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How working co-operatively can help

Co-operative working can help businesses break into the wood fuel market by removing barriers (e.g. capital costs) and developing mutually beneficial business models.

Benefits

Wood fuel producers can benefit from working co-operatively in a number of ways:

  • Sharing costs: capital and running costs can be shared between co-operative members thus reducing the level of individual investment, for example: specialised equipment (e.g. chipper or delivery lorry); marketing and administration
  • Continuity of supply: this is crucial for the customer; working co-operatively, can help to ensure that there is always fuel available to meet demand even if a particular member may be unable to supply at a particular time.
  • Package of services: co-operative groups can also operate as an energy service company (ESCo), owning and running boilers for the sale of heat to third parties.

Roles

There are a number of roles that businesses can contribute to the co-operative:

  • Provision of storage facilities
  • Supplying of timber
  • Offering of contract services/machinery
  • Provision of advice and experience to the group
  • Promotion of the group
  • As customers to other co-operative members

Funding

Co-operative groups can receive funding through the Scottish Rural Development Programme and LEADER.

Join your local Woodfuel Forum for business leads and marketing support. They're a valuable opportunity to network with wood fuel users and suppliers. You'll get a wealth of local information about the sector. They are open to all and are free.