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What is a Co-op?

Whether a large retailer like the Co-op Group supermarket, your local co-op pub or The Phone Co-op: co-operatives are successful business model. Do you know there are approximately 7,000 independent co-operatives across the UK? Together they contribute more than £34 billion to the British economy.

Often they look like any other business. What makes co-operatives unique is that they are run not by institutional investors or distant shareholders, but by their members. People like you and me – customers, employees, residents, farmers, artists, taxi drivers...

As businesses owned and run by their members, co-operatives offer a solution to the growing sense of powerlessness people feel over business and the economy, giving them some control of the businesses. They share profits with the membership and operate as good employers for the benefit of employees too.

We put co-operative principles into practice through

Democracy – our members vote on important decisions and make up the Board (Governance)
Openness -  our prices are fair and our communications are clearly worded
Equity - we conduct business in a fair and just way, through partnership and positive impact
Solidarity - we support other co-operative projects and businesses

We believe that the co-operative business model can help build a fairer and more sustainable society for everyone.

For over 150 years, co-operatives have been showing the world there is a different way of doing business, whether the industry is housing, finance or transport.

"The Rochdale Pioneers would not recognise the broadband internet services offered by The Phone Co-op, but they would recognise the spirit that continues to drive it." The Guardian.

In 1844 the Rochdale Equitable Pioneers Society was established and opened a store selling good food at fair prices and using honest weights and measures. This was the beginning of the co-operative business revolution now known as the co-operative movement which includes a billion co-operators and 1.4 million co-operative societies across the world.

A different way of doing business

We think about our impact on the world and how we can make it a better place. We depend upon people working together to get good results and that includes’ responding to our member’s needs, because in a co-operative business, your voice counts.
A beacon of good practice
At The Phone Co-op we keep focused on the bigger co-operative picture
  • We invest in a range of worthwhile community projects
  • Customers get the chance to share in our profits and engage with our projects
  • Our Start-Up Fund helps fledgling social enterprises off the ground
We tread lightly
  • All our electricity comes from renewable sources
  • We offset our own CO2 emissions and those of our suppliers
  • We choose ethical suppliers, locally where possible, and treat them fairly