Free Webinar: Policy Guides for Co-operatives and Mutuals

Over the past decade Mutuo has produced a series of policy guides, helping to improve the business environment for co-operatives and mutuals.

As a central part of a communications plan, these guides improve lobbying by sharpening our messages and by clarifying our joint objectives.

They have had a real impact, leading to better relations with government, new policy initiatives and improvements to legislation.

The guides have been produced for national representative bodies in the UK and Australia, and for global business sector bodies such as the International Co-operative Alliance and ICMIF.

In this presentation, Mutuo’s Mark Willetts sets out how and why these guides were created, how they help to influence, and what they have achieved.

So please check out the webinar,  if you’d like more information about how we can help you, please get in touch.

UK Parliament considers new co-operative capital Bill


A new Bill will be introduced in Parliament today [Wednesday 5th February 2020] which aims to facilitate more capital investment into co-operatives. The Bill, brought forward by Cardiff North MP, Anna McMorrin, will be read for a first time in the House of Commons on Wednesday 5th February.

The Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies (Environmentally Sustainable Investment) Bill proposes a way for co-operatives to grow and develop their businesses whilst enhancing their commitment to member ownership and control. Also known as the Green Share Bill, it will focus new funds on environmentally sustainable investments within this important business sector.

The Bill also introduces new provisions including an option restricting the demutualisation of co-operatives into companies and the distribution of their legacy assets.

It takes forward a key recommendation of The Ownership Commission and builds on similar legislation seen in other parts of the world.

Mutuo’s Managing Partner, Peter Hunt, said,

‘The challenge has been to amend the capital regime for co-ops and community benefit societies, to permit the injection of external capital, whilst enhancing their mutuality.  We can point to existing examples of where this has been achieved in other countries such as Canada, Australia and The Netherlands. 

Anna McMorrin’s Bill offers an important step forward for these mutuals, helping to make the business model even more popular for co-ops which are keen to take advantage of their high levels of trust among customers and members.’

New report: Who Owns Europe? … and why it matters for Progressives

Who Owns Europe
Who Owns Europe? ... and why it matters for Progressives

Ownership matters. Owners of businesses set the strategic direction, purpose and the terms of employment. Owners of land decide what should be done with it and who can access it. Owners of property decide how it is deployed and who can enjoy its benefits.

But increasingly, ownership is being concentrated in fewer hands, shifting ever more from shared ownership towards private corporations and individuals.

Government policy across the EU takes little or no account of the shifting nature of ownership. It is time to make sure that ownership works in the maximum public interest, serving citizens, customers and employees alike.

Who Owns Europe?, a new report from FEPS/Mutuo launched today, examines ownership across the European Union. It considers how Europe’s businesses are owned and where the benefits of business flow. It looks closely at different types of corporate ownership and the effect they have on fairness and equity.

View the report in full

The report makes a series of recommendations aimed at ensuring strong economies which benefit the wider public good and recommends that progressives should promote policies that:

  • Encourage corporate diversity to ensure that businesses for public benefit are recognised in national constitutions or other supreme law
  • Ensure that the remit of government business and enterprise departments includes all types of business, including mutually owned and public purpose enterprise
  • Ensure that in all legislation, the role of and impact on different types of business forms are considered, rather than simply assuming one approach
  • Seek to ensure in particular, that co-operative and other fields of organisational law merit equivalent attention
  • Promote the appointment to ministerial and official posts, champions to represent different types of business
  • Explore incentives for encouraging those setting up new businesses to choose a public benefit business

The report concludes that we can only prevent Europe being taken over by an idea – that of the pursuit of private gain – if we move away from an economy dominated by business for private profit to one for public benefit.

Learn more about FEPS

A Manifesto for Mutuals: 2019 General Election Policy

Since the last General Election, UK Mutuals have enjoyed continued and welcome all-party political support. 

But there is much more to do to ensure that these important businesses can play a greater role in our economy and society and help to build a fairer country. 

By its policy, legislative and regulatory actions, the next Government can enable these businesses to fulfil their potential and deliver a wide range of public policy objectives. 

