ETHIC Cooperative – Membership:
At ETHIC Cooperative, we focus on building an organization that has much more than just a “loyalty” relationship with its customers: instead, we invite travelers to become part owners of our business – to contribute a reasonable, one-time, lifetime membership fee in exchange for an ownership stake in the growth of the cooperative.
Once you are a member, you are part of the ETHIC family, and our success is your success: you receive discounts on all overnight bookings; meal prices (at your local ETHIC or on the road); fitness or co-working access while you are home; and discounts with mission-aligned partners for travel, adventures, or other local experiences.
You will be engaged as much (or as little) as you’d like, to provide feedback on your needs + preferences, how well each experience you share with ETHIC goes (good, unique, or, occasionally, bad) + what you’d like us to work on next (locations, items, products, etc)!
And you’ll also be automatically signed up for a variety of giveaways and eligible for numerous other opportunities to receive free trips, access to special events, and more.
Ok, But, What Is A Cooperative, Anyway?
The International Cooperative Alliance defines a cooperative as:
“an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly-owned and democratically-controlled enterprise.”
At ETHIC, we like to keep the meaning of words straightforward – for us, a cooperative literally means:
Noun: “a farm, business, or other organization that is owned and run jointly by its members, who share the profits or benefits.”
Adjective: “involving mutual assistance in working toward a common goal: every member has clearly defined tasks in a cooperative enterprise.”
ETHIC may not own any farms (at least not yet), but we are a business + organization owned + jointly run by its members, across three levels: 1) Director Owners; 2) Worker Owners; + 3) Member Owners.
Each of these ownership groups share in the success of the business through dividends, lower prices, and higher value through additional amenities, perks, and rewards (re: Directors, think rewards like “Reached 1 million member signups” or “Achieved profitability within year one at all new locations”).
Ok, So, Why A Cooperative – not just a friendly business?
Well, we are a friendly business… but we also believe that any successful business, and definitely one that wants to have a broadly positive impact on the planet, depends on the cooperation of it’s various stakeholders (as opposed to shareholders), where everyone is incentivized toward achieving common missions + overcoming obstacles: staff, partners + suppliers, members, each local community, plus, of course, the environment!
We believe it also makes perfect sense to divide our ownership between those major stakeholder, modeling ourselves as a hybrid cooperative to allow each stakeholder group to share a direct relationship to the success of the business, creating common purpose.
Therefore, we have also structured ourselves as a cooperative federation, which basically means that ETHIC Cooperative itself is made up of many smaller cooperatives. Think of it like little like a living organism: each individual sub-organization (cell) aims to exist as a profitable (healthy) enterprise on its own, while simultaneously supporting the success of the overall overall organism through efficiency + opportunities + scale.
Interesting – But Should I Really Care? What Makes You Different?
You don’t have to care – sometimes it’s just good economics, right? If you stay with us for more than 3 or 4 nights per year, you’d save the cost of membership in those room fees alone! Not to mention all the other benefits + the fact you get money at the end of the year to help you travel even more in the future!
But really, all that aside, are you familiar with REI? That company that decided to close up shop and “Opt Outside” last Black Friday, rather than offer sales, and it seemed like the whole USA freaked out?
Yeah – we think they are pretty awesome too! – in fact, the REI Co-op is one of ETHIC’s greatest inspirations (also shoutout to Patagonia) and the cooperative is working out great for them (and us, because we’re obviously members over there too).
Still, you don’t have to care – we get it, sometimes other things really are more important than what kind of world we leave for the next generation, our children and theirs – but some of us think that kind of thing should always matter.
We are building ETHIC for those people -the folks who agree every child on the planet should have clean water, bathrooms, clothes, food, and a roof over their heads, not to mention education, internet, . . . and the ability and freedom to travel, because: