By Judith Cullen, Member Pioneer

Although this year’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) isn’t going to be the big get-together that a lot of us are used to, it’s still a chance for our members to get involved in our democracy and make their voices heard.

As an eligible member, you can vote to elect a Member Nominated Director to represent you at the highest level in our business and choose Members’ Council representatives to champion both you and your community. You can also have your say on our motions, which cover important things like what we campaign on and how we work.

Motions are put forward by the Board and can also be submitted by our Members’ Council, individual members and Independent Societies.

The themes of the motions at this year’s AGM span from climate change, right through to the role we play in the wider co-op movement:

Climate change

We’re facing a climate emergency which is threatening the poorest and most vulnerable amongst us. We want to encourage other businesses to put people and planet first. Why? Because we care about the world we share.

Putting democracy into action, Council Member Kat Rose connected with members to get their ideas on how we could tackle climate change, both locally and globally, which then led to this year’s Members’ Council motion.

With our members’ backing, it’s asking the Board to consider bringing forward our 2050 target to reduce and eliminate emissions as soon as practically possible, working with members, customers and suppliers to address environmental issues and their impacts and helping new co-ops become more sustainable.

Ethical retailing 

Our Co-op is no stranger when it comes to doing business in a better way. It’s what we do. From supporting and championing Fairtrade to introducing the UK’s first compostable carrier bag and launching a successful plant-based food range, the list goes on.

At last year’s Join in Live events, members told us that things like healthy eating and sustainable sourcing mattered most to them when food shopping.

And this year, Independent Societies have put forward a motion that asks Co-op to keep addressing these issues by placing them at the core of its future strategy.

Support for wider co-operative movement 

Our Co-op is ambitious. There’s a lot we want to achieve, but we know we can’t do it alone.

When we opened our first shop in 1844 it was about bringing a community together, making them stronger through co-operation and giving them more control over their lives.

Right now, co-operative thinking looks more urgent than it has at any time since we addressed that original crisis 176 years ago. Which is why this year, Independent Societies are asking for our continued support in championing the co-op movement.

Vote by Monday 1 June 

If you’re eligible, you’ll receive an invitation to vote via email (from takepart@cesvotes.com) or post by Wednesday 13 May, before voting closes on Monday 1 June.

To be eligible, you need to have spent £250 at Co-op Food in the 2019 financial year or purchased a Co-op product in one of our other businesses. You can check if you’re eligible by emailing AGM@coop.co.uk.

Just like last year, members will receive their AGM pack online, so you won’t receive a bulky paper pack like you might have in the past, unless you’ve opted to receive information by post.

If you’re eligible and don’t receive an email or letter by Wednesday 13 May, or if you just want to know more about this year’s AGM, please email the team using AGM@coop.co.uk.

You can watch this year’s AGM live on YouTube on Saturday 6 June, and submit questions in advance to AGM@coop.co.ukby midday on Monday 1 June. Answers will be shared online on the day, or replied to as soon as possible after the event.