On March 15, 2012, Ted Howard, founder of the Cleveland, Ohio based Evergreen Cooperatives will be in London, UK as the keynote speaker to explain how cooperatives can provide locally made products, boost local employment and promote sustainability among local businesses.
The event is based around a study of the Evergreen Cooperatives initiative, with the aim of replicating the same model in the United Kingdom.
Evergreen promotes an innovative model of job creation, wealth building, and sustainability by creating cooperatives to provide goods and services to hospitals and universities.
What makes it such a success is that Evergreen has plenty of institutional support, since it is a partnership between six of Cleveland’s neighborhoods, the Cleveland Foundation, the City of Cleveland, Case Western Reserve University, the Cleveland Clinic, and University Hospitals, among others.
Put simply, the city is setting up cooperatives under Evergreen to handle all of its product and service requirements, thus keeping jobs in Cleveland that would otherwise have been widely dispersed. There are currently three companies under the Evergreen umbrella that are employee-owned and for-profit organizations which hire locally.
One is the Evergreen Cooperative Laundry, which is an LEED certified commercial laundry. They are not only boosting local employment and wealth creation, but also promoting environmental sustainability on behalf of their clients, whose carbon footprints are reduced because of the green practices implemented by the laundry.
The second one is the Ohio Cooperative Solar (OCS) which installs solar panel arrays and retrofits residential and commercial buildings to make them more energy efficient. Again, the company is owned by its employees and they help their clients conserve energy and obtain federal and state tax credits available for these projects.
The last one is the Green City Growers Cooperative, which promotes “industrial farming” via a hydroponic food production greenhouse to create more green jobs and local food in Cleveland.
At the event in London, Ted Howard will talk about his experience of setting up Evergreen, answer questions and help guide discussion. The event is free.
What: Learning from the Evergreen Co-ops model
When: 15th March; 7-9 pm
Where: Hub Westminster, London, UK
Find out more about the event at cles.org.uk.