New co-ops provide exciting prospects

The formation of three new co-operatives suggests the renaissance of the co-operative is here.

Buy Local, Buy Co-op - The Co-operative Food Group

Built on the theme, ‘Buy Local, Buy Co-op,’ The Co-operative Food Group (TCFG) recently formed as a wholesale co-operative to give more buying opportunities to the independent sector.

Beginning as a simple idea in 2009, the co-op now boasts 21 members, owning 43 stores and supported by at least 30 retail suppliers, with more looking to join. The co-op looks to turnover in excess of $3 million in its first year of trading.

Members have access to better margins from their buys through the co-operative and participate in a loyalty rebate that returns the co-ops profitability to its members.

The co-op believes it will have at least 50 members within three years of starting, mainly supermarkets, convenience stores and specialty food businesses including fruit and vegetable stores.

Secretary, Richard O’Leary, also CEO of Macleay Regional Co-operative, said, “From a good idea, the business is being grown by passionate managers and a loyal membership. We will build our business on the theme “Buy Local, Buy Co-op.’

Australian Carbon Co-operative

The Australian Carbon Co-operative (ACC) has had its application for co-operative status accepted, after almost two years in formation. They are Australia’s first co-operative specialising in ecosystem based carbon sequestration through forestry and natural regeneration of marginal agricultural land.

ACC Chairperson, Johannes Bauer, on the process of formation, said:

“At ACC we have tried to apply the co-operative model to ecosystem based carbon sequestration for Australian farmers but not restricted to those. We have worked to get the framework and obligations right, for almost two years now, because we are convinced that nothing less will do. And we are in full agreement that only the co-operative business model will ensure that this new landuse, which after all we expect will save us from a changing climate will do what it is supposed to do and not turn the whole process into a speculative business bonanza we CANNOT afford any longer.”

This method of carbon sequestration through land renewal can offset carbon emissions by up to six tonnes of carbon per year per hectare, depending on location. ACC aims to act as an aggregator of individual landholders’ project areas to develop economies of scale to market the accrued carbon credits to the broader community.

ACC will provide landholders with expertise required to make use of the carbon market. Important to note is that the market for carbon credits is not dependant on the Australian government policy, as there is an established world market seeking carbon credits.

Earthworker Co-operative

The first installation of a Eureka's Future Workers Cooperative solar hot water system is occurring now at a Coburg Uniting Church facility, community organisation Kildonan, 512 Sydney Rd Coburg, Victoria. Earthworker will hold a press conference to mark the milestone onsite, on Monday, 22 April at 10am. The press conference will be attended by ACTU President, Ged Kearney.

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Testimonial

Hugh Jackman
Hugh Jackman, actor and supporter of IYC 2012
"...In 2012, I hope everyone comes to better understand the transforming power of co-operatives all over the world including Australia."

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