Communications & Media

International Day of Cooperatives 2015

Celebrated by cooperative businesses, people and communities worldwide on 4th July 2015

Mary Valley community saves the town

19 Apr 2015

Heavily fractured by years of uncertainty over the now cancelled Traveston Dam project Qlds Mary Valley community is finally rebuilding itself.

Read on ABC website

Australian efforts raise co-op profile on world scale

Over 400 business leaders, representing the 20 most important economies globally, met in Sydney last month to finalise recommendations to the G20 Summit.

Sommerson Communication’s Director, Suzanne Henderson attended a breakfast event in Sydney during the summit with visiting international and Australian co-operative guests, to discuss the importance of the B20 and the international advocacy work being done for co-operatives and mutuals. Attendees heard from Dr Andrew Crane (CEO, CBH Group & Chair, BCCM); Dame Pauline Green, (President, International Co-operative Alliance (ICA); Shaun Tarbuck (Chief Executive, ICMIF); Dr Ariel Guarco (President, Cooperative Confederation of Argentina (COOPERAR) and Jean-Louis Bancel (President, Credit Cooperatif & President, ICBA).

In welcoming Dr Andrew Crane, BCCM CEO Melina Morrison said, “It is notable that for the first time in the history of the G20, a co-operative leader has been appointed to the B20 business leadership group. We look forward to Andrew’s contribution on behalf of all Australian co-operative businesses to the Summit in Brisbane in November this year.

Dame Pauline Green, ICA President talked about collaboration and growing the co-operative movement in her breakfast address:

“The B20 success is hugely important for the Alliance. It is a key strand of our advocacy work outlined in the Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade, which sets out the strategy for the movement until the end of this decade and beyond. The G20 is increasingly dominant in deciding the future direction of the global economy. During the G20 meetings, the voice of the B20 is sought on the key issues under discussion by the leaders of the 20 most important economies in the world. If, as the Blueprint demands, we are to grow the worldwide movement in the coming years, our challenge now is to ensure that when the B20 meets in Brisbane in November 2014, Andrew Crane is not alone in making sure that the co-operative difference is understood and valued.”


Co-operative leaders attend the B20                Photo source: BCCM                                                                                            (L-R): Kimina Lyall, Group Executive – Corporate Development, Australian Unity; Melina Morrison, CEO, BCCM; Michael Bailey, Director, Fonterra; Jean Louis Bancel, President, Credit Cooperatif and Chairman, International Cooperative Banking Assocation; Dame Pauline Green, President, International Co-operative Alliance; Dr Andrew Crane, CEO CBH Group and Chair, BCCM; Shaun Tarbuck, CEO, International Cooperative Mutual Insurance Federation (ICMIF); Dr Ariel Guarco, President, Co-operative Conferederation (COOPERAR)




International Day of Co-ops – Blueprint for a co-op decade

Inernational News | July 5, 2014

Happy International Day of Co-operatives! Celebrated every year in July, the International Co-operative Alliance (ICA) has designated Sustainability as this year’s theme.

Sustainability is a key theme of the Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade, the ICA’s 10 year plan to grow co-operative enterprise across the globe.

Sommerson Communications played a significant role in constructing communications strategy around the Blueprint: work has included media consultation and the construction of a message house to assist ICA members around the globe in communicating the Blueprint’s core messages.

Director-General of the International Co-operative Alliance, Charles Gould, gave a comprehensive webinar presentation on the Blueprint for the BCCM Global Leader Dialogues. View the recording online.


Charles Gould gives a webinar on the Blueprint

Employee Ownership Association celebrates annual conference and awards

EOANZ | May 30, 2014

The Employee Ownership Association Australia and New Zealand hosted their annual Conference and Awards night in Sydney, 22 May 2014.

Sommerson Communications assisted the Employee Ownership Association of Australia and New Zealand (EOANZ) in their media engagement throughout the conference.

In his keynote address, Tony Smith, Federal MP for Casey, said:

“Australia is now in a transition period, economically and socially. The need to encourage innovation, reinvigorate industry and drive productivity is paramount. Research worldwide provides evidence that employee ownership and employee share schemes contribute to productivity, employment and growth. The advocacy work of EOANZ, in particular our presentation to the Federal Government Treasury Committee in March, calling for widespread reform of employee share schemes has seen our case represented at the highest levels of government.  There are now positive indications across the political spectrum that reform is imminent and that “start-up” reform should only be the beginning.”

The Employee Ownership Awards Night saw the recognition of companies at the forefront of employee ownership in Australia.


Murray Goulburn’s cheese-maker bid shows co-ops strong health

BCCM | 25 October 2013

The new business council of mutual business leaders set up to champion member and customer owned business models – the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM) – says that bids by successful co-operatives like the Murray Goulburn takeover offer for Warrnambool Cheese and Butter, announced last Friday,was a sign of the sector’s strong commercial health and potentially offered far reaching benefits for Australian producers and farming communities.

BCCM CEO Melina Morrison said: “Warrnambool is Australia’s oldest cheese and butter processor and it’s heartening to see a well-established producer owned co-operative like Murray Goulburn make a bid to keep this a home-grown business.”

“The various bids for the dairy processor will be decided on their merits, but everything else being equal, co-operatives have the added advantage of ensuring a domestic stake in the business and a point of influence at every stage of the value chain –from the farm to the shelf.”

Morrison said the presence of co-operatives and mutuals in the economy adds business diversity and a unique ownership structure that drives benefits back to members who are the local owners and managers of the business.

“Diverse business forms are good for competition and choice for the consumer and their existence acts to mitigate risk in our business economy.”

Visiting international co-operative education expert, Dr Chris Cooper said: “Listed businesses are often focused solely on their share price and the need to make quick profits for the benefits of a limited group of institutional or high value shareholders rather than concentrating, as co-operatives do, on the needs of the member, customer and the community. Co-operatives are adaptable and flexible and in the interests of their members always seeking new and profitable opportunities.”

Morrison said the scale and scope of the member and customer owned businesses is not widely understood or appreciated but the sector combined represents a membership base of more than 13 million. The combined turnover of the top 100 co-operative and mutually owned businesses was almost $18 billion and there were some 1600 co-operatives in all industry sectors from agriculture, marketing and retail, to automotive, health, housing, social and financial services.

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