In Yeokgok, Dure-coop (두레생협), short for Consumer Cooperatives(소비자생활협동조합) moved to a larger facility and celebrated this new extension on April 19, 2019. This extension was possible with support from members of an association of consumers since 2012, when it was established. The Dure-coop of Yeokgok is located near the Catholic University of Korea (CUK). Moreover, it is unique in that it pursues social values, in contrast to the many convenience stores and supermarkets around CUK. Catholic university forum (CUF) met and interviewed Han Myoung-Yi, manager of Bucheon Dure-coop organization at the Dure-coop Yeokgok on May 2019. She told the story about the products of Dure-coop and showed its advantages and reasonable prices.
Q. Please introduce the Dure-coop
A. Dure-coop was established by six primary cooperatives in 1996. As a non-profit corporation, it is divided between the needs of each region and supplies products for consumer’ needs and demands through 115 outlets around Korea as well as an online store. Gyeonggi Dure-coop containing Yeokgok has pursued “Eco-friendly”, “Animal welfare”, “Social Enterprise”, “Fair trade”, “local food” goals with its member cooperatives. In 2018, Dure-co-op recorded 115 stores and 205,711 individual members.
Q. What is the advantage to using Dure-coop?
A. First of all, consumers can use eco-friendly and safe products because Dure-co-op does not treat products that contain hazardous materials such as food additives, Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) and growth hormones. By just buying product sat Dure-coop, consumers can join environmental movements and support producers. Here are three key characteristics of our products.
Animal welfare – Pork
In existing pig farms, pigs are kept in small cages with 210cm long and 60cm wide which pigs only have to eat and feed without walking or exercising. For raising them more easily, farmers cut every pigs’ tails and claws and pull out their fangs. On the other hand, on animal welfare farms, farmers try to make an environment that does not cause stress and displeasure to pigs. There is no cutting of tails and claws and pulling out fangs. Moreover, pigs can roam freely around and even exercise in the farm with enough space. Gyeonggi Dure-co-op supplied this non-GMO pork to consumers for the first time in Dure-co-op.
Non-Genetically Modified Organism (GMO)–Balangon Banana
Have you ever heard about possibilities of Banana extinction? The variety of bananas people usually buy is almost Cavendish. For large plantations, companies choose only one type, Cavendish Banana. However, banana is weak at mold when large amount of banana is raised in one place. Due to this, the Gros Michel, which was a popular banana type until the 1950s, was declared commercially extinct. Cavendish banana is also currently dying, so GMO Cavendish banana is been developed. Therefore, growing and consuming Balangon banana is the way of protect biodiversity from GMO food. Moreover, Balangon banana is fare trade banana in Dure-co-op.
Fair trade& Social Enterprise –The Organic Noni Juice and Crusty rice
Fair trade means not only buying goods directly from producers in developing counties, but also helping them stand on their own legs by paying a fair price. Fair-trade products in Dure-co-op dedicate profits for the purchase of agricultural implements and for the support of villages. Social enterprise ensure jobs for handicapped persons, unemployed people and for out-of-work senior citizens. An example is at Dure-co-op Yeokgok, there is crusty rice made by handicapped persons.
Q. Can you recommend the best products of Dure-co-op Yeokgok for CUK students?
A. 1. Cosmetics: Cosmetics in Dure-co-op with excluded chemicals is possible, so it has less stimulation and is very mild. I recommend it to students who have sensitive skin and also because of its reasonable price.
1. 풀빛고운Skin(150ml 16,600원)/ 풀빛고운Lotion(150ml 20,800원)
-Steady seller in Dure-co-op cosmetics! It has wrinkle-fighting and whitening features.
2. Moisturizing ampoule(30ml 14,900원)
-Consumers are most satisfied with its moisturizing ability for dry skin!
3.Handmade aged soap (세안비누 /여드름비누 3,100원 /우리아이 보습비누 3,300원)
- For kids suffering from an atopic skin, a member of Dure-co-op association made this soap. It uses organic ingredients and has natural glycerin from 1000 hours of ripening. I recommend this high-quality soap at a good price!
1. Fair-trade chocolate (6,200원)
2. Chocolate pie
- Made with fair trade chocolate (1개 1,050원)
3. We Can cookies
- By social enterprise We Can, providing handicapped members of society with jobs
(초코, 땅콩 3,400원 / 호두 4,000원)
4. Undiluted Calamans iJuice
- Calamansi is good forrelieving fatigue and for dieting. Consumers can buy individuals pieces of juice.
5. Cup noodles 우리밀감자컵라면 (1,400원)
Q. Would you introduce the way of using Dure-co-op?
A. Co-operative is a consumer’s business where consumers participate in its operations and gather its investments spontaneously. Therefore, the owner of Dure-co-op is each member of this association, and they contributed capital for running the business. To sign up for this membership, consumers pay over 30,000 won and it will return to them when they apply to withdraw their membership. Those who do not sign up for memberships can freely use the store, but an extra charge of 10% is applied.
Since its establishment, Dure-co-op has emphasized the importance of both consumer and producer, considering that it is vital for the members to increase their understanding of what it is really means to consume food and products. An interviewee, Han Myoung-Yi, manager of Bucheon Dure-co-op organization inspired the founding of the store. Lastly, she mentioned the importance of consumer sovereignty in capitalist society in contrast to big enterprises that are pursuing only financial profits.