelancers registered on TaskRabbit to drivers using Uber. It’s a business model that offers people unprecedented flexibility and independence. But digital platforms have also been criticised as being exploitative and short sighted – and the recent Taylor review highlighted the significant concerns about the rise of the platform economy.

With this in mind, Co‑operatives UK and Nesta will carry out research and conduct a series of workshops to explore how the co‑operative model and platform technology can combine to create fairer, more equitable ways of working for everyone involved. 

Resonate, a music streaming service built by and for musicians, is one example of a modern platform co‑operative, created “with fairness hardwired into its code.” Yet, like any emerging innovation, the practicalities of this kind of model are yet to be fully understood.

So this valuable work will seek to create wider public understanding of the ‘platform co‑operative’, a key sector identified by the National Co‑operative Development Strategy, launched in 2017 to create a more participative, co‑operative economy for the UK.

The initial findings from the research will be showcased at Coop Congress 2018, the annual convention for the co‑operative sector which is taking place on Saturday 23 June at 155 Bishopsgate, London. A final publication documenting the work will then be available in Summer 2018.