Today was a great day. We welcomed hundreds of Co-op members to our AGM in Manchester with many more watching online. It was a brilliant turnout considering we had the Royal wedding and FA Cup final as competition!
I always enjoy our AGMs as they’re a great chance to update our members, answer their questions and celebrate all that’s different and special about our Co-op.
Here are some of the things we got up to:
We welcomed some VIPs
This afternoon I got to meet our 12 Thank you for Being Co-op winners. In our first year for the awards, there were over 1,800 entries, so that shows how special the winners are. They were treated to afternoon tea and will now get to work with us to create a special Co-op experience as part of their prize. I’ll let you know how they get on.
We celebrated our success
We started off the day by sharing our successes in 2017. You’ll have seen some of these when we published our annual results last month. As well as making a pre-tax profit of £72m, we’ve created a huge amount of shared value for members including £61m given back through the 5% and a further £20 million to 8,000 local causes.
We also had some important news to announce such as our new Food Share scheme which launches next week. We’ll be giving away fresh food to local causes and food banks helping families struggling to make ends meet. We’re aiming to provide 8 million healthy meals a year. We also told members about our new Cremation without Ceremony which will give our clients greater choice and affordability in arranging a funeral.
Plastics and Advertising
Our members voted to support our Council’s motion asking us to focus on reducing plastics and making recycling easier. They also voted for us to review our advertising policy. I was pleased to be able to show members examples of how we’re using our advertising spend to engage directly with the readers of the Mail, Sun and Express to tell a story which celebrates a rich and diverse United Kingdom.
We shared our new ambition
Members were really positive about our new five-year ambition, which we sum up as: ‘Stronger Co-op, Stronger Communities’.
You’ll have heard me talk about the ‘virtuous Co-op circle’ which means the better we run our business, the more trade we’ll do and the more we can give back to the communities we serve, which in turn should mean even more people will want to shop with us and join us.
We shared a few of the ways we’re going to achieve our ambition including the wholesale deals with Nisa and Costcutter which will take our Co-op brand into hundreds of thousands of new homes across the UK. There was also a very warm welcome for the expansion of our Academy Schools from the current 12 to 40 over the next few years.
Creating Stronger Communities
Our Chief Membership Officer, Matt Atkinson, reported back to members on the progress we’ve made since we re-launched Co-op Membership in 2016 and how we’re evolving the local Community Fund to make sure we have a bias towards local good causes that will build real co-operation.
Making Co-op a great place to work
Our Chief People Officer Helen Webb talked about making our Co-op a great place to work and updated members on the support we’re giving to colleagues around their health and wellbeing.
Board and Council Elections
We’ll share a video of our AGM highlights with you early next week, so check back here for that.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend.