Coop survey in Finland: awareness of cooperatives has improved

Understanding of what cooperation is and what cooperatives are has clearly become more widespread in recent years. It is primarily due to the improved communication of cooperative businesses themselves, not school education. Still, the vast majority (64%) of the Finnish population say they are fairly poorly or not at all familiar with cooperation.

Only one in three Finns feel that they know the coop business model well - although 15 years ago the number was only one in ten. The general attitude towards cooperative businesses is nonetheless positive and only very few (3%) say they have a fairly or very negative attitude towards cooperatives. This is clear from the Cooperative Survey conducted by Kantar TNS Agri and commissioned by Pellervo Coop Center. Similar studies have been conducted in 2017 and 2007.

Cooperatives are a form of enterprise in which ownership is evenly distributed and the aim of which is to provide long-term benefits to its members, for example as consumers, insurance holders, in banking matters, as agricultural producers, or as professionals. Water cooperatives and telecommunications cooperatives are also common in Finland.

In this latest Cooperative Survey, Finns name companies as their most important source of information on cooperatives, school education played that role five years ago. Age does not make a big difference - young women (18-34 years old) say a little more often that they don't know much or anything at all about the cooperative business model, but on the other hand, young men say they know the business model more often than other age groups.

Attitude towards cooperation is positive

More than half of Finns (58%) have a rather or very positive attitude towards cooperatives. Young men (8%) have the most negative attitudes towards these companies, while women under the age of 60 have virtually no negative attitudes, not even the younger ones.

Educational background plays a very big role in the attitude towards cooperation. Although the basic idea of cooperatives is to create economic power, especially for those who otherwise have little, it is the well-educated that have by far the most positive attitude towards the business model. Three out of four with university degrees are positive, but less than half of respondents with primary, secondary or vocational education have positive attitudes towards cooperatives.

People living in Northern and Eastern Finland have the most positive attitude (65% positive, negative only 1%), followed by the Helsinki Metropolitan Area (62% positive, negative 3%).

Cooperatives are becoming more distinct from limited companies

The study also examined the differences in perceptions between limited companies and cooperatives. According to Finns, the following features in particular are associated with cooperative enterprises: developing the area where the company is located, caring for people, Finnish ownership and collaboration.

Of these, there was a clear increase in perception from the survey five years ago, especially in terms of caring for people (74% think it is suitable for coops, in 2017 67%) and regional development (66% in 2022, previously 56%). Being competitive, a forerunner or innovative are attributes that are least attached to cooperatives, especially in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area.

According to the survey, cooperatives are becoming more and more distinct from limited companies. Now 29 per cent think that they are clearly different, in 2017 the number was 22 per cent. Those who think there is no difference is 19 per cent, in 2017 this figure was 29 per cent.

When comparing more of the different features between member-owned and investor-owned companies, co-operative companies are clearly perceived more strongly than limited companies with environmental responsibility and domestic investment.


How the survey was conducted

Data collection

- The Kantar Gallup Forum is an online-assisted panel. The panel consists of about 30,000 Finns, who represent the Finnish population aged 15-79. Respondents respond to the survey forms via the Internet on their own computers, tablet, or smartphone.
- A sample of GallupForum representing the population aged 18-79 has enough respondents to represent the Finnish population by subregion, age and sex.
- Survey time: 22. February - 4. March 2022
- N = 1027

Survey form and method

- The content of the form was designed in collaboration with Kantar TNS Agri and Pellervo.
- The form length (average response time) to the questionnaire was 12 minutes
- The language of the form was Finnish

Results and reporting

- The results represent the opinion of the Finnish population aged 18-79 by age, gender and area of residence.
- The margin of error in the study is + -3 percent.
- Open answers were coded and appended to the data.
- Data were weighted and cross-tabulated with the desired background variables

Data collection and processing was carried out in accordance with the ISO 20252: 2019 standard

Link to the Cooperative Survey (in Finnish).

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