We have joined forces with other Co-op retailers to call on the government to demand more from businesses to address the climate emergency.
The joint declaration comes ahead of the Cop26 climate summit in Glasgow next week and focuses on the government, alongside other businesses and communities, to come together and take further action to reduce our impact on the environment.
The pledge states: “Because we are co-operatives, we are striving to do what is required. But we are tired of being undercut by competitors on environmental and ethical standards. This has to stop. It’s not fair to punish those who are taking action - while other businesses put profit over planet.”
Rose Marley, CEO of Co-operatives UK, the trade body who co-ordinated the declaration and report on behalf of the sector, said, “Co-ops are businesses owned by our members who live in the communities we serve, but our communities are under grave threat. We urge all governments, businesses, communities and individuals to take effective action now to avert a climate catastrophe.”
In a joint declaration on behalf of the sector, co-operative businesses are calling on the UK government to:
· Provide leadership and make interventions to ensure a level playing field that enables, encourages and incentivises all businesses to take urgent action to achieve net zero
· Make end-to-end carbon footprint reporting mandatory for all large businesses
· Simplify the complex landscape of environmental metrics, reporting standards, regulations and guidance to make it easier for all businesses to take effective climate action
· Ensure all businesses can access comprehensive advice and support to help them develop and implement effective strategies for reducing and eliminating emissions. Support must include paid-for and subsided advice, grants and green enterprise finance schemes, starting with the adequate provision in the UK Shared Prosperity Fund
· Start harnessing the power of community and co-operative action as enablers in net zero strategies where there are societal and behavioural challenges, including energy usage, home retrofit and low carbon consumption, with BEIS and DEFRA adopting high-level cross-cutting policy
· Provide global leadership for a just transition, ensuring everyone makes a fair contribution and the poor and vulnerable are supported and empowered, including by supporting UK businesses to invest in climate resilience and a just transition in their global supply chains.
We have, for several years, been taking action in order to reduce our impact on the environment.
· Pledging to be carbon neutral by 2030
· Reducing electricity usage by 51% since 2010
· Reducing natural gas usage by 58% since 2010
· Reducing refrigeration gas emissions by 69% since 2010
· New stores use as little as 50% less electricity
· Reducing food waste by 40% during the past three years from 2,445 tonnes in 2017 to 1,469 tonnes in 2020
· We have pledged over £350,000 with charity Groundwork as part of an ambitious project to create sustainable spaces on our land for the local community
· Rolled out special collection points as part of ongoing efforts to protect the environment to allow shoppers to dispose of hard to recycle plastics
· Being re-awarded three Carbon Trust Standards for our efforts in reducing our carbon emissions, waste and water use for the fourth time. This means we sit alongside only a handful of retailers who hold all three of the standards but are the only supermarket to have the prestigious accolade
· Reducing food waste by 40% during the past three years from 2,445 tonnes in 2017 to 1,085 tonnes in 2020
· Link up with FareShare creating over two millions meals and cutting food waste levels. We have reduced food waste by 40% during the past three years. Levels dropped from 2,445 tonnes in 2017 to 1,085 tonnes in 2020
· Signed the European Union’s new Code of Conduct on Responsible Business and Marketing Practices in an effort to work closely with partners to help improve food sustainability
· Launched Too Good to Go
· Eco-friendly home delivery services
Hannah Gallimore, Corporate Responsibility Manager, said: “As a Co-operative, our ethical credentials mean we are brilliantly placed to do the right thing as a responsible business.
“We have reduced our carbon footprint by investing in green energy options and revolutionising energy efficiency across our Society.”
Luke Olly, Energy and Environment Lead at Central England Co-op, said: “As a responsible business, we are committed to minimising our impact on the environment and, as a result, our activities across all of the business operations have made considerable positive environmental impacts.
“We, however, do not rest on our laurels and are continually working on new ideas and innovations to ensure we continue to make a real impact and difference when it comes to being a sustainable business.”
You can also play your parts by using some of eco swaps below to help the environment
· Switch to reusable teabags
· Spend more time researching where your clothes come from and what they are made from
· Help local wildlife thrive
· Eat local produce
· Reduce your food waste
· Buy loose fruit and veg
· Eat less meat and dairy
· Ditch non-recyclable wrapping paper
· Make your choices of toiletries more sustainable
· Stop wasting water