Brett Theodos, senior fellow at the Urban Institute, said federal, state and local policy often leave co-ops at a disadvantage. This needs to change so more co-ops can be grown in underserved markets; there is a need to convert more existing businesses to co-ops, to prevent demutualisations and to prevent co-op failures; and to grow the size and market share of co-ops.
This requires enabling legislation, regulatory reform, financial support, technical assistance, and preferential procurement policies, he said.
Co-ops can try to drive this change by telling “new story” that “resonates with policymakers and “contextualises co-ops within the current political environment”, said Mr Theodos. The co-op movement has a wealth of member data to help them do this; and co-ops can strengthen their case by working together and with non co-ops.
“Victories are possible through coalition and support,” he said.