The body has a say in the running of the group and its food stores, funeral homes, legal services and insurance businesses.
Members’ Council leaders have also said that they are especially interested in applications this year from members within under-represented societal groups this year, including those from ethnic minorities, candidates with disabilities and those from the LGBTQ+ community.
Across the UK, there are 24 vacancies on the council, which works closely with the board and senior managers to ensure the voice of all 4.23 million active members is heard throughout the group.
Louise Walker, from the council’s diversity working group, is encouraging applications from those who will ensure the council better reflects the diversity of Co-op’s members overall.
She said: “As a co-operative, we welcome applications from all eligible members and I can’t stress that enough. In 2021, we proudly elected our first black female president and are working especially hard to be more inclusive and build a Council which will find new ways to support all members, especially those who may feel marginalised or discriminated against in society.
“I’m really excited that these elections could bring critical new ideas and perspectives to what we do.”
Council representatives can serve a term between one and three years and its 100 members come from all walks of life and include ordinary members, staff members and members from independent co-operative societies.
The council continues to encourage all members to participate in governance, while educating, informing and planning how to champion Co-op’s ‘Co-operating for a Fairer World’ vision. It was also one of the key enablers behind the ‘Safer Colleagues, Safer Communities’ campaign, to lobby for a change in legislation on safeguarding shopworkers.
To qualify, members need to have joined before January 2019 and have earned 500 membership points between January 3, 2021 and January 1, 2022. Candidates can find more information at www.co-operative.coop/councilelection and must apply by midday on February 25.