Ethically serving stakeholders
A Co-operative Food Group case study

Page 1: Introduction

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One of the most interesting types of business ownership is that of a co-operative. This is because co-operatives are owned by their members, not by shareholders like private or public limited companies. The largest co-operative in the UK is The Co-operative Group. This has more than three million members. Each member has an equal right to contribute to its decision-making processes. This means...
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Page 2: Internal stakeholders

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[audio= stakeholders]

Individuals, groups or organisations may be affected by what an organisation does. They may also have an effect on that organisation. In this way they are said to have a stake or interest in the decisions an organisation makes. In other words they are stakeholders. Stakeholders exist both within an organisation as well as outside the business. For example, within a business, internal...
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Page 3: External stakeholders

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[audio= stakeholders ]

The Co-operative Group has a number of different external stakeholders, including customers, the government and food standards bodies:The requirements of customers drive The Co-operative to develop new goods and services. Following consultation with its customers, The Co-operative introduced an honest labelling policy to help customers make informed decisions about the products they buy. The...
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Page 4: Dealing with stakeholder conflict

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Whenever a business tries to meet the needs of many different stakeholders, there is the potential for stakeholder conflict. This is where different stakeholder groups might have different priorities. For example, the three million members of The Co-operative Group may have different priorities from its ten million customers. Ethical activities may not always be commercially viable.In these...
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Page 5: Benefits of being stakeholder-focused

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[audio= of being stakeholder-focused]

It is not easy to balance all stakeholder requirements. It means the main focus of the business is not just about profitability. Alongside revenue, it needs to consider its impact on people and the environment. The Co-operative is led by its values and the need to behave ethically. Employees also benefit from the business being stakeholder-focused. They will want to continue working for an...
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Page 6: Conclusion

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The views of the members of The Co-operative influence how the business behaves. It creates a series of values that helps it to behave in an ethical manner. This involves understanding, meeting and balancing the needs of all its stakeholders. Stakeholders exist both within and outside the organisation. Trying to balance their needs is not always easy. Sometimes there is a conflict of interest...
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