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Cooperative Business NZ 2017 Annual Award winners are, from left: Duncan Coull (representing Fonterra);  Oliver O’Neill (Ruralco); Neil Cowie (Mitre 10); and Brian Cameron.


New Zealand’s biggest co-operative, Fonterra has been recognised by its peers at a celebration of the people-centred, values-based co-operative business model. Fonterra Co-operative Group won the Co-operative Business of the Year category – one of eight awards presented at the Cooperative Business New Zealand’s Annual Awards Dinner.


A stunning financial turnaround, generous social responsibility programmes and a high-profile television campaign proudly proclaiming its Kiwi farmer-owned, co-operative status were key factors in winning the award. Fonterra Shareholders' Council Chair Duncan Coull 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 co-operatives, mutuals and societies which employ more than 48,000 Kiwis and generates over NZ$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.