Teach co-op society model in schools

Cooperatives such as those run by NTUC have shown that it is possible to run sustainable enterprises while doing social good.
Cooperatives such as those run by NTUC have shown that it is possible to run sustainable enterprises while doing social good.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

I had a pleasant experience at a newly opened coffee shop in Sembawang. In addition to having a nice breakfast, several other details stood out to me.

First, it had a dedicated charging point, which is not typical of a neighbourhood coffee shop.

Second, there were discounts offered for opting for healthier options, such as less sugar.

Third, the prices were about 30 per cent lower than other coffee shops nearby, yet I could find no compromise on quality or quantity.

Fourth, the employees are Singaporeans, which is heart-warming given the prickly debate on the hiring of foreign workers over Singaporeans.

I found out that this coffee shop is managed by NTUC Foodfare and run under a cooperative model, and would like to commend them on doing a good job.

The world does not become a better place when businesses are driven solely by profit at the expense of social good.

Cooperatives such as those run by NTUC have shown that it is possible to run sustainable enterprises while doing social good.

Perhaps this is the way forward for businesses in the future, and a good place to start would be to teach students the concept of cooperative societies in public schools.

David Lee

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 12, 2019, with the headline 'Teach co-op society model in schools'. Print Edition | Subscribe