Leaders Summit Floats Social Business Council
25 August 2011 at 3:25 pm
A meeting of Australian co-operative and mutual business leaders in Canberra has found strong support for a representative
body for the social business sector, which could occupy a similar position in the political landscape as the Business Council of Australia.
The Summit was organised by the United Nations International Year of Cooperatives 2012 (IYC 2012).
The Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasurer, David Bradbury, opened the Summit and said co-ops and mutuals deserved recognition for their commitment to corporate social responsibility and the part that they play in a range of sectors in providing a competitive dynamic in the marketplace.
A roundtable of 45 CEOs and Chairs discussed the challenges facing the sector and meeting those challenges.
Social Business Australia Director, Melina Morrison says the opportunity for IYC 2012 to be a launch pad to re-establish co-operatives and mutuals in the national life was highlighted.
Morrison says the Summit certainly saw a ground swell of support for another voice in the national economic discussions.
She says SBA supports the idea that there needs to be a national body to support this form of business at a national level.
The Chair of SBA Trent Bartlett says businesses set up with a social purpose already make a significant contribution to the economy but without a significant voice to Government.
Barlett says cooperatives and mutuals are often not recognised in the economic mix and were not even invited to the recent tax summit however they support, and are part of, a powerful share of the voting public.
He says that he hopes that a national council will be a legacy of the IYC 2012.
Social Business Australia (SBA) was formed in 2009 by a group of like-minded social businesses, to assist Australian social businesses to develop and grow in the competitive environment of the mainstream economy.
Sometimes described as social enterprise, social businesses have social objectives at their core, and diverse ownership structures. The businesses SBA supports are different to Not for Profit and for profit types of enterprises.
The Summit will reconvene in late 2011 to discuss next steps in forming a national body.