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Thread: co-op confusion

  1. #1
    lozza's Avatar
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    Question co-op confusion

    right, i'm confused.

    i've always been under the impression that the co-op were the best supermarket, and not just the supermarket, but the whole co-operative group.

    but i was reading different reports on the ethicalconsumer website. and where one report will say they are the only ethically sound company, there are a few other reports stating how bad they are. this kinda confused me.

    on the supermarket report, they ranked quite high, but on the 'tinned veg' report & 'internet banking' report, there is a boycott call..why? i'm kinda confused by this. i guess it could be old info but the 'internet banking' report was only published in 2004.. so its fairly recent. and also on their homepage, there is a logo clearly showing that the site is sponsored by the co-operative bank!



    supermarkets: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/magaz...permarkets.pdf

    internet banking: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/magaz...ernetbanks.pdf

    tinned veg: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/magaz.../tinnedveg.pdf

  2. #2
    Kevster
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    Supermarkets per se, are unethical, i know there is something else on the forum about it. Co-op are perhaps the best of a crap bunch, and that doesn't say very much.

    'As Corporate Watch explained in their Corporate Law And Structures report,

    Yes, the ideology incorporates social and environmental values, but only as secondary considerations. For most people, economic values are secondary, and social and to a lesser extent environmental values come first: making money is good but only if it doesn’t conflict with believing it’s wrong to murder, steal or cut down virgin rainforest.

    For the corporate ‘environmentalist’, profit is absolute, social and environmental values are relative: their first aim is to make as much money as possible, but given two ways to make that money they choose the one that requires the least murder, blatant theft or environmental destruction. Then they pat themselves on the back for being so responsible.'

    Pinched from something similar: http://bristlingbadger.blogspot.com/

  3. #3
    snaffler's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    Its exactly as Kev puts it, they are the best of a bad bunch, they are the best for "Vegans" but if you look outside the "Vegan" food they offer and quality labels you fall into the Environmental and Ethical fields.

    Remember being vegan is doing all you can to live ethical and animal cruelty free that is in practical and realistic means.

    We would all love to have a good ethical wholefood store that serves every need but in the real world and the changing competitive commercial world that is never going to happen or change 99% of us still need to use the supermarket.

    All I can offer is when you are their shopping stick to buying vegan and send in those customer feed back forms.
    Go confidently in the direction of your dreams

  4. #4
    lozza's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    but what i mean is..their internet banking company is praised for being the only company who supports worthwhile causes etc. why, one minute, do they say they are good..then 2 mins later say that their banking company is bad?

    and why do they receive 'bad' animal testing ratings, when they are supported by the BUAV since 1985? they are, in essence, saying that they do test, but they dont?

    and not just the vegan/animal testing front..all other aspects too. they are the only supermarket company who gives certain information when you ask for it..and others dont. and they are praised for being genuinely ethically sound. so why are they slated?

    i still dont understand it..

  5. #5
    told me to Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    Quote lozza
    they are the only supermarket company who gives certain information when you ask for it..and others dont.
    Such as? I've had vegan specific information from all the large supermarkets that i've written to.

    Quote snaffler
    Its exactly as Kev puts it, they are the best of a bad bunch, they are the best for "Vegans" but if you look outside the "Vegan" food they offer and quality labels you fall into the Environmental and Ethical fields.
    I'd say coop are pretty good for a selection of fair trade and organic stuff, including wine, beer and spirits.

    Quote lozza
    their internet banking company is praised for being the only company who supports worthwhile causes etc. why, one minute, do they say they are good..then 2 mins later say that their banking company is bad?
    As kevster said, large companies can be good in some areas but rarely in all. Also, one man's ethics is not another's. You should neither believe or agree with everything you read online about people's personal views on things, only facts (which you verify for yourself as best you can or seek several organisations saying the same thing that you trust) and come to your own conclusions. Personally I couldn't care less what people boycott if I don't agree with the reasons why they do so.

    Here's an example. The Coop bank are the only highstreet bank with an ethical policy for investing customer's money. This ethical policy allows them to invest a vegan's money in organic dairy farming. To a vegetarian that's great, to a vegan it's not. They also give away free leather items as incentives - to some people that's great, to me it's not. It is not a vegan bank. Is the trade off worth it thou? That's up to you to decide. One thing is for sure, I can guarantee 100% that no one reading this post buys only products and services 100% of the time from companies who buy and invest only in vegan products and services. So take hardliner's approachs with a pinch of salt, and make up your own mind.
    "Mr Flibble - forum corruptor of innocents!!" - Hemlock

  6. #6
    snaffler's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    Quote lozza
    but what i mean is..their internet banking company is praised for being the only company who supports worthwhile causes etc. why, one minute, do they say they are good..then 2 mins later say that their banking company is bad?
    Regarding banking you must remember in the UK we have only 4 clearing banks which means these are the only banks who are allowed to clear payments, transfers, cheques, BACS, etc.

