Ethics and employee ownership are still in style

Scott Bader is celebrating 100 years of existence, and 70 years of Employee Ownership in 2021.

Today, Scott Bader is a global chemical company. Back then, the company Scott Bader was the sole agent for a Swiss manufacturer of Celluloid and the founder, Ernest Bader, a Quaker, believed that ethical and moral action to improve the world was vital. Having looked for an alternative to the traditional business models, and seeking to ensure all employees could have a genuine say in the company, a radical decision was made. The Scott Bader Commonwealth, founded on Quaker Principles and starting 70 years of employee ownership to date, was formed in 1951.

Scott Bader was very important for us as it was a £5,000 donation from Scott Bader, matched by other donations, that helped launch Industrial Common Ownership Finance (ICOF). ICOF was set up to allow a revolving loan fund for workers’ co-operatives. This was needed due to workers’ co-operatives commonly having trouble raising capital due to their democratic model not allowing for investment by outside shareholders and the insistence of personal guarantees from Co-op Directors. In 1976 ICOF received £250k for a revolving fund through the Industrial Common Ownership Act. The ICO Fund plc in 1987, and ICOF Community Capital in 1994 followed and ICOF later became Co-operative & Community Finance (CCF), the current trading name of the ICOF family of businesses we operate as today.

From that seed funding the CCF group has lent over £15M over the past 44 years and through its management of standalone funds including the Co-op Loan Fund has lent over £25M to hundreds of employee owned businesses, worker co-ops and community businesses of all shapes sizes and sectors. So thank-you to the Scott Bader company for the role you played and we wish you every success for the next 70 years of employee ownership.