Business: the spring of SCOPs

Democracy in the company, a competitive asset? This is what the managers of SCOP and SCIC tell us, ways that seem to correspond to the spirit of the times, in a background of the search for meaning.

It is true that, with 71,084 jobs nationwide, the cooperative movement continues to be smaller in the business world, dominated by the more traditional forms of SAS, SARL… But it is no longer marginal, assures the president of the General Confederation of Scop , Jacques Landriot, who expects the barrier of 100,000 cooperative jobs to be crossed by 2026. The goal is not unrealistic: the number of jobs at Scop (cooperative enterprises) or SCIC (cooperative enterprises of collective interest; pronounced “sic”) has grown by 32% between 2017 and 2021; that is, 3,801 cooperatives (+27% in five years) for an accumulated turnover of 6.4 billion (+37%).

“Scop allows us to bring back democracy within the company”

Cyril Zorman, President of the General Confederation of Scop

co-constructing meaning

“This allows employees to get involved in a different way, to be interested in the results, but also to have a global vision, so they learn to make concessions, to come to terms with other currents of thought. This often leads to a stronger ecological commitment: by definition a Scop or SCIC is a project anchored in the territory. »

While the Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes region is more of a welcoming land, with 637 structures for 10,471 people (almost 17% of the total), Savoie Mont-Blanc seems to be further behind: 56 cooperative enterprises (23 in Haute-Savoie, 33 in Savoie ), including 13 Scics, for 1,012 jobs. “We have room for development in the Alps, agrees Cyril Zorman, president of the Scop and Scic Regional Union, but the idea is really gaining ground. The cooperative world, where each employee is associated with the management of the company, makes sense. »

The Scops lead their business life, sometimes for a long time (1952 for the oldest in the Pays de Savoie, the Clusienne Comehor). But it seems, therefore, that the pace of creations has accelerated in recent years – “both for creations ex nihilo and for transmissions-retrievals”, specifies Cyril Zorman – and that, in all areas. The last six creations concern two organic grocery stores (Le Comptoir de Chautagne, in Ruffieux, BioBauges, in Lescheraines), the reuse of skis (Skitec, in Alpespace), a driving school (Le Doron, in Moutiers), the publishing mobile applications and media education (Be My Media, in Aix-les-Bains), a communication agency (Mooxy, in Annecy).

The two grocery stores are associations turned into businesses. Two other companies are creations and the last two are transfers of companies, the cooperative form being able to facilitate the acquisition by the workers. How to explain this spring of Scop? “They allow democracy to be brought back to the heart of the company,” boasts Cyril Zorman. “This allows employees to get involved in a different way, to be interested in the results, but also to have a global vision, so they learn to make concessions, to come to terms with other currents of thought. This often leads to a stronger ecological commitment: by definition a Scop or SCIC is a project anchored in the territory. »

“Employees are involved”, confirms Kamel Mahiouz, manager of Fluids Agency (design office at Scop for over twenty years, 4 partners), in Cognin. “The profits are shared between everyone. There is a direct relationship between work and pay. Suddenly, when there is a “coup de bourne” to be given, everyone is there. »

69% of Scop and Scic creations in the last five years were ex nihilo creations. 16% were transfers of companies, 15% transformations of associations.

meeting syndrome

This way of involving employees in decisions may have caused some ridicule. “I was actually asked a few years ago if we met whenever we had to buy a pen,” smiles Cyril Zorman. “That kind of mockery is quite out of fashion. We meet a few times a year, yes, but to make strategic decisions together, which are then set to music by the manager. If they are good, everyone benefits. If they are bad, it is together that we correct the situation. »

Financial considerations are also important. “In a traditional structure, profit sharing paid to employees rarely exceeds 3% of profits. It’s easily 30% in Scop”, guarantees Cyril Zorman. This does not encumber equity, as an often equivalent share of profits goes to indivisible reserves. To these particularities are added new sensitivities. “The figure of the leader embodying the company on his own gives way to a more collaborative vision, to projects carried out by several partners or more open to the territory. If you want to develop short circuits, for example, you need to involve your local partners. »

It works? It looks like the model works, yes. The five-year cooperative sustainability rate increased by 7 points between the end of 2016 and the end of 2021.


Directed by Philippe Claret


Read our full file in the ECO magazine of May 13, 2022:

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