My big move

After six and a half years working in the consumer field, I am making a move.

Towards the end of the year, I will be leaving Consumer Focus and taking up a new role with Co-operatives UK, which is the umbrella network or trade association for the co-operative movement.

The co-operative movement ranges from high street stores, such as those run by the Co-operative Group, through to worker-owned businesses such as the Edinburgh Bicycle Co-op, and from wind energy co-operatives through to the fast growing Phone Co-op. At the latest count, there are over 4,800 co-operative businesses in the UK, owned by 11 million people (and with a combined turnover of almost £29 billion).

I have loved setting up Consumer Focus and am proud of what we have done – there is a very strong team now across the organisation. But those who know me will also know that building an ethical economy is something that I have long been passionate about, from helping to start the Fairtrade Mark through to my recent book, Consumer Kids.

The world would be a better place with a little more co-operation and I am really privileged to have been offered the role – not to say a little nervous! I would welcome suggestions of what I should be doing when I get there… or what to find out more about before I do.

9 thoughts on “My big move

  1. Welcome to Co-operatives UK, of which my business is one member. I’ve started a discussion about your appointment over at but I couldn’t find much about your history with the cooperative movement. Could you tell us more, please?

    Also, with the Fairtrade Mark in your past, does this mean that a CUK-encouraged Cooperative Mark will get off the ground soon? There’s a group of worker co-ops keen on this idea who would welcome CUK support.

  2. Ed, congratulations! Don’t blame you for being a little nervous, but what an opportunity. Would be glad to give you my take on worker co-operation and related subjects, or alternatively talk about the weather. What’s your local?

  3. Hello Ed, Excellent news. Congrats from Suma. We would love to give you one of our famous veggie lunches, next time you are in Yorkshire. Come and see how we run a £25million,150 member worker cooperative democratically. Hopefully you will be telling ‘them down there’ that fat cats are no longer needed. There is another way, if only it was better known. Cooperation rules!
    btw I still use a booklet from your time at NEF, A New Way to Govern. We didnt have a name for the way we manage Suma until we read that book – network governance.



  4. Hello Ed,

    Congratulations and welcome.

    I know both Sion and Bob very well and would recommend their articulate and passionate views on worker coops, and the wider movement.

    I hope you will help raise our profile and communicate the sustainability of mutuality as the best way forward, particularly in restraining the excesses of corporatism. No pressure 🙂



  5. Great news for the Co-op movement Ed; I know you’ve always been a fan. Strikes me that legal structures really do matter in determining the behaviour of corporates, and that the co-operative is the structure best suited to ensuring good standards of corporate responsibility are maintained. I’m no longer at Co-operative Group; happily now working some of my time with Energy4All – helping set up new wind farm co-operatives. Would be good to meet again!
    Good luck in the new move,


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