The Power of Co-operation

We are often told that to get on is to get ahead, to compete. But what if it wasn't confrontation that powers success in business and in life, but co-operation - sometimes co-operating to compete?

This is a story in part about co-operatives, those values based businesses that are structured around participatory ownership rather than the rights of investors, but it is also a story of every business and every participant in the economy. I will argue that what underpins productive co-operation are values - often strongly held and the deepest motivators for individual and group action that we have.

The lecture will point to practical ways to bring values to life, and some of the recent success stories and disaster stories of business life when it comes to organising around values. If we can organise around values then we don't just change behaviours in business, we start to reclaim and reimagine the economy as centred around people rather than short term gain. This is the power and potential of co-operation.

Date: Wednesday 25 October 2018. 5:30 pm - 6:30 pm

Venue: Lecture Theatre 2, Ken Edwards Building, University of Leicester

Ed MayoEd Mayo

Ed Mayo is Secretary General of Co-operatives UK, the network for the UK’s thousands of co-operative businesses. He is a long-term co-operator and has a track record of innovation and impact in his work to bring together economic life and social justice.

Ed is Chair of the participation charity, Involve and Vice-President of Co-operatives Europe - as well as being involved in a range of organisations and enterprises that promote a fairer and more sustainable economy.

He is editor of The Co-operative Advantage: innovation, co-operation and why sharing business ownership is good for Britain, published in 2015, and co-author of the book Consumer Kids.

Ed Mayo was one of the team who founded the Fairtrade Mark, which sources products from co-operatives
and small-scale producers in developing countries. He rose to prominence as director of the New Economics
Foundation from 1992 to 2003. He led the organisation from two to fifty staff, creating an award-winning
‘think-and-do tank’, looking at ethical market activity, local economies and public service reform. Ed is now a
fellow of NEF. He helped to start the London Rebuilding Society as its first chair and during this time chaired
the Jubilee 2000 campaign. The campaign led to billions of dollars of debt cancellation, helping countries like
Tanzania and Uganda to raise their primary school enrolment rate.

From 2003 – 2009, he was Chief Executive of the National Consumer Council, merging this with two other
bodies to found a new statutory consumer champion in 2008. He was described by the Independent as
“the most authoritative voice in the country speaking up for consumers”, while the Guardian has nominated
him as one of the top 100 most influential figures in British social policy. In 2014, Lucy Siegle, The Observer,
commented that “Ed has played a leading role in almost every environmental and ethical business initiative
over the last two decades.”

Ed was nominated a ‘Young Global Leader’ by the World Economic Forum and in 2007 he was awarded an
honorary doctorate from the London Metropolitan University for his work to build an ethical economy. His
original degree is in philosophy, from Cambridge University. After a short period as a management consultant
at Accenture, Ed joined the World Development Movement, serving as acting Director until 1992.




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