How do we know the co-operative is run properly? Are you transparent ?

Yes, very transparent. We have all our accounting signed off annually by a auditor for members and public scrutiny. We publish monthly all the moneys in and out in our members login area and we also have three board member signatories on the bank accounts, so no one person can transfer funds. We approve all spending via the management board, and major ethical projects are voted on by all the members … so as you can see, we are all about trust and transparency and have proper measures and checks and balances in place to ensure your co-operative is run correctly.

Does this really help save the earth?

Absolutely! Small-scale enterprises that do little damage to the environment and that promote environmental responsibility encourage local economies and reduce the carbon footprint drastically. By empowering people to switch to more ethical lifestyles, we can be part of a wider shift in paradigm. Our mandate is to keep the protection and regeneration of wildlife at the heart of every business decision and we hope that we might inspire others to do the same.

How does this help communities?

By supporting local initiatives – community garden task forces, food forests, organic pay-as-you-feel cafes, breweries, and bakeries, as well as clean tech solutions such as solar and algae farms. Not only is this an environmental success, but it will also help local people make a more sustainable living. It will bring people together on projects, with a big emphasis on people volunteering their time and resources to create these hubs. This will, in turn, develop closer communities.

Why hasn't this been done before?

Good question! In fact, the co-operative movement has been running since as far back as 1755 – autonomous bodies of people have been getting together voluntarily to meet their common aspirations through jointly owned enterprises for a long time. This is one of the reasons our founder, Emlyn Mousley, chose this structure. It was perhaps only a matter of time before someone came up with this kind of adaptation. Planet Earth, Mother Nature, Gaia – whichever name you call her – is not inclined to be ruled by the commodities and financial markets. If we want to live well into the future, and if we want to do good by our planet, we need to develop systems which work with nature, rather than against it.