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.
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.
There are a number of roles that businesses can contribute to
- 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
Co-operative groups can receive funding through the Scottish Rural Development
Programme and LEADER.