SPICE Solar Power Investment Cooperative of Edmonton

Interest on principal from principled interests.

Today’s blog is about cooperatives. Granted sometimes one thing can lead to another. Just google cooperatives and you get hits on systems thinking, community development, social justice, meaningful jobs, and sustainable economic development. Even world peace. Despite the positive impact on economic and social development however, coops remain poorly understood.

SPICE board members are proudly working to help Albertans invest in a healthy future and so we chose the cooperative model with intention. Only one of our board members is actually an expert on cooperatives so to ensure best governance practices SPICE has invested in board training with Lynn Hannley of Communitas. Lynn is an expert with over 30 years of co-op experience. We have also benefited from the rich learning resources and hand holding provided by Alberta Community Cooperatives Association (ACCA) and Miller Thompsons’ fine lawyer Brian Kaliel who is also a passionate advocate of cooperatives and has been working in the area of cooperatives for his whole career starting with the farming industry.

My understanding of coops came from living in a community rich in housing cooperatives and witnessing co-op members collaborate to solve community-wide problems. Since training I have learned to appreciate the broader degree to which cooperatives are a growing part of Alberta’s financial, social and environmental landscape. I now see cooperatives as powerful engines for solving complex problems and engaging in asset based community development. I hope you too will hear a train whistle and want to jump on board when reading the seven principles that cooperatives use to put their values into practice.
• Voluntary and Open Membership. … 
• Democratic Member Control. … 
• Member Economic Participation. … 
• Autonomy and Independence. … 
• Education, Training and Information. … 
• Cooperation among Co-operatives. … 
• Concern for Community.

Coops in Alberta started with discontented farmers who turned to co-operative marketing and purchasing to form the United Farmers of Alberta. Now co-ops have evolved into a political economic powerhouses that do business across all sectors. An oft quoted fact is that Cooperatives worldwide employ 20 percent more and Multi-national Corporations in direct jobs alone. Alberta is a stronghold for cooperatives with the most utility and seed cleaning coops in Canada. And did you know that cooperative banks like Servus Credit Union are shown to be more stable than commercial and savings banks?

It is interesting to note that Alberta’s gas cooperatives and their umbrella group, Alberta Community Cooperative Association, started asking whether their skills and learnings might translate to the formation of alternative renewable energy coops over 10 years ago? The Solar Power Investment Cooperative of Edmonton (SPICE) was inevitable. Spice is now proud to be joining the ranks of other Alberta cooperatives to help grow jobs and unleash local capital for investment in Alberta’s renewable energy future. Spice aligns with Alberta’s hopes a just transition and becoming both ecologically and financially sustainable.

SPICE is a solar investment cooperative seeking prosperity over profits and productivity centered around people and their communities. We are a democratic form of economic organization that work towards multiple social goals. Membership in SPICE is inclusive and set up to serve all Albertans by design. According to research on cooperatives, SPICE is sure to live long and prosper. A report by the BC-Alberta Social Economy Research Alliance found that the three-year survival rate of cooperatives in Alberta to be 81.5% in comparison to 48% for traditional firms. Wish us luck and come back often to follow our progress. Remember Spice as helping to bring you Interest on principal from principled interests. We are all about people, planet, prosperity and of course, photons.

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