While you’re here… help us stay here.

Are you enjoying open access to policy and research published by a broad range of organisations? Please donate today so that we can continue to provide this service.


Co-op economy report 2021

Cooperatives Business United Kingdom
Attachment Size
Co-op economy report 2021 6.78 MB

Co-ops are democratically owned and controlled by their members. They exist to meet common needs and aspirations, not to pay dividends to shareholders. They share power and wealth and are guided by a clear set of values and principles. This report demonstrates that co-ops have become even more valuable to the communities in which they operate during the Covid pandemic. It also adds to the growing volume of evidence that co-ops are far more resilient than other business types.

Key findings:

  1. There are 7,237 independent co-ops operating across the UK. They operate across all industries, from farming to finance and from energy to education, with high street retailer The Co-op being the UK’s biggest co-op by turnover. The UK’s co-ops have a combined turnover of £39.7 billion - up more than a billion from 2020.
  2. Co-ops help create a more democratic economy. There are almost 14 million memberships of co-ops in the UK.
  3. The number of co-ops operating across the UK grew by 1.2% between 2020 and 2021, with almost twice as many co-ops created as dissolved (197 versus 107). In contrast, there has been a net reduction in the UK’s business numbers.
  4. Covid has had a devastating effect on the economy and people’s lives. Yet co-ops, because they are created to meet the needs of their members, proved four times less likely to cease trading during 2020.


Publication Details
Access Rights Type: