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Reflecting on the rise and resilience of community co-operatives

Blogs Published: June 29, 2021 1:22 pm

Corporate priorities and operations are continually evolving and adapting, and Unity Trust Bank has an unwavering commitment to supporting customers across different sectors and industries, who are protecting jobs, driving economic growth, and embracing diversity.

Just as we pursue safe growth by investing deposits into projects that reflect Unity’s values and contribute towards positive societal change, we champion businesses that take a collaborative approach with their people, to be a force for good within their communities.

That’s why we’re proud to support co-operatives, where ownership and control are shared with their members. Guided by a clear set of values and principles that reflect the ethos of Unity Trust Bank, the co-op business model is designed to protect the interests of employees and listen to the needs of customers, promoting fair working practices and the sharing of knowledge to strengthen society as a whole.

As the high street faces its own unique challenges, it is encouraging to see how support for local, ethical businesses has grown over the last 18 months. From retailers to community-owned pubs, fan-owned football clubs and farmer-controlled businesses, the number of independent co-operatives is rapidly increasing, with more than 7,000 across the UK. And when we take a closer look at the numbers, it’s clear to see why:

  • 76% of new start co-ops survive their first five years compared to 42% of other types of business
  • 56% of consumers say they trust co-ops, compared to just 35% for PLCs
  • 92% of businesses who have raised funds through community shares since 2012 are still operating.

With more productive, engaged, and fulfilled workforces, businesses that put their people first and give employees a voice in corporate governance have been shown to benefit from a better, more collaborative culture, whilst making a greater contribution to economic recovery.

Furthermore, the implementation of people-first policies isn’t just of benefit to employees and attractive for investors, but being seen as a responsible company is key for building brand reputation. Earlier this year, a YouGov poll commissioned by Co-operatives UK found that the most popular attributes for a business to earn trust is to be a good employer and behave fairly, while two thirds of respondents felt that trustworthy businesses passed savings on to customers and supported the local community.

As a socially motivated commercial bank, Unity Trust Bank is proud to be a member of Co-Operatives UK, working with co-ops including ART Business Loans, Birmingham Friends of the Earth and Calder Valley Community Land Trust, to name but a few. Unity Trust Bank is an ethical alternative for businesses and organisations with a social conscience.

If you’re interested in hearing how Unity can help your business, get in touch with our customer support team by calling 0345 140 1000 or via unity.co.uk/contact-us.


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