In this election, we call upon each of the political parties to promise to adopt our plan for action:

1. Recognise and support the value of diverse forms of enterprise in the UK economy 

2. Ensure that policy, legislation and regulation works to provide a fair business environment for mutuals: 

• Greater recognition and policy understanding of the sector by national and devolved politicians 

• A commitment to an enabling legislative environment for the sector in the UK 

• An understanding of where inappropriate regulation affects the sector and a commitment to address this where it occurs 


3. Work with Mutuo and other sector bodies to implement the objectives of the UK Mutual Economy Report 2019

Download the Manifesto

Mutuo launches new influencing strategy for consumer co-ops

Mutuo has launched a new influencing strategy document for consumer co-operatives. The policy guide, co-produced with Consumer Co-operatives Worldwide [CCW], makes the case for consumer co-ops and demonstrates their importance to the global economy and wider society.

The document sets out a number of ways in which a better policy environment for consumer co-ops could be created, including:

  • Adoption of the 2002 UN recommendation that governments should support co-ops
  • Ensuring government departments and ministers are sufficently skilled to work with co-ops
  • Improving education about co-ops
  • Adopting the legal principle of ‘indivisible reserves’ to safeguard co-op assets
  • Legislating for new co-op capital raising instruments 
  • Permitting more cross border trading for co-ops 
  • Better collection of statistics nationally and internationally 

Speaking at the launch of the guide in Moscow, Mark Willetts said: 

“We want to ensure the best possible business environment for consumer co-ops. These businesses are the original type of co-op. They provide significant competition for consumers and drive up standards of safety, quality and sustainability. CCW’s guide sets out a number of key measures that should be adopted to ensure this sector continues to grow and thrive.”

The document is the latest in a series of policy guides that Mutuo has co-authored in order to boost the international co-operative and mutual sector, having previously published guides with ICMIF, AMICE, the ICA and Australia’s BCCM.

Download the guide

To find out more about CCW, click here.

Australian Parliament passes reforms for co-operatives and mutuals

On Thursday the Australian Parliament passed the Treasury Laws Amendment (Mutual Reforms) Act 2019.

This is the culmination of three years work by Mutuo, the Australian Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals and an unprecedented collaboration between mutual businesses across industry sectors.

It is a major step forward for Australia, delivering new landmark legislation and the first positive change to the Corporations Act for mutuals in 18 years.

• The mutual definition in the Corporations Act now identifies the importance of the sector as part of a diverse economy.
• New mutual capital instruments will facilitate growth and innovation of mutuals helping them to compete with listed businesses.
• All of this achieved whilst mutuality is safeguarded for future generations by ensuring member control remains paramount.

Mutuo’s Chief Executive, Peter Hunt, said:
“This success reflects the willingness of the Australian sector to work positively and provide leadership for mutuals. The story in Australia is inspiring. In just a few years, the way mutuals are seen and understood by the government and opposition has been transformed.”

“We have also enjoyed ongoing and sustained support across the political landscape, from the government as well as opposition parties. The Australian sector has shown how a well executed strategy can deliver real improvements to the business environments for co-operatives and mutuals.”

Find out more about the Act.

BCCM-Mutuo Advocacy App

We’re proud to announce the launch of the new Business Council for Co-operatives and Mutuals [BCCM] Advocacy App. The App is the first of its kind and represents a deep collaboration between the BCCM and Mutuo.

For the first time, a national peak body for co-operatives and mutuals has taken the step to communicate with its members in a new and innovative way.

The App, which is available only to BCCM members, provides a quality new service to the membership. The App’s simple format allows members to access key talking points, news and briefing from across the entire co-operative and mutual sector in Australia.

For example, if called on to speak about the benefits of mutuality in your sector the App can provide key talking points and statistics at the touch of a button.

We think this a great way for the co-op and mutual sector to get its message out and we’d love to help you develop a similar App in your country.

Talk to us today about how we can help produce an App for you.

Mutuo working with Consumer Co-operatives Worldwide to develop business sector policy guide

Mutuo is developing a business sector policy Guide for Consumer Co-operatives Worldwide.  This will be an opportunity to address regulatory, legislative and policy barriers to the development and growth of consumer co-operatives around the world.

Its principal use will be to develop coherent policy positions that can be used at a global, regional and national level.

