Co-op sets out radical reforms


%VIRTUAL-SkimlinksPromo%The Co-op has set out plans to complete a radical reform programme culminating in detailed proposals being put to a membership vote this September.

It could mean a shake-up in the running of the embattled food-to-funerals group being in place by this autumn.
But the Co-op is likely to face a stiffer test than the recent poll that gave unanimous support in principle for the reforms.

This time, delegates will have to agree on detailed plans on rule changes which must be supported by two-thirds - whereas the previous vote required only a simple majority to be passed.

Reforms have been drawn up by Lord Myners in the wake of a crisis at the food-to-funerals group that saw it slump to a £2.5 billion loss last year, the worst in its 150-year history - as it was dragged down by the near-collapse of its banking arm.

The former City minister has warned that it faces a bleak future unless it takes steps to replace its current "dysfunctional" board structure.

A meeting in Manchester last month gave backing to a four-part resolution, based on his report, which called for reforms including the establishment of a professionally-qualified board and the principle of "one member, one vote" for its millions of members.

Tonight, the group set out a timetable for completing the changes which will see consultation with its area committees, regional boards and independent societies taking place until the end of July.

It said: "The group plans to issue draft society rules mid-August for approval at a special general meeting to be held in early September."

The Co-op said it was expected the new rules would take effect "as soon as possible after approval".

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Co-op sets out radical reforms

Not many companies have films made about them. But the story of social networking site Facebook attracted enough attention to interest Hollywood, resulting in the 2010 film The Social Network. The interest was not just due to the immense popularity of the Facebook website, which was created in its earliest form by Harvard University student Mark Zuckerburg in 2004, though. It was also a result of the legal wrangling between Zuckerburg and fellow Harvard students Divya Narendra and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who founded the social networking site ConnectU and accused Zuckerberg - who worked for them before creating Facebook - of copying their ideas and coding. In something of a damp squib ending, however, the case was dismissed due to a technicality in March 2007 without a ruling being made.

Most of the companies on this list are household names. However, comparatively few people have heard of Olam International, despite it being one of the world's largest agricultural commodity companies.

In fact, it produces enough cotton to keep everyone in the world in socks (three pairs per person, per year).

Fans of chocolate bars such as Mars are also sure to have consumed chocolate made from beans handled by Olam - they just don't realise it.

Headquartered in Singapore, Olam was founded in 1989. It now purchases ingredients such as coffee and cocoa from around 3.5 million smallholder famers based in emerging markets around the world. This enables it to work with communities in rural Africa and Asia on everything from productivity to environmental impact, resulting in a potentially huge impact on some of the world's poorest people.

Love them or hate them, Starbucks coffee shops are everywhere nowadays. Hardly surprising when you consider that the company has opened an average of two stores a day since 1987 (despite having to close some locations down too).
However, back in 1971 there was just one Starbucks coffee shop, in Seattle, Washington.
Named after Starbuck, the first mate on the whaling ship in the novel Moby Dick, the shop originally sold roasted coffee, but did not brew coffee to sell.
Now, though, you can get everything from a blueberry muffin to a mocha frappuccino from your local Starbucks store.

According to the company the white ribbon was introduced under the name in 1969. When competitors first entered the market, Coke made much of its curved bottle design which distinguished it from those that followed. As fewer and fewer people drank from bottles, the ribbon was produced as an alternative distinctive curve.

According to mokokoma, the apple is the fruit of the tree of knowledge. There is some question as to whether the bite taken out of it is a play on the word byte, symbolism of the fruit being eaten and the knowledge imparted, or just to make it look more like an apple and less like a cherry tomato.


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