Save the Earth, the People’s Co-Operative Code of Governance

Wherever you are in the world, you are welcome to join us!

Voluntary and open membership

The Save the Earth Co-Operative membership opportunity is open to all supporters able and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership. We believe that our organisation will function best as an inclusive team of members with long-term collective interests in the success of the co-operative. Over time, members with specific skills will be asked to head up projects and activities and may even become managers or be elected onto the Board. From the outset, the Founder Members shall act as stewards, steering the co-operative through its initial period of growth in the early years.

Our co-operative shall:

1 Provide all supporters with meaningful information about membership and how to join.

2 Provide Members with an agreed set of rights and responsibilities, usually as a membership agreement.

3 Include a probationary period and membership training for supporters who want to become Members.

4 Offer membership to all supporters who are able and willing to accept the responsibilities of membership.

 

Democratic member control

The Save the Earth Co-operative is a democratic organisation controlled by the members on the basis of one Member = one vote, setting policies and making decisions. A Founding Board (the “Board”) has already been set up to manage and oversee the development of the co-operative (and set up and run the not-for-profit foundation) and develop all its principles in the early years. As soon as we have our 1st AGM, within 18 months from incorporation, 50% of the existing Board will resign as directors and may well put themselves up for re-election. The following year, two more of the Founding Directors will stand down (drawn by lots, as in year one)  and, in the third year, the final two. All new directors (or newly re-elected directors) are elected for 3 years at a time. At all times, however, all Board Members shall be fully accountable to the wider membership. We know that co-operatives succeed when all Members participate in transparent, fair decision making; but also where Members are given delegated authority to act on behalf of the collective.

Our co-operative shall do its best to:

1 Ensure all qualified Members actively participate in voting for their preferred projects and, whenever practicable, participate in the project management itself, the setting up and running of the project business and its long-term planning.

2 Effectively communicate, both between the co‑operative and its membership and encourage communication between Members themselves.

3 Collectively agree and delegate authority to individual Members to act on behalf of the co‑operative as and where necessary.

4 Ensure there are democratic processes, or democratic accountability, in all governance and management functions.

5 Regularly review our governance and business management processes as we grow and develop.

 

Member economic participation:

Members contribute equitably to, and democratically control, the capital and finances of their co-operative. Members decide by majority vote how to use surpluses (profits) and which projects to support.

The Save the Earth Co-Operative shall:

1 Offer specific project opportunities to all fully paid-up Members whereby, on payment to the Co-operative of £395 + VAT, your ethical project can be evaluated and, if successful, offered out to the membership to vote in support. Individual funding arrangements and share divisions will be planned and negotiated on a case-by-case basis.

2 Allocate a percentage of surpluses to the not-for-profit Save the Earth Foundation as a charitable donation in addition to collectively owned financial reserves and capital.

3 Ensure that Members are enabled to invest in the Co-operative as a whole, or choose specific projects, if they want to. If Members have individual investments, however, they do not attract additional voting rights.

4 Have a planned and agreed pay and benefits structure for those Members taken on as employees, including non-financial benefits.

5 Aim to offer pay and benefits sufficient to sustain long term employment and membership, to enable the co-operative and its projects to retain the required skills and experience it needs to grow.

6 Ensure that any surplus in the form of pay and benefits is distributed fairly and equitably between Members, relative to their contribution.

 

Autonomy and independence

This Co-operative is independent, a self-help organisation controlled by our Members on the basis of one Member, one vote. If we decide to raise capital from external sources, we shall always do so in such a way to maintain our co-operative autonomy.

The Board of Save the Earth Co-Operative Ltd will actively plan and manage this Co-operative to be a successful business and avoid becoming over dependent on any funder, supplier or customer. At all times we shall;

1 Have good financial controls and management, including cash flow forecasts and internal audits covering all parts of the business.

2 Actively manage and assign responsibilities for our operations, personnel, marketing and other business functions.

3 Understand and control risks, both internal and external, facing our co-operative.

4 Build our capability to identify and take advantage of business opportunities.

5 Invest in equipment, premises and technology sufficient to achieve agreed working conditions, efficient operations and longer term development.

6 Benchmark co-operative and business performance against recognised performance standards, including this Code of Governance.

 

Education, training and information

Save the Earth, the People’s Co-Operative will provide education and training for our Members, employees, supporters and volunteers so they can contribute effectively to the development of this co‑operative. We commit to informing the general public about the nature and benefits of co-operation and our wider activities to saving this Earth. Our co-operative Members should become multi-skilled, so they can participate fully in the management and development of the Co-operative.

We shall:

1 Assess the technical, management and co‑operative skills needed to achieve our long term plans and replace key Members who leave.

2 Ensure all prospective members, Members and elected representatives receive training in membership and co-operative skills.

3 Encourage Members in specialist roles to obtain technical skills and professional development for current and future needs.

4 Develop and share management skills and techniques to permit efficient co-operative business co‑ordination.

5 Educate business partners, customers and the public about the nature and benefits of co‑operative forms of business.

 

Co-operation among co-operatives

Save the Earth, the People’s Co‑operative serves its Members most effectively and strengthens the co-operative movement by working together through local, regional, national and international structures. This principle is the key to business success for co‑operatives, enabling us to ethically outperform the privately owned opposition.

Our co-operative will;

1 Network with co‑operatives in our locality and related industries to share intelligence, understand each others’ business needs and goals, and support each other.

2 Trade with other co-operatives whenever possible.

3 Find and refer new business opportunities to other co-operatives we know and trust.

4 Collaborate with other co-operatives to achieve economies of scale, share costs, access to business opportunities and joint long-term development.

5 Practice fair and honest commercial competition between co-operatives.

6 Participate in regional and national co-operative activities to promote, develop and grow the co-operative economy around the world.

 

Concern for community around the globe

We work for the sustainable development of the communities in which we operate, and those we intend to expand into with the help of our members, through working according to policies approved by our members. By building good relations with our local and wider communities, we shall create goodwill and opportunities for our co‑operative and our members.

Our co-operative shall:

1 Actively control the environmental and social impacts of our business.

2 Agree and live up to ethical business standards.

3 Operate high health and safety and worker welfare standards.

4 Prioritise and promote ethical and sustainable initiatives, such as fair trade.

5 Participate in our local, and wider, communities, and promote co-operative principles within them.