Beset by anxiety and stress, growing wealth disparity, environmental destruction and various other forms of socio-economic oppression, injustice and exploitation, we desperately need a people-motivated rather than profit-motivated economic paradigm to lead us into a prosperous and sustainable future. We need another way to do business that is environmentally friendly, socially responsible and focussed on the welfare of all. SProUT believes this new model already exists in the form of cooperatives and that the transition from corporation to cooperation is already in motion, with cooperatives shaping up to be the primary business model of the future.
Cooperatives are owned and run by their members, combining their wealth and resources in a united way, each member contributing directly to the operation and decision-making process of the cooperative and sharing in the returns of the cooperative based on their contribution of labour, capital, equipment, land, etc. Because cooperatives are member owned and run, they are ethically run for the benefit of their members, their community and the environment. It stands to reason, therefore, that the more people are employed as members of cooperatives, the less people will be exploited as workers of profit-motivated corporations and the profit-motivated interest of their share holders.
Cooperatives have evolved a business and social culture summarised by the seven cooperative principles:
1. Voluntary and open membership
2. Democratic member control
3. Member economic participation
4. Autonomy and independence
5. Education, training and information
6. Cooperation among cooperatives
7. Concern for the community
Studies have found that cooperation must supersede competition for sustainability. Therefore cooperatives are more likely to be successful. In fact they have been shown to have a 90% success rate (based on remaining in operation after the first 5 years) compared with a 10% rate for other business models. And because they are more likely to keep money and resources circulating within their local community, they are more effective at creating jobs and improving the local economy.
At SProUT we envisage a world with cooperatives as the main way people do business, cooperating together for the welfare and happiness of all. We support existing cooperatives, startup cooperatives, and people transforming their businesses into successful cooperatives.
Contact us for more information about how we can help you and your business