Fonterra’s new $150 million cheese plant in Australia will help the co-op further capture the strong global demand for dairy, says chairman John Wilson.
It was one of eight awards presented at Cooperative Business New Zealand’s annual awards dinner held last night in Auckland.
A stunning financial turnaround, generous social responsibility programmes and a high-profile television campaign proudly proclaiming its Kiwi farmer-owned, cooperative status were key factors in winning the award.
Fonterra Shareholders Council chair Duncan Coull, who collected the award, says farmers should take real pride in this special recognition for their co-op.
"Our farmer shareholders set themselves high standards, and it's their daily hard work and commitment that drives the success of the co-op. I also want to recognise the energy and contribution of our staff in helping build a co-op that returns such value to shareholders, local communities and the New Zealand economy."
Cooperative Business New Zealand represents the growing business sector of cooperatives, mutuals and societies which employ more than 48,000 Kiwis and generates over $43 billion a year in revenues for the NZ economy. That’s almost 20% of this country’s GDP while almost one-in-three Kiwis is currently served by a co-operative, mutual or society as a member.
Chair Jonathan Lee says this year’s nominees and recipients were exceptional and reflected the best of cooperative values.
Cooperative Business NZ chief executive Craig Presland says Fonterra had achieved a stunning financial turnaround over the past 12 to 18 months.
“With its 2016-17 payout forecast to be at least 50% up on the year before, this injects an additional $3.6 billion into the NZ economy and will benefit many fellow co-operatives significantly.
“Over this period, Fonterra has completed a comprehensive cooperative governance review and raised its profile with the New Zealand public so that it is now better understood as a member-owned cooperative and not a corporate.
“It has also continued to generously support New Zealanders within the spirit of Concern for Community, a key cooperative principle. Its Milk for Schools programme, which is now in its fifth year, is the largest social responsibility programme ever driven by a Kiwi commercial business. The $10 million plus a year initiative currently benefits more than 140,000 kiwi kids each school day.”