While Britain struggles with sky-high bills, and private water, electricity and oil companies make record profits, Finland relies on a unique system of economic shock absorbers. Cooperatives deliver everything from water and electricity to luxury hotel breaks. They started in the late 1800s and there are more cooperative memberships today than Finns – or saunas. How does it work? Lesley Riddoch’s been to Finland to find out.
NB The picture shows the wooden wash-handbasins and baths that feature in the Solo Sokos Hotel in Lahti. It may be part of the huge S-Group cooperative with more than 3 million members but is still a uniquely local operation.
With thanks to Risto Turanen, Kari Huhtala, VisitFinland, Finnair and Sokos Hotels.