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International Year of Co-operatives 2012 e-newsletter

8 May 2013

In this issue

Dear Co-operator,
Welcome to the IYC Australia May 2013 e-newsletter:


- UK Government's mutual ambassadors visit

- We the Owners


- Employee Ownership in Australia

- In the News


- Opposition Leader praises Murray Goulburn milk deal

- Building strong local economies


- CSR Stars

- Co-ops impact felt throughout national B-corp list


- International Developments

- Industry Campaigns


- Worker Co-operatives Symposium

- Sun powers workers co-op

Latest Co-op News
Graeme Nuttall

Australia is fortunate to have visits by two of the UK Government's mutual ambassadors this month.
Graeme Nuttall is the UK Government's advisor on employee ownership and author of Sharing Success: The Nuttall Review of Employee Ownership. Graeme is a guest of Employee Ownership Australia, and the keynote speaker at the 2013 Employee Ownership Conference.
Firms that are owned by their employees, including worker co-operatives, are 4-5% more productive than comparable companies. There are currently about 10,900 ESOPs and equivalent plans employing more than 13 million people in the U.S. In the UK, the Employee Ownership Index has outperformed the FTSE All Share Index by an average of 10% annually since 1992.
Peter Holbrook, a guest of Social Traders, is CEO of Social Enterprise UK. Peter will speak at business breakfast events in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane on the evolution of social enterprise in the UK, where the sector has attracted national attention for providing innovative local solutions to community needs and a model for the devolution of public services. Peter is here for the inaugural social enterprise awards.
Is a co-op a social enterprise?
“If the language is confusing, then yes, we can say that co-operatives are a form of social enterprise – something that is run commercially but with people in mind. What is distinct about co-ops is that the people in mind are not passive beneficiaries. They have a say. They have responsibility.” – A Care Economy, Blogpost, May 2

We the Owners

We the Owners documentary film screening
Successfully thriving in the global economy of the 21st century and beyond will require new business models and strategies to enable the American Dream of opportunity and economic prosperity. One model that is an alternative is the employee-ownership model (e.g. Employee Share Ownership Plan, share/stock options, co-operatives).
Attend a free screening of We the Owners on 21 May, Melbourne University, followed by a panel discussion with National Centre for Employee Ownership (NCEO) CEO Loren Rodgers, a leading U.S. advocate of employee ownership who consults internationally on employee ownership as public policy. Loren will be speaking at the EOA Conference.
Find out more about ESOPs in the U.S.

Incentivising Employees, Book Launch with the Hon Bill Shorten, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Employee Ownership in Australia
Incentivising Employees, Book Launch with the Hon Bill Shorten, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Australia is lagging in terms of employee ownership awareness. A new report will help to address this lack of information with the launch of Incentivising Employees: The theory, policy and practice of employee share ownership plans in Australia, the first detailed discussion of the theory, policy and practice of employee share ownership plans (ESOPs) in Australia. Book a place at this Melbourne CBD event, 20 May, via Ms Pat Fazzino,

In the news...
Importance of farmer owned co-ops
CBH Chairman says the WA bulk handler will stay a co-operative, ABC Rural Radio, April 19  
CBH big gun unloads on corporate crew, The West Australian, May 6
Public sector mutuals in the spotlight
Public and private are not mutually exclusive, AFR, 1 May
See our response here in the Letters to the Editor, AFR, 6 May

Opposition Leader praises Murray Goulburn milk deal
South Australian newspaper The Leader    
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has congratulated Murray Goulburn on their milk supply deal with Coles at a press conference last week, saying:
“I'm encouraged by the fact that Coles has chosen to deal with a farmer-owned co-operative. I think it is a vote of confidence in farmer-owned co-operatives and it's a sign that farmers are keeping control of their own destinies in a way that might not have always been the case.”

Building strong local economies
In the lead up to the election, political parties are talking about the importance of local economic development. The need to build the strength and resilience of our local economies through locally owned businesses including co-operatives has become very clear in the last few years.
View Michael Shuman's lecture on creating and harnessing local investment to support community owned enterprises, from the Living Economic Forum, UTS, September 2012.

CSR Stars
Teachers Mutual Bank    
Teachers Mutual Bank last month achieved gold status in the London Financial Times' annual Corporate Responsibility Index. They have acheived one of the highest of CSR accolades against such heavyweight international competition as Barclays Bank, the BBC, Zurich, and Marks and Spencer
“As a mutual bank, we believe that profit has a purpose. In the past 12 months, we've continued to improve our organisational performance to become a national and international leader in sustainability. We are honoured to receive such a high accolade for our effort,” Steve James, CEO, Teachers Mutual Bank.

Co-ops impact felt throughout national B-corp list
B-Lab, the B-corporation accreditor in the U.S. has released its list of top 12 B-corps, of which 3 are worker co-operatives. The winner was Cooperative Home Care Associates in the Bronx, New York, a worker owned home care agency which is a significant employer in the Bronx. Read Forbes Article

International Developments

  • The UK continues its love affair with mutuals and co-operatives, with the launch of an All Party Parliamentary Group for Mutuals. The group will soon announce an ambitious new agenda to promote both existing mutual business as well as new co-operative and mutual solutions across the wider economy.
  • ResPublica will be conducting a wide-reaching programme of research on mutuals in the finance market, A Civic Approach to Finance.
Abacus Balance Banking bus

Industry Campaigns
The Abacus Balance Banking bus completed its regional tour this week, with community bbq events across NSW and local communities coming together to show government that banking competition matters to rural communities.
View news story, Taking it to the big banks, Daily Liberal, May 2
The tour visited Newcastle, Cessnock, Port Macquarie, Coffs Habour, Lismore, Dubbo and Orange. Follow the Balance Banking campaign.

USYDWorker Co-operatives Symposium

Worker co-operatives have higher productivity, higher sales and profitability and higher worker satisfaction – what does the research say?
The University of Sydney's Co-operatives Research Group (CRG) will hold a Symposium on Job Satisfaction and Worker Co-operatives, 24 July. The following day (25 July) will be the third and final symposium of the Italy/Australia joint research project. Questions about either event should be directed to Professor Greg Patmore,

EarthworkerSun powers workers co-op
Australia's first worker-owned green manufacturing plant celebrated the installation of its first solar hot water system. Read more.

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