Thursday, 12 December 2013 14:16

Hybrid Cooperatives

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Co-ops are generally made up of people with a common interest, but that hasn’t stopped some innovators from developing multi-stakeholder hybrids, which seek to balance the sometimes conflicting needs – for example, between consumers’ desire for affordable products and producers’ desire for higher prices for their goods.

In many cases, this is tied to members’ dual roles as producers and consumers, most often in agricultural co-ops like CHS, which is also a hybrid in the sense that its members include both individual farmers and cooperatives of farmers.

Another hybrid is the worker/consumer owned Weaver Street Market, which has each class of members elect its own representatives to a single board. And the producer/consumer owned Oklahoma Food Co-op has a vice president representing each stakeholder group.

Other co-ops are consumer owned, but give workers a formal role in governance – for example the Black Star Co-op brewery has a Workers’ Assembly. 

Source: National Cooperative Business Association (USA)

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