Judging Panel member Alastair Hercus and Farmlands Director of External Relations Mark McHardy, who accepted the award on behalf of Lachie Johnstone.
Former Farmlands Chairman Lachie Johnstone was recognised as one of three recipients of the Outstanding Co-operative Contribution Award at the Cooperative Business New Zealand Annual Awards 2020 held in Christchurch this evening.
The Outstanding Co-operative Contribution Award recognises individuals who have contributed significantly to the success of a co-operative business or the wider co-operative sector in New Zealand over the long-term. Judges deemed that each of the 2020 finalists were highly deserving of the award and determined that all three should be acknowledged for their services to the sector.
Lachie, who stood down as Chair of Farmlands in November 2019, had been involved in Farmlands and its precursor, Farmlands Trading Society, for nearly 20 years.
He was Chair when North Island-based Farmlands Trading Society merged with the South Island-based CRT Co-operative in 2013. He then became the inaugural Chairman of the newly created Farmlands Co-operative, with its national footprint.
The sheer scale of the merger was a challenge, but one where Lachie worked tirelessly with management to steer the new co-operative towards a more compelling vision of the future.
One of Lachie’s most significant legacies was being at the helm during the development and implementation of the business transformation programme – Braveheart – which consolidated all of Farmlands’ legacy IT systems into one.
He has also made a valuable contribution to the development of the next wave of co-operative leaders through his involvement in the To the Core Programme, in collaboration with Silver Fern Farms. The programme aims to lift the quality of governance across the primary sector and deepen the talent pool of prospective directors.
Cooperative Business New Zealand Chief Executive Roz Henry says: “As a Board member and Chairman, Lachie has been a champion for the co-operative model.
“He is someone who has upheld the co-operative principles and this was particularly evident during the formation of Farmlands, when he was truly focused on ensuring the new co-operative was based on the core values of the model and that the structure would provide a livelihood for members.”
“Lachie has also been highly active in raising the capability of co-operative governance. This is one area where co-operatives need to ensure they have succession plans and a talent pool to draw from for future Directors to enable strong governance of these businesses. It is fundamental to their ongoing success,” Roz says.
“His commitment to supporting growing the leaders of tomorrow is to be commended.”