Multi-stakeholder Cooperatives and Consumer Co-ops

Multi-stakeholder cooperative governance may not be familiar to many in the U.S. consumer co-op movement, but it is widely seen as an appropriate and progressive model of governance for cooperatives of all kinds. More importantly, it is a way to foster the kind of member engagement that many see as crucial if cooperatives are to survive and thrive in the modern world.

Multi-stakeholder cooperatives offer a membership role to two or more groups of key stakeholders who are engaged with the cooperative in different ways. Common membership categories include workers, consumers, producers, and community supporters—but also may include suppliers, distributors, or volunteers, depending on the situation. 

In the new publication from the International Cooperative Alliance (ICA), Co-operative Governance Fit to Build Resilience in the Face of Complexity, several international governance experts cite multi-stakeholder boards as a natural fit for organizations committed to the practice of economic democracy. “Consumer loyalty…is fragile,” note authors Sonja Novkovic and Karen Miner in their introductory chapter to the ICA publication, “and often tenuous in the face of many alternative options of where to buy a product or a service.”

Read the rest at Cooperative Grocer Network


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