Major Developments for Co-ops and Mutuals
Wednesday, 12th February 2014 at 8:39 am
A major research project and the launching of an industry task force underpin the progress made by a new representative body for co-operatives and mutuals in its first six months of operation.
The Business Council for Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) will undertake a new joint research project with Teachers Mutual Bank and retailer The Co-op Heart of the Barossa on the added value of co-operative and mutual businesses in the Australian economy.
According to the BCCM, the research by Net Balance will aim to increase awareness of areas where co-operative and mutual businesses are already recognised leaders, such as customer satisfaction and community investment, but with a deeper analysis of total added value.
“This research project and BCCM’s own research into the added value of the co-operative and mutual business sector will lay the groundwork for better awareness of the contribution of the sector to shared value and community resilience in the Australian economic, social and environmental ecosystem,” BCCM Researcher Mweri Namandwa said.
“The BCCM will build a body of evidence, accessible through an online medium, to substantiate the comparative advantage of the co-op and mutual sector. This is largely unrecognised by the people who benefit most – everyday Australians. Co-ops and mutuals are the unsung heroes of the economy.”
BCCM said it had also embarked on an update of the Top 100 list of co-operatives and mutuals in Australia with the University of Western Australia, including a longer term industry benchmarking project.
The research agenda follows the announcement last month of an industry task force set to explore the viability and roles for co-operatives and mutuals in delivering key public services.
Chaired by Gillian McFee, a strategic advisor with NRMA, the Public Service Mutuals (PSM) Task Force will oversee the development of a Green Paper based on previous research and national guidelines on the implementation of public services mutuals and co-operative models, building on a national roundtable held in November 2013.
BCCM has already made submissions to the National Commission of Audit and the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Childcare to call on government to recognise the role of co-operative and mutual businesses, particularly around consumer directed services and improving business efficiency and effectiveness.
The BCCM is intended to provide representation of cooperative and mutual businesses at a national level and was launched in August last year.
It is a collective of businesses with member-owned, co-operative and mutual structures from a range of sectors including agriculture, banking, automotive, retail, healthcare, renewable energy and insurance.
BCCM Chairman, Andrew Crane, was appointed to the B20 Committee advising the Federal Government on the business agenda during the 2014 Australian Presidency of the G20 meetings.
It is the first time a co-operative business leader has been appointed to a B20 group anywhere in the world.