Sustainability

In this section

We believe being a sustainable business is about more than reducing our impact on the environment.

It's about running our business for the long term, creating value for local communities, businesses and our 275,000 members.

Sustainability at a glance

.Our approach to being a sustainable business focusses on these areas:

Our Products and Services

In the past when we’ve talked about Sourced Locally its just been about the quality of the food. There’s more to it than that.

Sourced Locally is a fantastic route to market for local producers. It means that local communities can buy products produced nearby - real support for their local economy. Over £45,000,000 of locally produced products have been sold since we started in 2007. We also encourage our suppliers to apply for the Suffolk Carbon Charter, which is a way of recognising their efforts to reduce their impact on the environment.

Our committment to sustainable products and services goes beyond Sourced Locally. Our range of own-brand Co-op products has some fantastic credentials. For example all our own-label toiletries have been free freom animal testing since 1985 and our range of own-label dilutable drinks (like squash) contain no added sugar.

Our Operations

This is picture of our Coggeshall Food Store, opened in late 2015 It features PV cells on the roof, and on a sunny day it generates enough energy to power the store completely.

For our Food business, reducing waste has been a major focus. Starting in 2012 we began diverting food waste to Anerobic Digestion (a fancy way of turning waste food into energy) Now 100% of food waste goes to Anerobic Digestion. We're also making changes to our reduce to clear policies so food can be (safely) sold or donated for consumption. This includes working with local charities to donate food that is about to go out of date to help feed those they’re supporting

We also introduced an energy policy in 2010. This is reviewed annually by our Leadership Team and Board. 100% of the electricity we use is green - even after tax breaks on Green Energy were changed recently. 

Finally, we use a clever technology called Dynamic Demand to help National Grid manage the load on their network.This means we turn off some energy hungry equipment when the Grid is close to capacity, and switch on equipment early when it has spare capacity.

Our Colleagues

Many of our colleagues play an active role in their communities. From fundraising to volunteering their dedication to helping improve the lives of others is inspiring. Which is why we introduced our pound-for-pound matched funding scheme.

From fun runs and parachute jumps, to bake sales and head shaving, our colleagues have raised thousands of pounds for charity. A nice example is our colleague Daniel who applied for matched funding ahead of his 45-mile cycle ride between Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle for The Prince’s Trust last year.