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The Young Foundation has published a research report on the MONDRAGON Corporation, the largest industrial Co-operative in the world. The report explores it as a social innovation ecosystem, a highly successful and competitive way of transforming people’s lives for the better through shared ownership.
MONDRAGON is a large global business owned by its workers delivering economic and social equality by combining success in the marketplace with social benefit. The researchers found that MONDRAGON, with annual revenues of over €12 billion (equivalent to those of Kellogg’s and Visa), doesn’t just have social values as a nice-to-have, like many corporate social responsibility or shared value models. Instead, social values are embedded in its core working practices and drive it forward. This is epitomised by salary ratios between the lowest and highest paid workers of 1:9 (compared to 1:160 for a FTSE 100 company), training and participation opportunities for workers, the redistribution of wealth and democratic processes which enable every worker to vote on key principles. The research uncovered a thriving ecosystem which has highly important implications for the development of an inclusive UK economy, and demonstrates how businesses can be both competitive in the marketplace and generate social value at large scale.
The research report looks at different elements of the way MONDRAGON works to understand what keeps driving it forward and what could be learnt from its model. What keeps it consistent in the face of changing contexts and challenges? Why do people commit to its practices and what drives it forward and sustains it?