A co-operative is a group of people acting together to meet the common needs and aspirations of its members, sharing ownership and making decisions democratically.
Co-operatives are not about making big profits for shareholders, but creating value for customers - this is what gives co-operatives a unique character, and influences our values and principles.
A world of co-operatives
There are many co-operative businesses around the world, of which The Co-operative Group is one of the largest.
We are a group of businesses that share the same values and principles. Whether it's the environment, animal rights, fair trade or genetically modified food, we want to make sure you can do business with us without worrying about where your money is going.
There are many other types of co-operative such as housing, building, retailer, utility, worker, credit unions, social, consumer, agricultural and political, amongst others.
For more information about The Co-operative Movement in the UK including how to set up a co‑operative, visit www.uk.coop/.
For more information on the International Co-operative Movement, visit the website of the International Co-operative Alliance at www.ica.coop.
All of the above was copied from http://www.co-operative.coop/corporate/wi
The question I would like to consider is - If people organised our society with the kind of idealism and good sense that created The Co-op would the business side of our lives be approaching the kind of ethical standard that the theists demand of us (but cannot fulfill themselves).
I worked for the co-op for a short period in my youth and it seemed to me that they did try (and for the most part succeed ) in operating their business with high ethical standards.