Dual reports show co-operative and mutual businesses outperform ASX and key to Australia’s recovery

16 December 2020

The Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals today released the National Mutual Economy Report, providing insight into the size of the impact that Co-operative and Mutual Enterprises (CMEs) have on the Australian economy.

BCCM CEO, Melina Morrison said that as we look ahead to 2021, hoping to rebuild and reinvigorate our economy, the strong links between co-operative businesses and economic resilience cannot be ignored.

“This year’s National Mutual Economy Report shows that in 2019, the top 100 CMEs had a collective turnover of $33.9 billion, an increase of 6.3% on the previous year, an impressive result in the context of a slowing Australian economy across the reporting period,” Morrison said.

“While we are now operating on a very different playing field than when the data was recorded, read in tandem with Leading the Resilience, our report into CME resilience through the pandemic, there is a compelling story here about what the future of our economy could look like.

Leading the resilience shows that, when it comes to business survival, CMEs outperform the ASX. CMEs are a 25 per cent longer lived than their ASX listed counterparts. Recent interviews with the CEOs of Australia’s leading co-operatives and mutuals show why – they are staying true to their purpose of serving members, continuing to employ and using their balance sheet to invest in their business. As member-owned businesses they are not conflicted with a dual purpose to serve shareholders over customers.

“The data in the report makes clear the scale, breadth and strength of the CME economy. Historically, CMEs thrive where they are planted – creating entire ecosystems around them, generating long term jobs and prosperity for their supply chains, other local businesses and their communities.

“The implications for those regions hit hardest by both the pandemic and the weather crises of recent years are profound. In the face of de-urbanisation as a result of changing work practices, our regional communities can expect significant changes in the years ahead. CMEs offer a way to build up regionally based businesses in parallel.

“The NME Report shows that, in almost every industry, CMEs are making their presence felt, competing with large, shareholder-owned organisations, engaging in global markets while keeping their economic value local. In the long shadow of COVID-19, I think it is worth considering whether orthodoxy in our businesses and in our economy is going to lead us back into the sunlight.”

Read the 2020 National Mutual Economy Report.

Read the Leading the Resilience report.

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