Co-op asks public to help shape its future


The Co-operative group has launched a poll which invites the public to comment on how it should share its profits, what it can do to help the local community and whether it should continue to make political donations of up to £1m.

Euan Sutherland, Group Chief Executive admitted that last year was the worst in the companies 150 year history and said it has “lost touch” with its customers and members and “hasn‘t been listening” to the communities in which it operates.

The ‘Have Your Say‘ (LINK) survey, which has been developed with YouGov, is thought to be the first of its kind and the results will influence the group‘s wider strategic review which is set to be unveiled in May.

The group, which was founded by the Rochdale pioneers in 1844 and has over 7 million members, operates a food business, funeral care, pharmacy products, homes and farms, but owns just 30 per cent of its banking business after it was instructed by the Bank of England to raise £1.5bn following a serious capital shortfall last year.

The Co-operative made a loss of £599m in 2012 and Sutherland admits that its upcoming full-year figures will be “pretty ugly.”

He added: “We need to hear directly from the communities and the people we serve. We have seen incredible loyalty from our customers, colleagues and members in recent months – now we want to reward that loyalty.”