Whilst many corporate businesses have added a ‘social responsibility’ box to their corporate requirements over the last few years, Chelmsford Star Co-op has upheld a strong set of co-op ‘values and principles’ ever since we were set up in 1867. Being good people is simply in our DNA.
These values and principles are our moral code, and they have ensured our Society’s decision-making has always remained ethical, in the best interest of our members, and right for the communities we live in.
We’ve always believed in the values of equality, honesty and openness, self-help and self-responsibility, democracy, solidarity and caring for others. Our founders wrote these terms into our policies right from the start. It’s what makes Chelmsford Star a ‘society’ rather than simply any other business.
For instance, our female members have always been able to vote in our elections, fifty years before the suffrage movement. We have a long record of equal pay, an even gender mix, and we were one of the first organisations in Essex to have a female president. Our annual dividend payout is based on everyone having an equal share in our business, and has always ensured members are rewarded based on their involvement, not on their background, demographic or circumstances.
From 19th century donations to infirmaries across Essex, and local support during coal shortages and cattle plagues, up to the assistance we now provide hundreds of community groups in the region, we’ve been helping good causes for over 150 years. We shouted about ‘Fairtrade’ before it officially existed, supported the LGBT+ community before it was considered to make ‘good business sense’ and have raised countless thousands of pounds of funds for charities across the region since the 1800s. We’ve calculated that 30p in every £1 spent in our shops is currently used to support the Essex economy in some way.
We do this because we chose to, and because Chelmsford Star Co-op was designed specifically for this reason.