    Lloyds, Barclays,HSBC & Natwest all the other banks no matter have to use these banks for clearing services, for this reason they have to pay a fee to use these clearing services, none of the big 4 are ethical.

    So it is impossible to have 100% ethical banking, but what is more sure if you have a savings account at say Tridos Bank or Coop you can be sure your money will not be inveted to unwisely, but a current account well the profits from having those pay money to the big 4 for using clearing services.

    Sorry that is not a good answer but it true, as a charity we done a massive audit to find a good ethical bank, all come back with bad points, so we had to choose the one who offered us the best free services as non-profit org.
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  7. #7
    lozza's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    Quote Mr Flibble
    Such as? I've had vegan specific information from all the large supermarkets that i've written to
    sorry i guess i wasnt clear on that. i meant that some supermarkets wont disclose what origin some of their foodstuffs are. and i took that to mean that if they wouldnt disclose it, then they are trying to hide something. like the growers arent paid properly or whatever.. or work in bad conditions. and co-op reveal all their sources (shit.wish i could remember where i read that..it was only a few days ago).


    hmm..i know that nothing is 100% ethical..and we can only do the best we can. i guess i just got confused when this website says "try and use only co-op. yes go for co-op's bank, its nicer than the other banks" then 2 mins later, it says "there is a boycott call on the co-op bank, dont use them"

    see what i mean? i was just confused.

  8. #8
    told me to Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    Quote lozza
    some supermarkets wont disclose what origin some of their foodstuffs are. and i took that to mean that if they wouldnt disclose it, then they are trying to hide something.
    Not nessecarily, there's lots of commercial reasons they wouldn't. For instance, most companies that sell products closely guard who their suppliers are because very often once they've done quality testing and risk assement on it they aren't adding anything to it other than profit. If they disclosed then their rivals would steal this work and undercut them. This is true across the board. Also, if you're a supermarket buying millions of units of a product from 1000s of individual sources it may not be easy for you to keep tabs on this data and release it in a consumer friendly form - doing so may require you to employ a team of people full time and that costs £££. To some companies this may be their marketting edge, to others they probably really couldn't care less if they loose a few customers over it.

    Quote lozza
    see what i mean? i was just confused.
    Yes. Unfortunately hypocracy is as rife amongst hippies and activists as it is amongst those who only eat non fluffy animals.
    "Mr Flibble - forum corruptor of innocents!!" - Hemlock

  9. #9
    frugivorous aubergine's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    I wish they'd list animal ingredients advice on their tinned veg. I'm lost as to where I can find Vegan mushy Peas.

  10. #10
    Kevster
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    From Schnews:

    '..and finally...

    Got yer trust fund stashed away with an ethical bank? Are your
    millions being put to work helping peasant co-operatives struggle
    amidst scenes of picturesque oppression? You're with the Co-Op
    right? Fair-trade, organic, vegan friendly. You must think you're
    the mutts nuts, swanning about with Zac Goldsmith and George
    Monbiot. Think again, 'cos your money's as dirty as Rupert
    Murdoch's. Despite the constant trumpeting about ethical
    investment over the past fifteen years, it seems that the Co-op
    have been caught with their fingers in the till. Their latest
    'tax-efficient' investment promises great returns - without
    harming the environment, animals or other people. According to the
    bank you can enjoy "strong growth and a clear conscience" by
    investing in companies like Vodafone and GlaxoSmithKline!

    SchNEWS encourages readers to put aside Vodafone's investment in
    the arms trade and Glaxo's animal testing labs. After all,
    Vodafone's been benevolently investigating the impact of phones on
    the environment (apparently a phone that takes 10,000 years to
    biodegrade is OK). And despite Glaxo's recent resistance to cheap
    generic HIV drug production for Africa, the Co-op reckons that
    company bosses should be congratulated for their 'discount drugs
    policy for developing countries'. If you've got some spare cash to
    invest - rather than contacting the bank, why not bung the SchNEWS
    office a few quid because, as ever, we're skint and can promise
    that it'll go down the drain in a thoroughly ecological way.'

    http://www.schnews.co.uk/archive/pdf/news537.pdf

  11. #11
    lozza's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    i emailed the site and got this reply:

    Dear Lauren,

    Thanks for your email. The Co-operative Group has a poor Ethiscore
    due to the activities of its supermarkets. It receives marks for
    selling animal tested products, selling factory farmed products, and
    a boycott call called by the Boycott Israeli Goods campaign. This
    campaign targets groups selling or trading with Israel. Ethical
    Consumer reports on all boycotts relating to our categories, but this
    does not necessarily mean we endorse them.

