Co-op results - Environment

Indicator 1.1 View criteria

Issue: Corporate commitment to environmental responsibility and performance

Indicator: Board-level responsibility, training and reporting

Co-op obtained high scores in this Indicator, with only a small dip in points regarding staff training and environmental reporting. Both these areas have been recognized and improvements are being made in the near future. Within Co-operative Retail, the Head of Co-operative Brand & Technical has responsibilities for environmental management at Board level. Environmental issues and performance are reported within each monthly Board report. The Chief Operating Officer of the Co-operative group chairs the Environmental Steering Group, which meets on a quarterly basis, reporting progress to the Board.

Senior Management with environmental impact responsibilities receive training and development in the Co-operative Groups policies and practices and on the environmental management systems in place. There is no specific environmental awareness training for store-based personnel but this is due to take place in the near future using a range of communication media including induction and staff information posters.

The Social Accountability summary report covers all areas of Corporate Social Responsibility well. It would be good to see a combination of the Environment section from the report with additional information from the Environmental Management System Strategy and the Responsible Retailing leaflet. Hopefully these will be tied together in the new Social Accountability report planned for Spring 2004.


Indicator 1.2 View criteria

Issue: Climate change

Indicator: Energy use and emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2)

Co-op reports that their overall management of environmental impacts was not well co-ordinated previously, but have since shown great commitment in this area, developing a model Environmental Management System. For this Indicator they did score well as they have rolled out objectives, targets and procedures for the reduction of in-store and transport emissions. It is not clear whether Co-op is using the DEFRA Environmental Reporting Guidelines for a company reporting on Greenhouse Gas emissions. Co-op is developing opportunities for back-hauling, which will reduce mileage, fuel and the number of vehicles on the road.


Indicator 1.3 View criteria

Issue: Waste

Indicator: Waste management and minimisation

Through their committed approach to waste minimisation in the future more points could be awarded to the Co-op for reducing waste sent to landfill. At present the cost of waste sent to landfill is quite high. The Co-op is currently trialling a small meat waste composting scheme and several stores and depots are involved with Crisis Fairshare resulting in 110 tonnes of fruit and vegetables reaching charitable causes. Co-op has set and achieved their waste targets for this year and have set manageable targets for the year ahead.

The Co-op was the first supermarket to introduce degradable carrier bags, with product packaging now adopting the same plastic. The Co-op has also a number of initiatives for the reduction of packaging and the use of recycled material. This includes taking waste paper from Co-op offices to produce 100% recycled toilet tissue and kitchen towels, which are sold through the stores, hence closing the loop. This scheme earned the Co-op a Green Apple Award. Organic fruit and vegetables utilise biodegradable packaging, but this is still only 5% of fresh food packaging.

Customers are encouraged to use reusable carrier bags rather than the disposable bags and a reward scheme for reuse through the loyalty card is currently under review.


Overall commentary and examples of good practice

Co-op performed very well and achieved high scores across all indicators.

Areas of good practice

Areas for improvement


Supermarket comments

“Our environmental policy is having a significant impact on a range of business activities, and progress has been swift. Since this report, an increase in the amount of ‘green’ electricity has been introduced, achieving the goal set with 11% now from this source. At the same time, part of our distribution fleet has converted to compressed natural gas fuel, with the opening of two new fuel sites. Inevitably, with stores in locations as diverse as the Isles of Scilly and Shetland, distribution is a challenging area of environmental impact but efficient fleet management and route-planning alongside back-hauling and a regionally-focused supply chain help to manage this effectively. Our travel plan for head office staff contributes to the same aim. Targets have been set on reducing CO2 emission and waste that will be supported by improvements in equipment and store design, and packaging use, with training programmes for store personnel helping to achieve our aims.”

topPosted: 26-Nov-2003

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