Jen BudneyJen Budney

Great comments, everyone. You have addressed the legitimacy of co-ops on two levels – the legitimacy as viewed by individual members for their local co-op, and the legitimacy of the second-tier as viewed by member co-ops. I do want to point out that the number of individual members is not always a good indicator of legitimacy or success in grocery co-ops – as James points out, members don’t typically find it too hard to shop elsewhere if they think they can get better prices or service at another place. So for the individual retail co-ops, they need to know what they are offering that is different and that members value (what is their co-operative difference?), as Jim discusses, and then make sure they consistently deliver on that difference. For the second-tier co-ops, legitimacy is arguably more complex, at least most of the time. My question for you is: how can a board or management of either a first- or second-tier co-op assess its legitimacy in the eyes of members? What processes should it use, what measures, etc.? Are they different depending on the type of co-op?


“I thoroughly enjoyed the Good Governance Matters course offered by Co-operatives First. The course provided a solid background on governance generally and specific examples of good governance practices in co-operatives. It is uncommon to find governance training specific to co-operatives so this was refreshing.”

Janet Taylor (Corporate Secretary)

Libro Credit Union

“The Good Governance Matters Course was a valuable course. I shared it with the [Arctic Co-operatives Limited] Senior Leadership Team. If it ever comes up again, I highly recommend others to take it.”

Mary Nirlungayuk (Corporate Secretary and Vice-President, Corporate Services)

Arctic Co-operatives Limited

“The online course, Good Governance Matters was very informative, easy to navigate and discussed issues relevant to our needs as a Board of Directors. This course is a great tool for boards to build their knowledge to become strong, strategic boards.”

Lori Sanders (President)

Sherwood Co-op

“This course has greatly increased my understanding of what good governance could/should look like and how each part (boards, management, members) plays a vital role in the co-operative’s success.”


“This course was highly enjoyable, and relevant to working in not only the co-op space, but with any group that needs to make decisions.”