A networking session with top officials from co-operatives from India, Africa South and Central America, Ireland and Scotland meeting up with co-operatives from across Wales.
The event was organised by Co-operatives and Mutuals Wales in partnership with Twin Trading and Fair Trade Wales on September 15th at the Mulberry Centre in Abergavenny.
In addition to the 8 co-ops from Wales, the co-ops represented included Liberation Nuts, a pan continent co-operative, Divine Chocolate and Twin Trading, both of which are owned by producer co-ops, Valid Nutrition from Ireland, Equal Exchange from Scotland, and a dozen or more producer co-ops from countries including Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Kerala, El Salvador, Peru and Mexico.
Following the lively exchange of information, a number of potential linkages have developed, as co-ops shared information and requests for help and support on technical, governance and management issues, as well as developing sales and distribution partnership leads.
Representatives from the Co-operative Group, already the biggest supermarket supporter of Fair Trade expressed their wishes to see the Group working even more closely with Fair Trade producers by building links with those present. Already a welsh credit union is establishing links with producer co-operatives which have credit union or micro-finance organisations as part of their operation, with a view to developing a support programme. They hope to get support from the Wales-Africa project to enable them to work with the southern producers on system modernisation, computerisation and fiscal security. Also a welsh based co-operative social firm, one of whose directors attended the event, is looking to build links with producers to warehouse and distribute their products across the UK.
The event was financially supported by the Welsh Assembly Government’s Enterprise Networks Fund.
Download the attendance list here Producer + Co-op Representatives – Principal Six Co-op Exchange
The event was organised according to Principal Six
PRINCIPLE SIX NETWORKING
PRINCIPLE SIX IS A NETWORK OF MEN AND WOMEN WORKING IN CO‑OPERATIVE BUSINESSES, EMPLOYEE OWNED FIRMS AND SOCIAL ENTERPRISES.
ITS SOLE PURPOSE IS TO INCREASE THE AMOUNT AND QUALITY OF NEW BUSINESS WON BY ITS MEMBERS, THROUGH THE GIVING AND RECEIVING OF BUSINESS REFERRALS.
- We do this by providing a structured environment for the development and exchange of information about new business opportunities, and qualified introductions to potential new clients, customers and business partners.
- Members undertake to educate each other about their services and products, and the kind of referrals they seek. They agree to engage actively in network events and activities, and to generate qualified business referrals from within their own contact sphere.
- They undertake to follow up conscientiously on referrals they receive, and to be open with other members about the outcome of those referrals. :
- Members also agree to help grow the number and quality of business introductions made, by bringing visitors and potential new members to Principle Six events and activities.
- If you want to know more, including how to join, go to www.principlesix.coop
THE NETWORK IS NAMED AFTER THE SIXTH OF SEVEN PRINCIPLES UPON WHICH WE OPERATE. THEY ARE:
1. Voluntary and open membership
Anyone who can bring qualified business referrals, and is willing to work towards the aims of Principle Six, is eligible for membership of the network.
The policies and activities of Principle Six are controlled by the members.
Joining the network means actively engaging in its activities. Principle Six is owned and managed equitably by ~ members.
When Principle Six enters into agreements with other organisations – government. Commercial or third sector – it will only do so on the basis that it stays under the control of its members and keeps its independence.
Principle Six undertakes to train its members in business networking skills. Members agree to educate each other about their own businesses, and to promote the aims activities and principles of the network.
Principle Six works co-operatively to generate new business referrals for all the members.
Principle Six exists to support both the long term growth and success of its members’ businesses, and the sustainable development of the communities in which they operate.
MEMBERS OF PRINCIPLE SIX AGREE TO ABIDE BY AN ETHICAL CODE. THEY UNDERTAKE TO:
- Be truthful with the members and with people to whom they are referred through the network.
- Be honest in promoting their business and its products or services at a level of quality and cost they are able to deliver.
- Build trust among the members and goodwill between Principle Six and the communities in which its members work.
- Take responsibility for following up on referrals they receive.
- Display a positive and supportive attitude with network members.
- Live up to the highest ethical standards of their trade or profession.