December 2023 Issue: Co-operator Newsletter Quarterly December 2023

What Went On at Business Council of Co-operatives & Murals Leaders’ Summit 2023

What Went On at Business Council of Co-operatives & Murals Leaders’ Summit 2023
Caption: What Went On at Business Council of Co-operatives & Murals Leaders’ Summit 2023

By Tan Huimin, edited by Sng Ler Jun

Between 25 and 26 October, the Singapore National Co-operative Federation (SNCF) attended a leaders’ summit in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

Organised and hosted by the Business Council of Co-operatives and Mutuals (BCCM), the BCCM Leaders’ Summit, also Australia’s only cross-sector business summit for co-operative and mutual leaders, featured an exciting line-up of national and international speakers. Representatives from the Singapore Co-operative Movement include SNCF’s Chief Executive Mr Ang Hin Kee and NTUC FairPrice Chief Analytics Officer, Mr Qian Xiaodong. Both of whom were invited to share their experiences for the “Vision for Growth – Sustainability in the Marketplace” segment and “Retail Co-ops Forum” respectively.

On the first day, Mr Qian gave a general overview of the retail co-operative in Singapore including information on the scale, market reach and structure of the country’s largest supermarket co-operative NTUC FairPrice. He also shared insights to how NTUC FairPrice dealt with the changing priorities of customers in order to continuously engage them. From ideas that did not work to projects that were a huge success, NTUC FairPrice created a blended experience with many firsts as the new stores opened. One may have noticed their farm-to-table concept in these stores. Customers can have their food prepared for them. They can select live seafood on display and have them cooked to their preferred style, choose a cut of meat from the butchery for grilling, or simply order off the menu. 2023 marks the 50th year since NTUC FairPrice was set up.

The first day of the summit ended with the Taste of Australia Dinner and Honour Roll. Guests dined on co-operative produce. The Honour Roll celebrated the achievements of five outstanding Co-operative and Mutual Enterprises contributors, with this year’s recipients sharing a banking and financial services background.

Day 2 kicked off with the Breakfast on the Hill, sponsored by credit mutual organisation Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ). Mr David Carter, Group CEO of RACQ, discussed the value of private and community partners in creating better social and financial connections to the community and greater resilience for the economy. Formed in 1905, RACQ advocates for motorists and better transport by ensuring Queenslanders have safe, affordable and sustainable mobility across a range of motor and transport interests, such as transport funding, road safety, and active transport infrastructure. This year, RACQ has over 1.7 million members and has provided $9.9 million (S$13.4 million) to charities and communities. Transiting into a decarbonised world, there is a need to ensure that nobody gets left behind, he said.  

One other key highlight of the summit entailed discussants sharing their experiences on empowering indigenous communities. The discussants include Arctic Co-operatives Limited’s Vice President Governance & Member Relation, Ms Mary Nirlungayuk, Bunji Consultancies Director Pastor Ray Minniecon, and BAL Lawyers Legal Director Mr Mark Love. According to the panellists, harsh weather conditions and being remotely situated are some of the factors driving up living costs for these indigenous communities. It is therefore important to work with other international businesses to provide them with quality, stable stream of goods and services. Services provided range from retail, cable TV to petroleum support services.

In the ‘Vision for Growth – Sustainability in the Marketplace’ segment, Mr Ang shared the importance of staying relevant as a co-operative today. It is crucial to note that nobody owes co-operatives a living. As consumers and companies continue to be exposed to newfangled options and choices, co-operatives in Singapore need to manifest its relevance and stake its claim to the scarce resources that every organisations is fighting for.

The event concluded with BCCM’s Chief Executive Ms Melina Morrison summarising some of the important keynotes they have learnt during the two days and invitation to upcoming events.


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Who we are

SNCF is the apex body of Singapore’s Co-operative Movement, and secretariat of the Central Co-operative Fund (CCF). Formed in 1980 with the aim of championing Singapore’s Co-operative Movement, the apex body represents majority of co-operative members in Singapore through its affiliated co-operatives.