Detailed survey work of CCW members will begin shorty and we look forward to engaging with members to identify the priorities of the consumer co-operative sector.

The document builds on Mutuo’s previous policy work in producing the International Co-operative Alliance Global Manifesto in 2017.

The business sector policy guide will be published in summer 2018.

Consumer Co-operatives Worldwide (CCW) unites, represents, and defends the interests of 26 national organizations of consumer co-operatives around the globe, which represent 75 million individual members, and which register a combined total annual turnover of more than 500 billion EUR.

International Co-operative Alliance publishes Mutuo’s global guide for promotion of co-ops

ICA Global Policy Guide

Co-produced with Mutuo, the Global Policy and Advocacy Guide was designed for the International Co-operative Alliance and its members to help strengthen their advocacy efforts.

The policy guide draws together case studies of good practice from various regions and suggests methodology and communications protocols that can help to grow a consistent global approach to promoting co-operatives.

“It is important that we seek to make the case for co-operatives in an easily understood and consistent way”

Mutuo worked with the International Co-operative Alliance and its members over a nine month period to identify the movement’s policy priorities and the challenges it faced in working with national governments. The consultation process ensured that the strongest practice could be shared globally, to help co-operatives communicate their value to policy makers, legislators and regulators.

View the Guide

Australian Government announces plans to modernise laws for co-operatives and mutuals

  • Mutual enterprise to be defined in reforms to Australian corporations law
  • New options to invest in co-operatives and mutuals
  • Allows Australians to take a stake in mutual businesses
  • Major success for Mutuo advocacy strategy with BCCM

The Australian Federal Treasurer, Hon. Scott Morrison MP, has today announced that the Australian Government will legislate to create a better business environment for co-operatives and mutuals.  The announcement means that co-operatives will have the potential to access new and additional capital for long term business investment that benefits all Australians.

Today’s news is the result of two years painstaking work from Mutuo in collaboration with the Australian Business Council for Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) and fifteen great Australian Mutuals. The decision comes on the back of the Federal Senate Inquiry into Co-operatives and Mutuals in 2016 and accepts in full the recommendations of the Hammond Review to reform the business environment for the sector, which has been published today.

Mutuo’s Peter Hunt said, “This is a huge day for co-operatives and mutuals across Australia. Throughout this project we have sought to champion a better business environment for the sector and today’s announcement is a recognition of the critical impact of our sector on the wider Australian economy.

The creation of new capital instruments has the potential to build a strong new asset class to shake up the investment environment and allow co-operatives and mutuals issuing them to invest, innovate, grow and compete.”

The proposed new capital instruments are similar to those that have been developed for Building Societies and Mutual Insurers in the UK and form part of a global Mutuo campaign to give co-operative and mutual business more financing options and greater opportunity to compete.

Protecting Lives and Livelihoods: ICMIF Global Manifesto 2015 launched

ICMIF Global Manifesto

Mutuo and ICMIF have today published the ICMIF Global Manifesto.

Launched at the biennial ICMIF Conference in Minneapolis the document contains radical proposals calling upon global, regional and national institutions to play their part in:

* Ensuring an appropriate business environment for cooperative and mutual insurance
* Engaging with cooperative and mutual insurers to help to protect lives and livelihoods

View the document

For more information please visit icmif.org.

New Act of Parliament paves way for mutuals to raise capital

Redeemable-shares-14

We are delighted to announce that the Mutuals’ Deferred Shares Bill today completed its final stage in the House of Commons and will now receive Royal Assent. This is the culmination of two and a half years work of researching, drafting, negotiating and finally legislating for this landmark new law for mutual insurers and friendly societies.

Read more New Act of Parliament paves way for mutuals to raise capital

Mutuals’ Redeemable and Deferred Shares Bill achieves Second Reading in Lords

Redeemable-shares-14

The Mutuals’ Redeemable and Deferred Shares Bill has achieved its Second Reading in the House of Lords. The Bill, brought forward by Lord Naseby, will now proceed to Committee Stage and Third Reading in the Lords before making its way to  the House of Commons.

Read more Mutuals’ Redeemable and Deferred Shares Bill achieves Second Reading in Lords