What a phenomenal year 2016 was – a year that will be looked back on as a turning point for our Co-op. Not only have we seen the return of our much loved iconic Co-op look, but members are now once again seeing meaningful rewards from our reinvented membership offer. As our Young Members Board might say – we’ve smashed it!
I’m immensely proud of the role the Council has played in these landmark achievements – representing members’ interests in the business.
2016 key achievements
The commitment to have 1,500 member pioneers in the communities we serve will help bring our purpose to life and show how the Co-op is a better way of doing business. My thanks to Vice President, Dan Crowe, for his work on leading the Council’s work on the community strategy that has delivered our commitment to a Member Pioneer in every community
We achieved the Fair Tax mark – something that as a Council we initiated. I’d especially like to single out Lisa O’Hare in our finance team who devoted many hours to getting us there.
Launching our Co-op Compass now gives us a consistent structure to how we hold the Board to account. This focuses on what matters most to us: member value, member voice, ethical and sustainable leadership and co-operative leadership.
We’ve helped make our Governance stronger – getting a fourth Member Nominated Director onto the Board allows for a louder member voice to be heard
We all played an active part in catching up face-to-face with our members at local meetings and events during the last 12 months. Over 1,000 members from across our Council constituencies came to find out more about our business performance, new membership offer and how we’re at the heart of our communities. Oh, and they got to taste some pretty fine food too!
Through the Co-op Way committee, we’re setting the policies that will make our members proud of their Co-op. Comprised of senior Executives and Council members, this committee ensures that elected members are setting the agenda for our Society. My particular thanks to Vice President Bev Perkins for her leadership of the Council delegation on the committee.
Looking to 2017
You may be wondering how we can possibly beat the feeling that 2016’s given us… but I’m sure we can.
We’re aiming for a million new members through our Join Us campaign as we introduce our Co-op uniqueness to new people.
The Council will be co-creating the Renew strategy with Rod Bulmer who is leading the Renew plan for the Co-op. Our work with Rod will ensure we have a plan which builds on our strengths and confirms our role as a 21st century Co-op. It will consider all the ways we can grow – co-operating with other Co-ops, with partners and exploring new ventures – with the objective of defining how we bring the Co-op difference into new markets and services in a modern digitised world.
And we’ll go digital on a Co-op principle that would make the original Pioneers proud – demonstrating our commitment to openness and transparency around our food provenance.
I hope you share my excitement for the year ahead – it’s set up to be a great one!
Finally, I’d like to say a final thank-you to the Council and Senate for their outstanding work during the year. Elected members representing the owners of our co-operative business – our millions of individual members and the Independent Societies – are what makes the Co-op unique.
President National Members Council