Our Fairtrade roast and ground 227g coffees are already available in over 50 Co-operative stores plus Stirchley Stores in Birmingham, Infinity Wholefoods in Brighton and Snapdragon Wholefoods in Shrewsbury! Find your nearest shop: use our searchable Store Locator map. You can also order your coffee online from Revolver World - every purchase includes a free music download and half-price ecru Organic Fairtrade cotton T-shirt.
We have been reading Revd. John Howard's poignant account of his experiences as an Ecumenical Accompanier in Palestine. His story paints a revealing and moving picture of life in a state torn by conflict, and can be accessed in full on his blog at www.wsmethodist.org.uk/Chair_1_2_1.html.
'Ben Reid, Chief Executive announces the Society’s year end results'
The Midcounties Co-operative, the UK’s largest independent co-operative society, achieved a record 24% increase in gross sales to £1.167 billion (2012/13: £943m) in the year ended 25 January 2014*.
Operating profit before significant items was up 21% at £22m (2012/13: £18.2m).
As a result, the Warwickshire-headquartered society has announced plans to make over £6m in share-of-profit payments to its members and colleagues.
Ben Reid, chief executive of The Midcounties Co-operative, said: “These excellent trading results demonstrate that the Co-operative business model really works. As part of our co-operative approach we will be returning a share of our profits to the members and colleagues who have directly contributed to the success of the Society.”
The Midcounties Co-operative is the first independent co-operative to achieve annual sales in excess of £1billion. The Society achieved sales growth across all of its businesses, which include food, energy, funeral, pharmacy, travel and childcare, during a year of restrained consumer spending and fierce high street and online competition.
Co-operative Energy signed up over 70,000 new customers during the year. It now serves over 200,000 households and delivered a 243% increase in sales to £159m during the year, making it the Society’s fastest-growing trading group.
Co-operative Travel grew sales by 61% to £276m following new branch acquisitions and increased recruitment of home-based personal travel agents.
The Society’s food business grew sales by 1.1% to £603 million. During the year it upgraded its in-store systems to improve the speed of service at the checkout and enable the management of product ranges centrally. The new system will free up management time allowing them to concentrate on delivering excellent customer service.
Increased demand for nursery places helped Co-operative Childcare to grow revenues by 14% to £23 million.
Midcounties recently improved its ranking in the Sunday Times ‘25 Best Big Companies to Work For’ initiative, climbing three places to tenth in the list. It also picked up the prestigious Sunday Times ‘Giving Something Back’ award for its commitment to colleagues, communities and members.
Ben Reid said: “The engagement of our 10,000 colleagues is a key element in creating the momentum which ensures we continue to evolve as an innovative and successful co-operative. We are now an independent society with a turnover of over £1 billion. Co-operation is clearly working for Midcounties and gives us confidence that we have a sustainable future.”
Encouraging colleagues to volunteer in their local communities continues to be a central part of The Midcounties’ aim to establish a co-operative difference. During the year the number of hours volunteered increased by 10% to 44,440, making the Society one of the biggest supporters of volunteering in the UK. It also smashed its annual fundraising target by raising £273,000 for charity partner Teenage Cancer Trust in just one year and the Society has revised its two-year target upwards to £500,000.
The Midcounties Co-operative is one of the first UK businesses to be awarded the Fair Tax Mark, which confirms that an organisation is open and transparent about its tax affairs and seeks to pay the correct level of corporation tax.
*Audit of the financial results is being finalised and the auditors will issue their audit report on the annual report and accounts in due course
As you may have noticed, England has fairly horrible weather, as recently demonstrated by the flooding that is currently affecting parts of the UK. Although it is a prominent feature of the news, one area that has mostly been overlooked is the damage and disaster caused to the farming community.
During the last few years, whenever there has been flooding, it is often the framers who take the worst of the damage. The flooding destroys massive areas of farmland and crops, whilst the rain and water make it extremely difficult for livestock farmers to prepare hay and silage for winter, as they are forced to either rent grazing land at high cost or sell their animals to slaughter. All of this results in heavy costs and months of clean up for farmers in affected areas.
Fellow farmers are doing their best to help, with those from Yorkshire donating 15 tons of hay, silage and straw to Somerset to be delivered by two tractors to show their support in hard times, although even this may not be enough to help, as many businesses may have to close due to an estimated £10 million in total damages across the area.
It up to us to help out too, the following are ways you can help:
To donate to help farmers hit by the floods go to fcn.org.uk or call the hotline on 0845 367 9990.
The Addington Fund has also opened a special Somerset flooding appeal at http://www.addingtonfund.org.uk/news/more/somerset-flooding/
Finally the Royal Bath and West Society set up The Somerset Levels Relief Fund in September 2013 with the express aim of raising funds towards dredging in the local area. Visit them at http://www.bathandwest.com/somerset-levels/258/ alternatively at https://www.justgiving.com/Somerset-Levels-Relief-Fund or even phone them at 01749 822200 to find out more and donate.
Yes it coming up to that special time of year, that means so much to all of us, a time of giving, sharing... No we're not talking about Valentines Day, we're talking about Fairtrade Fortnight. It’s a time of year when we work even harder to promote Trade Justice and this year it’s all about our beloved bananas.
Since its launch in 2001 Fairtrade has expanded to the point where 1 out of every 3 bananas is fairtrade certified, and considering the over 5 billion bananas eaten in the UK alone, that is a lot of money going towards a good cause. However, there still remains many banana farmers who are denied a fair deal for the fruit they work so hard to produce, so that’s why this year we are doing everything we can to help spread the word.
To find out more or to get involved, visit the Fairtrade website at http://www.fairtrade.org.uk/.
Yesterday, Birmingham City Council hosted an award ceremony for the first signatories of its Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility, a proposal to promote social and environmental accountability within local businesses.
Revolver's Jeremy Burgess (bottom left) was among the 17 representatives from local companies signing the charter and committing to the action plan (available to download below) we proposed last year; outlining our strategy to contribute to the local community, economy, and environment.
Council Leader Cllr Sir Albert Bore presented each representative with certification and a proud reminder of the council's advocation of their efforts to support the local community.
As a social enterprise, our focus is generally on helping to improve the lives of communities in the developing world, and although we have always been actively involved in the local community, signing the Birmingham Business Charter for Social Responsibility has given us manageable and achievable goals to work towards becoming partners in our community. For this, we would like to extend our thanks to Shariat Rokneddin, Cllr Stewart Stacey, Cllr Sir Albert Bore, and Birmingham Council.