    We support the Co-operative Bank as they are the only high street
    bank with a credible ethical policy. Unlike all other high street
    banks they will not invest your money in animal testing for cosmetics,
    oppressive regimes, armaments etc etc. They are miles ahead of any
    other bank on the high street, therefore we recommend them as a best
    buy for banks.

    I hope this clarifies,
    Lindsay Whalen.



    so i dunno..i'm stuck now.
    which banks are other people with? i'm just curious.. i'm with bank of scotland..i got an account years ago.. & have no idea about how ethical they are *looks it up online*

  12. #12
    told me to Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    The thing is, all supermarkets sell factory farmed goods, israeli products and those which have been animal tested. If those are reasons for you to boycott then you should boycott all supermarkets. If you aren't willing to do that then coop still remain the best.

    I've banked with coop for current, savings and visa (greenpeace) since 00. I'm not sure who i will my mortgage from yet, I want to borrow more than i think coop will allow. There's threads about coop bank and banking in general already though which may provide interesting reading for you.
    "Mr Flibble - forum corruptor of innocents!!" - Hemlock

  13. #13
    lozza's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    i've started to really dislike shopping from supermarkets. i boycott some..but not co-op..even though they are still a supermarket at the end of the day.

    but i'd much prefer to get all my stuff from corner shops, and little fruit & veggeries.. (word?).. but theres some things that you just cant find unless you got to a supermarket.. which is rather annoying. so i feel i'm being hypocritical if i do shop at them.

    argh..confused.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    Quote lozza
    and little fruit & veggeries.. (word?)...
    Greengrocers?
    "Do what you can with what you have where you are."
    - Theodore Roosevelt

  15. #15
    lozza's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    YEAH! thats the one! lol :$

  16. #16
    Gliondrach
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    I don't go to normal supermarkets. I can get everything I need elsewhere. And often cheaper and better quality. I do go to the Co-op, for bread and sometimes soya milk, but that is because I don't think of them as being a supermarket. Just a big shop. Years ago, there were co-ops in every town. I remember the one round the corner from me when I was about six or seven. It had its own smell. Bread was unwrapped. Cheese was in big wooden barrels. Bacon was cut to order. Purchases were put into grease-proof paper bags. It was like a different world. You'd be able to see the same type of thing in Captain Mainwaring's Walmington-on-Sea. That's why I don't consider them to be supermarkets. I don't know if the old concept of co-ops survives but it was a good one for the poor of the industrial North. My mother used to get her dividend every year. You had to mention your number whenever you bought something and the transaction was recorded in a book so that the customer's dividend could be worked out.

    There's little chance of buying only ethically produced goods. Everything is tainted. We would have to buy an island, set up living arrangements and then grow all our own food veganically. We'd have to grow our own cotton and linen to make clothes. Make our own paper. Generate our own electricity. And dozens of other things. In fact, we'd have to declare independence so that we wouldn't have to pay taxes to the UK and the EU.

    Who's with me? We could find a nice island, invade it, turf out the people already there and then defend it against the Army, Royal Navy and RAF. Bags I be the General.

  17. #17
    frugivorous aubergine's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    It was exactly like that when I started working for them in 1996. They've gone downhill since the advent of electronic ordering, and now everything seems to be run from head office. My store manager was a superb woman to work for, but I can't imagine her having as much influence now.

  18. #18
    snaffler's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    We always try to buy our veg from a guy in Frome market every sat called Nick, he is a family business and he gets up at the crack of dawn goes to the big wholsale fruit markets. he waits to all the big boys have been through, and he then buys all the stuff that is rejected because of shape size colour but never because of quality.

    This sat we bought a huge box of vine ripe toms from him for 2.00 he was selling loads of things this way, he says the others rejected them because they are all to big.

    He even admits yep I bought them at 1.00 a box I sell them for 2.00 your happy I am happy we all go home happy great guy, spend over a 10 with him which is easy as we only eat veg he always throws something free on top..this week two punnets of red grapes.

    Beats the supermarkets hands down.
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  19. #19
    lozza's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    that sounds cool! i'd love to go to a farmer's market, but where the hell are they? i never hear about them.

