Londoners Co-operate!

On Saturday, 'Londoners Co-operate!' will be taking place to celebrate the London Co-operative Society collection at the Bishopsgate Institute and International Co-operator's Day.

Bills and Balls

Today saw the successful report stage and third reading of the Building Societies (Funding) and Mutual Societies (Transfers) Bill - formerly the Financial Mutuals Arrangements Bill.

Guardian – employees do better with co-ops

A week ago, the Guardian ran a special supplement on social enterprise, with a cover story of 'Cooperatives pay big dividends'. The article looks at how worker co-ops and employee-owned firms are able to perform better and weather rough times.

Mutuals care more about the environment

In the recent Budget, Gordon Brown promoted green mortgages, as pioneered by the Co-operative Bank, the Ecology Building Society and the Norwich and Peterborough Building Society. These mortgages are either only for green properties or include carbon offsetting costs.

Co-op pizza, co-op rock-climbing

In the UK, co-ops have historically focused around matter-of-fact concerns - beans, coffins, insurance. Very occasionally, you will come across a co-op serving a sector just a little more interesting. Sometimes very interesting indeed.

AFC Bournemouth finds new mutual solution

Among the 100 or so football supporters' trusts in England and Wales, a small number own the club outright, like Brentford, AFC Wimbledon and AFC Telford United. These are co-op clubs, run along democratic lines, with every supporter-member having a vote and a say.

Where an Angell stands on Student Housing

Richard Angell is an active member of the Co-operative Party who is standing to be Vice President Welfare of the National Union of Students. Among his many exciting pledges is a commitment to work for the development of co-operative student housing.

The real costs of demutualisation

In their 2006 report, 'Windfalls or Shortfalls? The true cost of demutualisation', the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Building Societies & Financial Mutuals reported that mutuals performed better than their plc rivals in a variety of performance indicators.

Come for a weekend to Bedford

If you are at the East of England Labour Party Conference in Bedford this weekend, come say hello at the Co-operative Party stall. We'll be on hand to meet delegates, sign up new members and discuss co-op policies.

An Equal Exchange between North and South

The second case study produced by the Co-operative Party as part of its campaign on Ethical and Fair Trade concerns Equal Exchange. Equal Exchange UK was founded in 1979, and Equal Exchange US in 1986. Both are worker co-ops established to create a new approach to trade, a model that engages consumers and builds honest and fair trade relationships through co-operative principles.

Co-op coffee on film Part 2

As Fairtrade Fortnight continues, we receive offers of more and more promotional material. A particularly welcome item in the post was a DVD from the Nicaragua Solidarity Campaign: Coffee - Take It Fairly: Stories of Nicaraguan women fairtrade producers. Three women of Los Alpes near Jinotega, north Nicaragua, members of the SOPPEXCCA co-op, tell their stories.

Turning wine into water

Continuing with the theme of Fairtrade Fortnight, I turn to Argentina. Argentina is close to my heart - the birthplace of my mother and where most of my family still live. Although it is not one of the poorest countries, there are pockets of great poverty and small producers there face the same issues of market access and trade justice as farmers elsewhere.

Going bananas for trade justice

In Fairtrade Fortnight, one campaigning co-op is attempting to make people aware of the truth behind the global banana industry. Banana Link is, as they say on their website, "a small and dynamic not-for-profit co-operative, founded in 1996 that campaigns for a fair and sustainable banana trade." They "work in close partnership with Latin American banana workers trade unions, small Caribbean farmers and civil society organizations in Europe and the U.S."

Choose Fairtrade this fortnight

Today is the first day of Fairtrade Fortnight, an initiative of which the Co-operative Party and the co-op movement are keen supporters. February's policy theme for the Co-operative Party has been Ethical and Fair Trade and we have been highlighting co-op work in this field.

Call for more CoCo nuts

John Spedan Lewis was a pioneer. He decided that the best thing for his company and his staff was to give the company to them, back in 1950. The John Lewis Partnership now has 65,000 partners, 26 department stores and almost 200 supermarkets and is part of an organisation advocating its model of employee ownership to politicians and the public.

Is one head better than two?

The likely merger between the Co-operative Group and United Co-ops, with Peter Marks of United as the expected new CEO, has been widely reported and commented upon. But much of the coverage barely mentions that these are member-owned businesses.

Co-op coffee on film Part 1

A few weeks ago the Co-operative Party premiered a new film about global coffee production in a screening at Parliament. The movie, Black Gold, features Tadesse Meskela, the general manager of the Oromia Coffee Farmers Co-operative Union in Ethopia. Tadesse himself was able to join us and the film makers for the screening in London, as well as a reception at Number 10 and a debate for members with Hilary Benn MP in Wakefield.

A co-operative agenda for Wales

This weekend has seen the Welsh Labour Party Conference in Llandudno, where Rhodri Morgan, Tony Blair and colleagues have been setting out Labour's vision for Wales ahead of the Assembly elections in May, while the Co-operative Party have launched its new manifesto - a Co-operative Agenda for Wales 2007.