Tools to Measure Co-operative Impact and Performance

Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada and the Centre for the Study of Co-operatives

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Edited by: Leslie Brown, Chiara Carini, Jessica Gordon Nembhard, Lou Hammond Ketilson, Elizabeth Hicks, John McNamara, Sonja Novkovic, Daphne Rixon, and Richard Simmons

Year: 2015

The Measuring the Co-operative Difference Research Network and the Centre of Excellence in Accounting and Reporting for Co-operatives joined forces to organize an international conference, focused on how and why co-operatives assess their performance and their impacts on society.

Academics and practitioners gathered to share their research and experiences with a variety of accounting and reporting tools and practices. The event offered an unprecedented opportunity to recognize and debate various reporting needs and practices, to hear from practitioners regarding the purpose and methods of reporting in their co-operatives, and to identify the building blocks for the establishment of key supports for co-operatives engaged in performance measuring and reporting.

Over a period of 3 days co-operative practitioners and researchers from Europe, North America and Latin America discussed the strengths and weaknesses of the various tools used by co-operatives, and considered how best to obtain and share reliable and accurate information on co-operative performance and impact. Participants agreed that in addition to being useful for co-operatives as part of their self-evaluation and strategic planning processes, the sharing of information resulting from use of various tools and reporting practices can help co-operatives in the implementation of the strategy for sustainable growth of the co-operative movement, outlined in the Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade.

The key questions posed by the conference organizers were: What do co-operatives report and why? What tools exist and what is missing? Which tools set co-operatives apart from other business forms (and do they measure the co-operative identity)? Which tools are standard in respective industries and are co-operatives leaders or followers in those efforts?

The conference was exploring five interconnected themes:

  • Statistics and data collection
  • Putting co-operative principles into practice
  • Community impact
  • Member and stakeholder engagement
  • Reporting practices (co-operative identity and sustainability)

The chapters in this book are organized according to these five themes. They offer an international snapshot of the work being undertaken in these areas, with the intention of sharing the knowledge and experience obtained thus far. The authors advocate a critical analysis of these materials, and suggest ways forward as practitioners and researchers address the reporting and dissemination challenges identified during the conference.

Table of Contents

Preface (Leslie Brown and Sonja Novkovic)
Introduction (Leslie Brown and Sonja Novkovic)
The Importance of Statistics on Co-operatives: Why and How Should We Collect Data? (Chiara Carini, Hanan El-Youssef, and Theo Sparreboom)
Statistical Data on Co-operatives in Spain (Millan Diaz-Foncea and Carmen Marcuello)
Data Collection on Co-operatives: The Italian Case (Chiara Carini)
Satellite Accounts: A New Approach for Economic Evaluation of the Co-operative Sector (Dragan Vukmirovic, Rade Ciric, Mirjana Smolcic, Svetlana Jelic, and Jelena Budimir)
The Co-operative Sustainability Scorecard (Russ Christianson)
The Sustainability and Planning Scorecard: A Tool Designed for and with Local Retail Food Co-operatives (Leslie Brown, Elizabeth Hicks, André Leclerc, and Bonnie Petersen, with contribution by Siri Jackson-Wood)
“Walking the Talk”: Putting Co-operative Principles and Values into Practice with the Help of the Co-op Index (Peter Hough)
Case Study: Using the Co-op Index: EnerGreen Builders Co-operative’s Experience (Eric Tusz-King)
Self-Help and Social Responsibility: Creating Measruements for Non-Financial Performance (John A. McNamara)
Understanding and Measuring the Benefits and Impacts of Co-operatives (Jessica Gordon Nembhard)
Identifying the Appropriate Indicators to Measure the Impact of Credit Unions and Other Co-operatives on Their Communities (Jessica Gordon Nembhard and Lou Hammond Ketilson)
Assessing the Impact of Credit Unions on Their Communities: A Pre-Teset of Possible Indicators (Lou Hammond Ketilson, Jessica Gordon Nemhard, and Myrna Hewitt)
Measuring Member Engagement: Building a Model of Change? (Richard Simmons)
Deeper Measurement of Member Engagement: The Democracy Audit (Martin Strube)
Developing and Measuring the Effectiveness of Strategy: Loyalty, the Essence of Successful Co-operatives (Bob Yuill)
Leadership in Hegemony: Sustainability Reporting and Co-operatives (Yuill Herbert)
The Co-op Certification Process: Co-operatives of the Americas (Manuel Mariño)
The Co-operative Social Audit in Cooperativa Obrera (Mariano Glas)
Integrated Reporting for Co-operatives: A Case Study of Vancity Credit Union (Daphne Rixon and Louis Beaubien)
Sustainability Reporting: A Case Study of The Co-operators (Daphne Rixon and Louis Beaubien)
About the Authors