Historic first at the B20 Business Summit: Co-operative Sector at the Table

15 Jul 2014



For the first time in history, the co-operative sector is represented at the B20. The appointment of Dr Andrew Crane, CEO of Australian grain co-operative CBH, is a determined step towards a more just society and a sustainable concept of growth.
At the B20, Andrew Crane will advocate a better balanced type of economy where co-operative businesses counterbalance joint-stock companies, thus improving economic diversity and resiliency in times of crisis.


Brussels, Tuesday, 15 July 2014 – As B20 talks in Australia are to start, Australian Dr Andrew Crane’s (biography) appointment to the Business 20 marks the first time ever a business leader from the co-operative sector joins the B20.

According to the World Co-operative Monitor[1], the top 300 co-operatives and mutuals of the world have a turnover of USD 2 trillion, equivalent to the world’s ninth largest economy, while co-operatives generate 20 per cent more jobs than multinational companies (a limited sample size of one million co-operatives already accounts for 100 million jobs globally). A economic balancing force for joint-stock enterprise, co-operatives and mutuals play a key role in achieving sustainable, balanced growth and employment. 

The 2014 B20 meeting will finalise recommendations for the G20 summit at a time where governments look to move to a growth agenda following years of post GFC stabilisation. The co-operative sector’s demonstrated resilience in the financial downturn has sparked governments’ interest for co-operatives’ enterprise model and its potential to make the economy more diverse by being an alternative to investor enterprise. Using  his co-operative experience, Dr Crane will tie sustainable economic growth to social and environmental considerations when contributing to the B20’s policy recommendations.

Dr Andrew Crane: “Co-operatives from global brands like Fonterra, Associated Press and Ocean Spray to the many producer owned businesses supplying Fairtrade products are strong, commercially focused enterprises. They are also focused on their members, which means they are in the business for their members and the local communities where they are based. I am looking forward to the opportunity to share co-operative business ideas to the G20 agenda of promoting growth, creating jobs and building resilience in the global economy.”

Dame Pauline Green, President of the International Co-operative Alliance: “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.”

Director-General of the Alliance, Charles Gould, also said: “Co-operatives face the same commercial challenges as all businesses and are just as focused on a strong bottom line. However their distinct member-ownership structures contributed to higher levels of resilience during the global financial downturn. International research has demonstrated that co-operatives were particularly resilient in times of economic hardship, and had demonstrated the capacity to minimise job losses and even increase employment in regions hardest hit during the recent downturn such as Italy and Spain.”[2]

Dr Crane is a well-known business executive within the co-operative movement, being CEO of CBH Group, a co-operative which is Australia’s leading grains organisation, dealing with 40% of the nation’s annual grain crop. One of the main speakers at the prestigious International Summit of Co-operatives in Quebec this October, Dr Crane will provide the international forum with an insight into how to grow membership by meeting the changing needs of members. For more information about the Summit, visit the website:



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For further information contact:

Jan Schiettecatte

Communications Director

International Co-operative Alliance
Tel: + 32 478 84 51 30




Biography – Dr Andrew Crane

Andrew Crane is CEO of the CBH Group, Australia's leading grains industry organisation, storing, handling and exporting on average 10 million tonnes, or up to 40 per cent of the nation's annual grain crop.

The grower co-operative operates several other businesses along the grain supply chain from farm to market including CBH Grain, Australia's largest grain exporter and a JV flour milling business in Asia with 7 flour mills and a port in Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam and Turkey.

Since joining CBH, Andrew has led the re-organisation of the business to ensure that grower members benefit from the dramatic deregulation of their industry. Key initiatives include partnerships and acquisitions along the grain supply chain, their subsequent integration and improving the efficiency of the broader business. As the CEO he has led a reconfirmation with members of a competitive co-operative business model, the creation of value return measures and delivery and valuing employees through commitment to improving safety and engagement.

Andrew emigrated from the UK in 2001 to join the grain marketer, Grain Pool Pty Ltd and was appointed General Manager of that business when it merged with CBH in 2003. He was responsible for the operation of grain accumulation, trading and marketing and growth of the wheat business following the deregulation of Australia's grain export industry.  In 2008 Andrew became General Manager, Strategy and Business Development of CBH and was appointed Chief Executive Officer of the CBH Group in 2009.

Prior to joining the CBH Group, Andrew spent 12 years in the European malting industry in various production, operational and marketing management positions. His last role was as Commercial Director of Pauls Malt Ltd

Andrew holds a BSc in Environmental Studies, a PhD in Agriculture, is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and has completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School. Andrew is also a Director of Interflour Holdings Ltd, the Chairman of Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals, a member of the Curtin Business School Advisory Council and a member of Rabobank Australia and New Zealand Wholesale Food and Agriculture Advisory Board


About the International Co-operative Alliance

The International Co-operative Alliance is a non-profit international association established in 1895 to advance the co-operative social enterprise model. The Alliance is the apex organisation for co-operatives worldwide, representing 300 co-operative federations and organisations across 100 countries (figures of January 2014). The Alliance’s members are national level co-operative federations and individual co-operative organisations.

The International Co-operative Alliance works with global and regional governments and organisations to create the legislative environments that allow co-operatives to form and grow. Towards the public the Alliance promotes the importance of co-operatives’ values-based business model.

Yearly, the Alliance publishes the World Co-operative Monitor, the index of the world's largest co-operative and mutual enterprises. The Monitor demonstrates the economic impact of co-operative enterprises worldwide. The 2013 Monitor revealed a total worth of USD $ 2 trillion for the world’s top 300 co-operative and mutual organisations, spread across 23 countries.

Operating from a global office in Brussels, Belgium, the Alliance is organised with four Regional Offices (Europe, Africa, Americas, and Asia-Pacific), and eight Sectoral Organisations (Banking, Agriculture, Fisheries, Insurance, Health, Housing, Consumer Co-operatives, and Worker Co-operatives).

Further information about the Alliance’s Blueprint for a Co-operative Decade is available at www.ica.coop. Follow the Alliance on twitter at @icacoop. Like the Alliance's Facebook page at www.facebook.com/internationalcooperativealliance