This document has been made available in electronic format
by the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA)
July, 1997
(Source: ICA Review, Vol.90 No.2 - Annual Report 1996-1997, pp.56-58)

Report by Steinar Sivertsen/Ole Dueholm

Executive Committee
Chairman: 	Steinar Sivertsen (Norway)
Vice-Chairmen: 	John B. Owen (UK); Vincenzo Tassinari (Italy)
Executive Officer: 	Ole Dueholm

Members: 	Silvester Adamca (Slovakia); Lars Hillbom (Sweden); Laszlo Muranyi (Hungary); Aarno Mantynen (Finland); Akira Uchitate (Japan); Mordechai Weisbrod (Israel).

Inter-Coop is an association of co-operative federal organisations 
in East and West Europe, Israel and Japan. As of April 1997, 
10 co-op central organisations from nine countries are members of 

Together with their 2,200 affiliated co-operative retail societies, 
the retail organisations of Inter-Coop members make up an economic 
force as a trading group which exerts a significant influence on 
national and international markets. In 1995, members of Inter-Coop 
recorded retail sales exceeding 56 billion ECU in more than 22,000 
retail outlets.

Exchange of Know-How and Information
The aim of Inter-Coop is to promote the exchange of know-how and 
information between its member organisations, especially on subjects 
related to retail trade.

The exchange of know-how and information takes place in a number of 
working groups, of which some are permanent, while others are set up 
on an ad hoc basis to deal with specific issues. In addition, Inter-Coop 
co-ordinates an education programme for senior managers from member 
organisations and issues two information letters "Inter-Coop 
Information" and "Inter-Coop Newsletter"

Permanent Working Groups
Two permanent working groups are directly retail-related, viz. the 
Discount Stores Group and the Co-op Retailers' Group, the latter 
dealing with issues in store types other than discount stores, 
i.e. supermarkets, superstores, and hypermarkets. The Co-op Retailers' 
Group is a new group formed in 1996 on the basis of two former 
working groups for "supermarkets" and "hypermarkets and superstores".

Another permanent working group for Logistics is made up of logistics 
managers from a number of Inter-Coop member organisations. Following the 
issue of a comprehensive document "Goods Movement In Supply Chain 
Management", which describes an ideal model for goods movement, the 
Group is now exchanging know-how and considering collaboration 
possibilities with regard to computer assisted ordering systems.

A permanent working group for Green Issues & Ethics was established 
in 1996 at the initiative of the Inter-Coop Board to facilitate 
discussions among member organisations in which retailers can and 
do respond to consumer behaviour related to environment protection 
and ethical questions.

The working group "Food Laboratories" no longer functions within 
the framework of Inter-Coop as such, but the Inter-Coop Secretariat 
continues to provide administrative support for what is now a voluntary network
for laboratory and quality assurance managers.

Ad Hoc Working Groups
Ad hoc working groups are established from time to time to deal with
 topics, that are not related to a specific store type. Thus, in 1994 an ad 
hoc meeting dealt with "Environment Protection Efforts" on the part 
of Inter-Coop members. This meeting resulted in the establishment of 
the permanent working group for green issues and ethics mentioned above.

In 1995 a working group discussed "Security Issues" with particular 
emphasis on electronic alarm systems. This meeting resulted in a 
requirement specification for alarm systems and tags, which Inter-Coop 
has submitted to the European authorities with the suggestion that 
alarm system requirements should be harmonised in the interest of 
both retailers and consumers.

Strategic Issues In Co-op Retailing
This is the title of the Inter-Coop education programme for senior 
managers. It is a series of seminars and cases studies in three
modules and three different countries which takes delegates through
a number of cases and disciplines relating to retailing, logistics,
strategic planning and marketing.

The education programme has featured in Inter-Coop's work programme
each year since 1993 and continues to be successful.