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.

Archived: 90 years of co-operative values

Since 1917, the Co-operative Party has represented the Co-operative movement at the heart of Labour and of Government. Our 90th Anniversary year in 2007 will be a chance to celebrate our success and to promote new and exciting ideas about co-operation and mutualism.

Archived: Goodbye Leeds

Tonight, at midnight, the UK's oldest independent co-operative society, the Leeds Co-operative Society, will be wound up and its assets transferred to United Co-operatives.

Archived: Post New Year Blues

The government's decision to reject distributing 20% shares to Royal Mail staff is a missed opportunity. The alternative of linking staff bonuses to the value of the company may, in the short term, be of greater value financially to Royal Mail staff, but it will not of itself involve staff in the decisions that will affect them and their pay packets.

Archived: Mutuals are the way forward for tossers too

There has been much comment on the Conservative Party's labeling of the general population as 'tossers'. And, yes, it is misjudged, utterly cringeworthy and frankly ridiculous from the Party that has championed consumerism, profiteering and economic freedom for the individual. Even the mention of credit unions as a source of assistance does not make up for this exercise in shameless opportunism out of an important issue.

Archived: Balls to modernise

The Government has today announced that it is to undertake a complete review of co-operatives legislation, the Industrial and Provident Societies Acts and the Credit Unions Act.