Exhibition: The People’s Business – 150 Years of The Co-operative

Announcement, People's History Museum, Manchester (UK)
The People’s Business – 150 Years of The Co-operative
In partnership with The Co-operative
12 October 2013 — 11 May 2014
People's History Museum, Manchester (UK)

The museum’s next changing exhibition is looking at all things co-operative. For 150 years The Co-operative has grown to first manufacture and then to sell products. Its services continue to support the families and communities of Great Britain and the world ‘from the cradle to the grave’.
This people’s business began its humble origins as the Co-operative Wholesale Society in Greater Manchester in 1863. The exhibition will explore the story and values behind the ‘caring sharing co-op’ and offer a unique insight into the way we shop and live.

Themes that the exhibition will cover include:
The business (origins & history, values, principles, ownership)
Services and commodities (products, manufacturing, ethical consumerism)
Innovation (supply chain, own brand)
Solidarity (protecting the environment, consumer rights, fairtrade etc)
Working and living together (The Co-operative Party, societies, campaigns)
There will be interactives throughout the exhibition space and visitors will be able to get involved and share their experiences and offer comments and feedback.

There will be a varied events programme related to the subjects and themes covered in the exhibition. Look online for more information nearer the time.

The Co-operative
The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned not by private shareholders but by over seven million consumers. They are the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer and a major financial services provider, operating The Co-operative Bank and The Co-operative Insurance. They also operate a funeral services, the third largest pharmacy chain and one of Britain’s largest farming operations. The Group operates 4,800 retail trading outlets, employs more than 100,000 people and has an annual turnover of more than £13bn.
Like any business, they want to be a commercial success. However, even more important to them is the way that they do business, and the way that they use their profits. They believe that they should offer our customers both value and values. Their members are their owners; members tell them what is important to them and they listen and act on it. It’s part of their model: as a consumer co-operative, they run their business for the benefit of members. That means members are involved in democratic decision-making and profits are shared with the members. Members also set a social and campaigning agenda that they support.
They have become pioneers in areas such as Fairtrade and combating climate change. The more commercially successful they are, the more they can do to give back to the communities they serve and to influence the wider world.