At Suma, there is equal pay, no hierarchy and workers are encouraged to multi-skill, meaning that one person could work as a cook, driver and in finance, all in the same week. This concept is unusual to most people and raises questions about how such a successful business can work with this structure.
Lucy and Beau, two members of Suma's worker cooperative, will talk you through the company's unique philosophy.
About the speakers
Beaujolais Bulman and Lucy Courtney-Clegg, Suma Wholefoods
Suma is a wholefood wholesaler founded in 1977 by a liberally-minded group of people who believed there was a better way, and actively set out to create it. We deliver over 7000 vegetarian, natural, responsibly sourced products to businesses and communities across the UK and internationally.
The way Suma is run is fairly unique; we are a co-operative of ordinary people built on integrity and equality, we’re a worker co-op, a business owned and run by the nearly 200 people who work here. We don’t have any bosses or shareholders. We, Suma’s employees, set the direction of the business. Everyone has an equal say in what we do. We all get paid the same wage, take responsibility and each do a range of jobs each week, from truck driving to cooking to accounts.