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Project Support - 1 & 4% Funds

Unicorn differs from many conventional businesses in that we are based on a clearly defined set of values, laid out in our 'Principles of Purpose'. Although we are clearly a commercial operation, we see ethics as intrinsic to the way we run our business and these Principles inform everything we do. An important part of these is our commitment to contribute a sum equal to 5% (presently over £70,000 annually) of our total wage bill to projects, both local and international, that correspond with our own ideals, aims and objectives.

We choose to base the fund on our wage bill rather than our profits because ‘profit’ can be interpreted so variably and using many different standards – so this seems like a clearer and more transparent way of defining what we give. It also better reflects our growth as a business and means if and when co-op staff get better off (when wages increase above inflation), so do the projects we support.

The total is split into two separate parts, the 1% and 4% funds, which are distinct in their purposes.

The 1% fund is designed to support 'projects which share our vision of community and society in the United Kingdom', a wide definition which encompasses all sorts of things from, sustainable food  initiatives, co-operative ventures, projects supporting refugees and asylum seekers, and community growing schemes.

The 4% fund has an international focus, and aims to support projects addressing the impacts of unfair world trade & regulations, poverty, and unsustainable agriculture. We are mostly involved with grassroots and small to medium-scale organisations that are working towards creating and promoting sustainable livelihoods for people in the global south, and increasingly, we are developing long-term links with these projects.

  Some of the projects we support

4% - Soil for Life - Established in 2002, Soil for Life assists Township communities in South Africa to overcome hunger and poverty through the establishment of food gardens. 

4% - NEED Burma - Burma’s Network for Environment and Economic Development works with people across all ethnic groups to build a stronger civil society that empowers rural communities to develop sustainable futures.

4% - CELUCT - have been working for over 20 years to create sustainable, agro-ecological farming practices to tackle food insecurity in Zimbabwe.

1% - Middlewood Trust - The Middlewood Trust is based in Lancashire and was set up 30 years ago to provide education and research into sustainable living and food production, low impact lifestyles and ecosystems.

1% - St. John's Sunshine - is a community co-operative in Old Trafford which generates solar energy for a community centre and uses the revenue to benefit local people.

View some of the other projects we've supported

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