HOK-Elanto Elections

The cooperative elections are approaching. In the HOK-Elanto region, such as in Helsinki, the voting period is from April 10th to April 22nd, 2024. But what do cooperative elections mean in general, who can vote, and why should one even bother to vote? Cooperative elections are the topic of this writing, focusing specifically on the HOK-Elanto elections.

Cooperative elections in the selection of the board of representatives

Let’s begin with a brief overview of the S-Group. All people living in Finland are surely familiar with S-Group brands such as Alepa and Prisma. The S-Group is, in fact, the largest private employer in Finland! But how do cooperative elections relate to the S-Group?

The S-Group is a cooperative composed of regional cooperatives. For example, the Helsinki regional cooperative is HOK-Elanto. Cooperative elections are a way to choose the board of representatives, the decision-making body of the cooperative. The members of the board represent the voice of the customer-owner. HOK-Elanto’s board of representatives consists of 60 members. The term is 4 years, meaning elections are held every 4 years; now in spring 2024 and next in 2028.

Not all regional cooperatives have elections at the same time. In spring 2024, the board of representatives will be chosen for HOK-Elanto and Varuboden-Osla. Additionally, the size of the board of representatives varies among regional cooperatives; for example, Varuboden-Osla’s board consists of 50 members.

Who can vote in HOK-Elanto elections?

Any person who has been a customer-owner of HOK-Elanto as of December 31, 2023, and is over 15 years old. In practical terms, if you are over 15, live in Helsinki or nearby municipalities, and have an S-bonus card, you are eligible to vote. Voting can be done electronically or in person at S-Group locations.

The voter turnout has varied between 15 and 25 percent depending on the regional cooperative. I encourage all eligible voters to cast their votes! Let’s make HOK-Elanto cooperative better together. And this brings us to the question of who I am and why I am talking about this topic.

Candidate in the HOK-Elanto elections with number 1074

I became interested in cooperative elections in January 2024 when I saw an advertisement for candidacy. My initial thought was, “What kind of elections are these?” as I had not realized the existence of cooperative elections despite having had an S-card in my wallet for probably my entire adult life. I started looking into it and eventually asked Arto Hiltunen, the former CEO of S-Group, about the role of the board of representatives.

Arto Hiltunen kindly explained that the duties of the board of representatives in a cooperative are roughly the same as the general meeting (“yhtiökokous”) in a limited company.

  • The board approves the annual financial statements and profit distribution.
  • Additionally, it elects the supervisory board, which oversees the actions of the board.
  • In some cooperatives, the board of representatives also has the opportunity to propose initiatives or ideas for the development of operations.

As an entrepreneur, I have felt for some time that I want to do something to improve Finnish society. However, I don’t have opinions on all the issues addressed at the municipal or national political level. Since business is my thing, I feel that through S-Group’s influence, I could contribute to improving Finnish society. So, I am now a candidate in the HOK-Elanto elections with number 1074, running on the Green Party list.

What issues are my HOK-Elanto election themes?

Removing slot machines from S-Group stores.

Reduce the harm caused by gambling addiction by removing slot machines from S-Group locations.

Increase bonuses for small households.

I believe the current bonus model favors people who already have the means to make purchases. By increasing the percentages of small bonuses, well-being can be distributed more evenly.

Lower the kilo/liter price for small packaging.

The number of people living alone is increasing. Yet, for some products, the packaging size is significantly cheaper in large packages. Not everyone can afford to buy a large quantity of food at once and, for example, freeze or preserve it.

Faster payment terms for invoices.

S-Group makes a massive number of purchases. The shorter the payment terms towards suppliers, the faster suppliers get their money and can pay their own suppliers and employees.

Raise the age limit for energy drinks to 18.

I believe energy drinks should not be sold to those under 18.

If I am elected to the board of representatives, undoubtedly other important issues will arise. I don’t fully grasp all the responsibilities of the board of representatives yet, as I have never been a member.

Who am I then? You can learn more about me on my profile page. If you want to provide feedback or get in touch, send a networking request on LinkedIn along with a LinkedIn message.

HOK-Elanto elections Saskia Salomaa

Why should you vote in HOK-Elanto cooperative elections?

In all honesty, I don’t remember ever voting in cooperative elections myself. But as I have pondered the matter, I have concluded that influencing society through businesses is crucial! For example, S-Group has tens of thousands of employees (when all regional cooperatives are counted together). Improving job satisfaction and, for example, reducing sick leave in such a group is significant for society as a whole!

Voting is also easy digitally from anywhere during the voting period from April 10th to April 22nd. Of course, you can also handle voting while, for example, doing your grocery shopping at an S-Group location!


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