Co-operativesUK Co-operative, Environmental and Social Performance Indicators (CESPIs)
In January 2001, the Co-operative Commission identified co-operative and social performance as being key contributors to the future success of the Co-operative sector. Its virtuous circle model reminded the movement that co-operative enterprises are in business to fulfil their co-operative purpose; by achieving commercial success they are able to invest in their co-operative and social goals, creating a co-operative advantage. Co-operative, Environmental and Social Performance Indicators (CESPIs) were developed by Co-operativesUK (and updated in 2005) to help co-operatives determine how they are living their co-operative principles and delivering on their social purpose.
A basket of mostly quantitative indicators intended to capture the co-operative, environmental and social performance of a co-operative, based on the core values and principles of co-operation.
Organisations can use the ten indicators one at a time in any order. These ten indicators are:
The indicators are provided to co-operatives for self-assessment and they are asked to report their findings back to Co-operativesUK. There is no brand or mark associated with the indicators.
The indicators are aimed primarily at co-operatives, but any organisation that aspires to co-operative values and principles may find them useful. They are intended for use by all sizes of organisations, although they may require further development and refinement to achieve this degree of universality.
CESPIs can be used by anyone within the organisation who has access to the records and information needed for the particular indicator. It is recommended that the organisation make a commitment to using the indicators to inform ongoing management decisions and improvement, in order to make the process of measuring them most useful.
Proficiencies or skills
No specific skills or proficiencies are required. The indicators come with guidance on how each is measured.
Staff time to implement the use of the indicators should be at the lower end of all of the tools. This has been confirmed by the experience of implementation.
Courses, support, and information
The CESPI guidance document is free to download from the Co-operativesUK website. While outside consultants are not considered necessary, some co-operatives may choose to use them. Co-operatives are using the indicators to report to Co-operativesUK and their members annually.
The indicators were developed by Co-operativesUK with the help of the National Centre for Business & Sustainability. Co-operativesUK is happy for them to be used freely as long as the source is acknowledged.1
Demonstrating Co-operative Difference (guidance document)
“Our members will be able to hold us to account for our stewardship of their business and the fulfilment of its social and cooperative purpose.
They will have the satisfaction of associating with an organisation with demonstrable values and principles.”
— Lincolnshire Co-operative