Transforming into a multi-stakeholder cooperative

Danielsjohan, moving towards a multi-stakeholder cooperative (ideally with open bookkeeping, open supply chain and open source manufacturing) can certainly happen in the “current economic situation”. I don’t see how being a “normal company” would make FP more likely to influence other players in the market. If anything, succeeding as a different type of corporation would show that it is possible to produce a great product and meet a demand in the free market without profit as the primary objective. Again, we are talking about making this happen in “the real world”, not in an imaginary utopia.

I would strongly support Fairphone adopting a co-operative structure, whether worker co-op, consumer co-op or stakeholder co-op. Fairness is not only about decent pay and conditions, it is fundamentally about the allocation of power. In addition, being a co-op would draw immediate increased support from the international co-operative movement (guess what? co-ops tend to co-operate with each other!). There is a massive identity of interest between Fairphone and co-ops, just as there is between Fairphone and the Free Software movement, as they are all concerned with fairness, and openness. This can be seen, for instance, from the fact that the biggest purchaser of Fairphones in UK is The Phone Co-op.

Hmmnm, so B-Corp might not be a very strong step - albeit one in the right direction, and the only option out there. I’m sure that FP will continue to publish their scores annually, and that they will seek to show improvement over time.

But the point about governance is well made.

In 2013, an Israeli company called Waze sold itself to google for a little less than $1bn. It developed a platform that allowed its users to build a map for it - by driving around. They built a navigation app without having to buy a map, and in order to do it, they built a friendly tool that worked round community, around sharing of information. And then they sold that community to google.

Once again, I have complete faith in the current FP team, that they would never do this. But I would like to know whether there is anything in place to secure against ‘drift’ - that makes it impossible for something like this ever to happen.

Anyone know more about the details of the legal incorporation? Who owns FP? Who has voting rights? Are consultation mechanisms are enshrined in the founding documents, or just undertaken out of goodwill? Are there any ethical principles that have been given legal status by the form of incorporation?

All of these would be interesting to understand in the context of this discussion.


6 posts were split to a new topic: Is the Fairphone a social phone?