By Maureen Breeze, Member Pioneer
The Co-op Annual General Meeting may look a little different again this year as it will be digitally led, but it will still give you and all our members a chance to have your say on issues you care about. Although we can’t get together in person, you can make your voice heard – find out how below.
When is the AGM?
Our Annual General Meeting will be held at 10am on Saturday 15 May and you can watch it live online via Zoom.
In addition this year, we’re also holding a special Fringe event before the main meeting. The Members’ Council are hosting a session to celebrate the 250th birthday of Robert Owen, the ‘father’ of the co-operative movement. This session will explore his achievements and gather members ideas on co-operative education and learning in a digital age.
We hope that you will join us.
What can I vote on and when should I do it?
As a Co-op Member, you can vote in our Member Nominated Director election, National Members’ Council elections, and on a number of different motions.
You must vote on all of these in advance, no later than midday on Monday 10 May. All eligible members will receive an invitation via email (from email@example.com) or in the post between 16 and 30 April.
What are the motions I can vote on?
This year we have motions on sustainable consumption and production, climate change, and food poverty, as well as some standard items of business. Your vote on these issues matters.
Food consumption and production are one of the biggest drivers of climate change, contributing around 25% to global greenhouse gas emissions. As a substantial consumer co-operative with extensive global supply chains, Co-op can lead the way in making changes.
This motion is calling on Co-op to:
- educate, encourage and enable members to choose healthy, affordable and sustainable diets in line with UN Sustainable Development Goals
- recognise that meat, dairy and other foods have different environmental footprints, and support our suppliers to employ more sustainable methods of production
- explore sustainable solutions such as electric vehicle charging points, more bicycle racks in car parks, green distribution methods, and zero-waste packaging
This year, you can ask Co-op to:
- minimise the carbon impact of products by reducing meat, dairy and other carbon-intensive ingredients, and set out clear targets to achieve this
- provide clearer information to members and customers on the carbon impact of products by investing in and trialling a climate-footprint label for products
- become a leading voice on climate change by campaigning and encouraging government, leaders, other organisations and members to act collectively and cooperatively
Food poverty and inequality
The Covid-19 pandemic helped highlight the stark inequalities and injustices across our society, with recession and food poverty being felt most by young people and those from different ethnic backgrounds.
Co-op was founded 176 years ago to address the social inequalities of the time, and this AGM calls on Co-op to build on those principles, by:
- empowering people through education and employment opportunities, and ensuring availability and access to food for all
- providing solutions that enable food equity, self-responsibility, and demonstrate the value of collective co-operative solutions
- campaigning for change, tackling inequality, and challenging Government to address the root causes of these injustices to enable social mobility and equal opportunity
Why vote in the AGM?
As a consumer co-operative, we’re owned by our members. We think it’s important that you and all our members – the people who use our business – have the opportunity to have your say on the issues that shape how we run the business. We would like to encourage you to take that opportunity; the motions you vote on really do make a difference.
In 2020, members had their say on motions around ethical retailing, climate change and support for the wider co-operative movement. As a result, we’ve developed a five-year Fairtrade strategy, campaigned with others on issues such as free school meals, pledged to produce carbon-neutral own brand products by 2025, and much more. Your voice matters, and we’re listening.
Are you eligible to vote?
To be eligible, you must have spent £250 at Co-op Food in 2020 or bought a Co-op product from one of our other businesses. Check if you’re eligible by logging into your membership account or emailing AGM@coop.co.uk.
Register your interest here and we’ll send you a link to join us.
If you’ve got any questions about the AGM, please email us at AGM@coop.co.uk.