By Carl Gibson
I am delighted to share that Complementary Medicines Australia (CMA) has been named Association of the Year.
As the CEO, I was humbled to accept the award in front of over five hundred delegates from Australia’s not-for-profit sector at a gala dinner held at the Parliament of Australia, Canberra, on 15 July 2019. The prestigious award was presented by John Peacock of the Associations Forum, a body committed to assisting associations in governance, operations, membership and finances.
Accepting this highly coveted award was something I was very proud to do. It demonstrates CMA’s professionalism and commitment to its members, members who deliver the highest quality complementary medicines to our consumers.
So how did all of this come about?
At CMA, we develop our Vision and Strategy on a five-year basis. Vision 2020 set out our strategic plan for the period 2014-2020 and was delivered successfully two years earlier than anticipated. We are now working on our new Strategy: 2025 Health Industry Health People.
As part of the development process, we engage the CMA Board of Directors with a professional facilitator to establish the framework and consult with members with a Member Roadshow. Their input is vital to developing our shared strategy. Part of the CMA Vision and Strategy is the development of a clear and concise work program that supports the organisation's Strategy.
CMA Directors track the delivery of the work program at each Board Meeting so that we can assess our successes and learning points.
- The work program is shared with our members to ensure that as an industry, we are united in our goals. This approach has led to extraordinary industry growth.
- Good governance is vital. My background includes a Master of Science in Corporate Governance, and this is an area which is always uppermost in all of our actions. We pride ourselves on having robust systems and processes in place; these are reviewed annually.
Successes and Achievements
Healthplex – opening up new markets
Recently in Shanghai, CMA’s Australian Pavilion at China HealthPlex united 18 Australian brands under one banner. Australia was host to the biggest international pavilion and it successfully showcased the best of Australia to our largest export market, China. The aim was to open up a vital new income stream for the association and for industry.
A new initiative was launched this year: Business Seminars. The aim was to enable our Service Provider Members the opportunity to host a webinar open to our members showcasing the latest trends, opportunities and offerings. From PR & Communications to Export opportunities, the webinars are now held monthly and attract an ever-growing number of participants.
Innovation Day and Supplier Expo
Innovation is the lifeblood of our industry – access to new ingredients is vital to our ongoing success. Thus, CMA launched a new conference showcasing innovation and providing expo space for our industry suppliers attracting over 250 participants and generating a new income stream.
Following an extensive review of regulation into the Complementary Medicines sector over three years by an expert panel established by the Prime Minister, the Government commenced the introduction of new rules and regulations of our industry. CMA successfully negotiated over 95% of our recommendations be implemented as part of the reforms. Australia is now at the forefront of the most progressive legislation for our sector in the world, with policies that promote the industry, protect research and reward innovation. We are the only country in the world to offer two-year market exclusivity for new natural ingredients – and that’s a world first!
Made in Australia
The complementary medicines industry was significantly impacted after a change to Australian Consumer Law, were as an unintended consequence of food sector reforms, many Australian manufactured CM products would no longer be able to claim: ‘Made in Australia’. CMA successfully advocated that this unintended consequence would harm our $1 Billion export market and risk manufacturing industry jobs. After a concerted campaign and task force meetings, the Government announced it would reinstate a clear policy that would enable our sector to confidently make a ‘Made in Australia’ claim, a key factor for companies seeking an international competitive edge.
Vitamins and Dietary Supplements
CMA conducts an annual industry audit of the sector. The latest 2018 industry audit revealed that industry sales have grown to over $5.2 Billion. The Vitamin and Dietary Supplement category alone has doubled over the last ten years.
The industry has grown $2 billion over the last five years, with healthy growth in our export markets generating over $1 Billion in revenue – accounting now for 20% of all sales.
Australia is now Number one Importer into China for Nutrition and Health Food
I am proud to say that Australia has become the largest source of Nutrition and Health Food Imports with an import volume of AU $940 million (US $670 Million). Australia achieved a 60.8% year on year growth of imports into China of Nutrition and Health Food Imports
Source: China Chamber of Commerce for Import and Export of Medicines and Health food Products (CCCMHPIE)
A Leading Association
As an organisation, CMA has experienced a transformation over the last five years. As an Association, we are now relevant and successful in representing our membership. Our vision, mission and strategy are clear and, as an industry, we are united. CMA has gone from representing around 50% of the sector to over 85%. We have doubled our financial reserves providing financial stability and security and a much-needed fighting fund for the future. CMA has grown its revenues as an Association from $1.6 million to $2.8 million by adding additional member services and developing our service offerings. We have transformed into a healthy association, thanks to the support and guidance of the Associations Forum.
I am so proud of our achievements so far and would like to stress that our commitment to providing leadership, strategy, advocacy and support to our important industry remains our top priority.
Being recognised as the Association of the Year acknowledges our association as having achieved all-round excellence with demonstrated ability to influence government decision making, deliver world-class conferences and exhibitions and publish meaningful market intelligence. It also acknowledges the fact that thanks to careful financial management, CMA works hard to provide valuable services in the most cost appropriate way for members great and small. The award is also recognition of the continual evolution that helps to ensure that CMA is and remains relevant to the dynamic needs of our member businesses.
Inspirational direction from the Board of Directors and the support of a highly engaged membership has meant that CMA can assist the complementary medicines industry in Australia to grow, create jobs, demonstrate and deliver world-class quality products, operate sustainably and open new doors to international trade. Being named Association of the Year recognises the dedicated individuals who work to ensure that we are and will continue to be an integral partner to our important industry.