Cooperatives are businesses that are owned and run by their members. There are five main types:

Consumer: owned by consumers who buy goods or services from their cooperative
Producer: owned by producers of commodities or crafts who have joined forces to process and market their products
Worker: owned and democratically governed by employees who become co-op members
Purchasing: owned by independent businesses or municipalities to improve their purchasing power
Hybrid: a combination of co-op types, where people with common interests band together.

Cooperatives generally subscribe to Seven Principles:

Cooperatives UK has more information about cooperatives, including case studies of different types of cooperatives.

Interested in setting up a Cooperative? Check out these resources.


Other Structures

There are other structures organisations can adopt to develop cooperation, community ownership and community benefit. For example:

A Community Benefit Society
An organisation with the purpose of serving the broader interests of the community, in contrast to co-operative societies that serve the interests of members.

A Community Interest Company
A type of company designed for social enterprises that want to use their profits and assets for the public good.