    Quote Gliondrach
    I don't go to normal supermarkets. I can get everything I need elsewhere. And often cheaper and better quality.
    hmm..not for me. all the other things i need, ok yeah i probably could get elsewhere, but its usually more expensive. and i'm a student. and i cant afford to spend a lot of money

  20. #20
    told me to Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    Quote Gliondrach
    Who's with me? We could find a nice island, invade it, turf out the people already there and then defend it against the Army, Royal Navy and RAF. Bags I be the General.
    What are your rowing skills like? We could invade Sealand
    "Mr Flibble - forum corruptor of innocents!!" - Hemlock

  21. #21
    Gliondrach
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    Interesting place but not much scope for growing our own nosh. Actually, I am a wizard rower - sculler, really - having been a member of the Tyne Amateur Rowing Club. There, I met another Martin who was a vegan.

  22. #22

    Default Re: co-op confusion

    Yeah, I was confused by Co-op's telly adverts showing frolicking sheep. I've heard they're big in farming.

    But their labelling is better and it is really a co-op. You can join in any store, so there is no reason it could not be made a vegan enterprise... eventually. One year they gave all the members a 10 rebate.

    A group I belonged to used co-op bank but were worried about their inefficiency, but maybe that has changed. Meantime the other banks have got heavily unethical about directly ripping off their customers with unjustified penalty charges - one couple faced 5000 in charges, read about it on bankchargeshell.com

  23. #23
    told me to Mr Flibble's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    I've had co-op bank mischarge me for services I haven't requested or use. I found on my statement last summer that they'd set me up an overdraft I never asked for and charged me for the privillege! All companies are subject to mistakes, it's how they deal with them that is the test.
    "Mr Flibble - forum corruptor of innocents!!" - Hemlock

  24. #24
    lozza's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    Quote applecrumble
    You can join in any store, so there is no reason it could not be made a vegan enterprise...
    join? as in open an account in any store? or something else?

    i want to get a co-op bank account, cos i'm with bank of scotland & royal bank and i hate them..but i did a search on yell.com and there appear to be NO co-op banks in glasgow, or in fact scotland :S bit weird.

    anyone know where i can go?

  25. #25
    friendly fri
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    Afew points here. I appreciate that people of limited funds are often constrained to use of supermarkets, due to money problems. Open air markets are better for fruit and veg though.And the Co op bank aren,t very good if you yourself are in financial schtuck street i can assure you.And back in January there was an alarming boo boo by them . I rang to ask for my bank books to only be posted to my branch, not my home, due to Royal Mail,s unreliability. I was, for some reason, promised "a call on Monday"..It never arrived.When pointed out to them , the response was a bit blase in truth. Eventually got it sorted though.

  26. #26
    lozza's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    see this is where i am confused.

    on the one hand, people are saying, most banks are unethical, and co-op's is probably better a little bit, but still not that good. so i shouldnt go for them.

    but then what am i meant to do? put all my money in a box in the cupboard? :P

  27. #27
    friendly fri
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    I suppose that co op are the best of a very very poor quality bunch.They sure waste no time on sending customers endless bits of glossy paper to show just how ethical they are. Just before reading your posts on here today, i sat at home reading all about how they gave so many grand to Traidcraft last year...brilliant .But they've their drawbacks, have co op bank. I guess, for me, i just have to bank with them..for now..

  28. #28
    lozza's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    i'm wondering if i can bank with them.

    like i said, i cant seem to find any co-op branches in scotland!

  29. #29

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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    Quote lozza
    little fruit & veggeries.. (word?)..
    Greengrocers.
    Some of them are a lot cheaper than supermarkets too.
    See my local diary ... http://herbwormwood.blogspot.com/

  30. #30

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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    Quote lozza
    see this is where i am confused.

    on the one hand, people are saying, most banks are unethical, and co-op's is probably better a little bit, but still not that good. so i shouldnt go for them.

    but then what am i meant to do? put all my money in a box in the cupboard? :P
    If you really want a completely ethical bank there is one called
    Triodos
    http://www.triodos.co.uk/
    I think there are some others similar to this.
    However if you want a big name bank the Co-operative seems the best of the big names.
    See my local diary ... http://herbwormwood.blogspot.com/

  31. #31

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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    Quote lozza
    i'm wondering if i can bank with them.

    like i said, i cant seem to find any co-op branches in scotland!
    try this for your local branch:
    http://www.cooponline.coop/cgi-bin/e...section=search
    However once you have set up an account, one can deposit and withdraw at a post office counter or cashpoint, and use the 24 hour telephone banking service.
    See my local diary ... http://herbwormwood.blogspot.com/

  32. #32
    lozza's Avatar
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    Default Re: co-op confusion

    oh cool thats handy

    hmmm..wonder why i couldnt find any branches before *scratches head* i looked on yell ...oh well. thanks

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