World first appointment of co-operative business leader to the B20 industry group

12 December 2013

Dr Andrew Crane, CEO of Australia’s largest co-operative, CBH Group and Chairman of the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals, has been appointed to the B20 group of industry leaders advising the Australian Government on the G20 agenda.

Dr Crane’s appointment is the first time a business leader from the co-operative sector has joined a B20 grouping anywhere in the world. Dame Pauline Green, president of the International Co-operative Alliance said, “Dr Crane’s appointment is hugely important to put the voice of one billion co-operative members worldwide into the G20 strategic discussions.”

Globally one million co-operatives generate 100 million jobs which is 20 per cent more than multinational companies. The top 300 co-operatives and mutuals have turnover of USD 2 trillion, equivalent to the world’s ninth largest economy.

“Australia has 1,600 co-ops and mutuals and a combined membership base of more than 13 million. It’s a significant sector,” said Dr Crane.

“Co-operatives face the same commercial challenges as all businesses and are just as focused on a strong bottom line. However their distinct member-ownership structures contributed to higher levels of resilience during the global financial downturn.

“Co-operatives from global brands like Fonterra, Associated Press and Ocean Spray to the many producer owned businesses supplying Fairtrade products are strong, commercially focused enterprises but they are also focused on their members, which means they are in the business for their members and the local communities where they are based.”

International research has demonstrated that co-operatives were particularly resilient in times of economic hardship, and had demonstrated the capacity to minimise job losses and even increase employment in regions hardest hit during the recent downturn such as Italy and Spain.

“A working group has been set up in the European Commission to produce a roadmap to a co-operative economy as part of an economic diversification and recovery plan,” said Dr Crane.

“I am looking forward to the opportunity to share co-operative business ideas to the G20 agenda of promoting growth, creating jobs and building resilience in the global economy,” he said.

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