Report of the Inter-Coop Committee (1995/96)

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    This document has been made available in electronic format
         by the International Co-operative Alliance ICA 
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                         October, 1996

     (Source: Review of International Co-operation,
     Vol.89, No.3/1996 (Annual Report 1995/96), p.67-69)
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                         Report of the
                     Inter-Coop Committee
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Executive Committee
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Chairman:           Steinar Sivertsen (Norway)

Vice-Chairmen:      John B. Owen (UK); Vincenzo Tassinari
(Italy)

Executive Officer:  Ole Dueholm

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

Membership
-----------
Inter-Coop is an association of co-operative federal
organisations in East and West Europe, Israel and Japan. As of
August 1996, 12 co-op central organisations from 11 countries
are members of Inter-Coop.

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 on the
way in which retailers may 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, which are not related to a specific store
type. Thus, in 1994 an ad hoc meeting treated `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 is the title of the
Inter-Coop education programme for senior managers. It is a
series of seminars and cases 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.

Inter-Coop Structure
--------------------
1995 was the first full year of Inter-Coop operations under
its new structure, i.e. formally independent of N.A.F.
international and Intergroup, which are responsible for the
international co-ordination of food and non-food purchases
respectively.

The practical collaboration, i.e. the sharing of office space
and facilities with the two organisations mentioned continues
to function well.