Karma Co-op Product Policy
Members of Karma Co-operative wish to purchase good products at fair prices, while supporting suppliers whose presence and practices benefit the community. We believe that decisions about food are not only matters of cost, taste, and nutrition: food production and distribution also have major impacts on the environment, on social, political and economic systems, on labour, and on animal welfare. While we would like to make positive choices in all of these areas with every product that we stock and buy, we recognize the need to feed ourselves in an imperfect world.
While all members of the community are welcome to join us, we recognize that a store owned and controlled by its members will be of special interest to people who are politically active on issues such as poverty and social justice, who have special dietary needs, who wish to reduce their negative impact on the environment through practices such as vegetarianism, or who wish to save money through an active participation in the co-operative. Our shared core values about how food and other products should be produced, distributed, and marketed reflect these core communities of our membership.
This policy expresses those enduring values and outlines a general framework for putting them into practice. Complementing this policy is an Implementation Guide, in which the Board of Directors and the Managers have developed specific procedures and practices to ensure that the intent of the policy is implemented, especially as circumstances may change in the years after this policy was first adopted. Its guidelines describe how we conduct research, decide whether products meet our standards, and communicate the results to the larger membership. As circumstances change, the Board and the Managers may include additional considerations, not yet incorporated into this policy, into the Guide. However, any such changes will not become part of this policy, the members’ formal statement about product choice, until approved by the members at a General Meeting.
There are three major sections to this policy. We begin by stating our core values, identifying practices or institutions along this continuum: “strongly support” –> “support” –> “oppose” –> “strongly oppose” –> “condemn”. Next, in our selection and marketing of products, we discuss how we evaluate products based on our core values and what range of action we can take concerning those products. Finally, in our commitment to action, we outline important steps that complement the day-to-day decisions about specific products.