Research published in January by the Wales Co-operative Centre showed co-operatives in Wales generate an income of over pounds 1billion a year and offer a tried and tested way of developing a more sustainable economy, whilst tackling unemployment and inequality.
Housing co-operatives have deep historical roots and a record of achievement in developing locally-controlled housing, communities that care for each other, and old-fashioned neighbourliness, which have been replicated around the world.
The two co-op boards have also announced that the new society's enlarged Trading Group would be headed by Peter Marks, currently chief executive of United Co-operatives, with David Anderson continuing as chief executive of Co-operative Financial Services, the Group's financial arm which embraces the Co-operative Bank and Co-operative Insurance.
The National Association of Hungarian Farmers' Societies and Co-operatives (MAGOSZ) and the Lithuanian Association of Agricultural Companies (LZUBA) joined both the farming group COPA and the co-operatives' organisation COGECA.
The Co-operative Advantage is a radical, even challenging report, combining penetrating analysis of co-operatives' financial performance with a critique of its social role, and its authors are clearly anxious about how the movement will receive it.