Could co-operatives play a bigger part in Welsh economy?
Yesterday, at the beginning of the United Nations’ International Year of Co-operatives, the Wales Co-operative Centre published a report that brings together the latest research about co-operatives in Wales. This marks the first time we have examined the current impact of co-operatives in the Welsh economy and the role they could be playing.
‘Co-operatives in the Welsh economy’, written by the Bevan Foundation, reveals that co-operatives are a dynamic, thriving sector of the Welsh economy, generating £1 billion in income and employing around 7,000 people in a wide range of sectors.
Co-operatives in Wales generated a total pre-tax profit of £19 million in 2010, with three generating profits in excess of £1 million and a further four generating profits of between £250,000 and £1million.
Our research found that social enterprises employ more people relative to turnover than mainstream small businesses and worker co-operatives have lower-than-average levels of staff turnover and absenteeism. This can be explained in part by their democratic structures, which mean workers have more opportunities to take active roles in decision making. Co-operatives are also more likely to involve women and minority ethnic groups than private businesses.
You can download Co-operatives in the Welsh Economy from the Wales Co-operative website and also find out more about the International Year of Co-operatives 2012.
Excerpt taken from the blog post ‘The Italian Way‘ by Wales Co-operative Centre Chief Executive Derek Walker.