Chippenham, United Kingdom (PressExposure) July 15, 2011 -- The last two weeks in the UK saw the celebrations of Co-operatives Fortnight. This yearly event aims to raise awareness for the sector and gives co-operatives the opportunity to share ideas and learn from one another. This was only the second year for the event and it has again been considered a great success. The theme for this year's event was 'Yours to Share', which was intended to promote the concept of shared ownership and profits. Central to the fortnight this year was the signing of a petition which calls for the government to recognise and work towards improving the increasing gap between the rich and the very poor in the UK.
The event is organised by Co-operatives UK, which is a national trade body whose activities centre on the campaigning, promoting and development of UK based co-operatives. The co-operative industry is worth £33.5 billion and is the largest membership movement of the UK. There are 4900 independent cooperatives in this country alone. The movement is increasing year on year in both size and profits and is increasingly popular internationally, as well as in the UK. Co-operatives in the UK are run and co-owned by their members/employees and work towards their interests, rather than the interest of outside shareholders. The aim of Co-operatives UK is to unite these enterprises and promote public interest in the schemes.
Co-operatives and the Co-operative Group have always been important supporters and movers for the fair trade movement. Many fair trade products have found their way into public sphere via co-operatives. Harriet Lamb, chief executive of the Fairtrade Foundation has said that "Co-operatives are at the heart of the fairtrade movement". The fair trade ethos of working together for a better future and more sustainable societies mirrors the co-operative ethos of sharing and working together.