New cooperatives emerging to meet today's needs

We are heartened to see an opinion piece on the cooperative movement here in Singapore ("Keeping cooperatives inclusive"; July 12).

NTUC FairPrice is indeed a successful representation of the growth and contribution of local cooperatives, having grown from humble beginnings into Singapore's largest retailer and one of the top 300 cooperatives globally.

It has shown how the cooperative business model, a unique form of social enterprise, can do well and do good.

Economically viable and anchored in their social mission, cooperatives can thrive and hold their own against private enterprises in a competitive marketplace.

The cooperative movement in Singapore has been serving the needs of Singaporeans for over 90 years and continues to stay relevant amid the evolving requirements in our society.

In recent years, with the growing trend of an ageing population and the need for an inclusive society, new cooperatives have emerged to address these concerns.

Some examples include healthcare-oriented cooperatives such as Silver Caregivers Cooperative and The Good Life Cooperative that provide products and support services for caregivers and quality healthcare for members respectively.

Beyond delivering social good, there are also corporate-originated cooperatives that serve the needs of employers and employees.

One example is Singapore Shell Employees' Union Cooperative, which encourages thrift by receiving deposits from its members and paying an attractive interest rate for these deposits.

At the same time, it also provides an alternative avenue for its members to obtain loans on reasonable terms instead of turning to other forms of loans from other potentially less attractive sources.

Separately, it also complements the human resource function by operating as an employment services agency that provides temporary and contract staff to Shell and other corporate clients.

Today, the Singapore National Cooperative Federation has 67 cooperative affiliates, which have grown to be integral social pillars that are touching lives across the Singapore society.

Dolly Goh (Ms)
Chief Executive Officer
Singapore National Cooperative Federation

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 21, 2016, with the headline 'New cooperatives emerging to meet today's needs'. Print Edition | Subscribe