Co-op results - Nature

Indicator 5.1 View criteria

Issue: Environmental issues within the supply chain

Indicator: Corporate commitment to addressing conservation issues within the supply chain

Best in class

The Co-op provides comprehensive training of primary produce buyers, including site visits (no supplementary information was provided). The company also has a comprehensive approach to ensuring consumer choice on GMOs, including labelling, website, and customer care phone lines.

Indicator 5.2 View criteria

Issue: Environmental issues within the supply chain

Indicator: Producer suppliers with retailer-supported farm environment audits and/or plans

All fresh produce suppliers are required to develop an environmental management policy — a very positive step. A comprehensive Code of Practice on environmental issues in the food chain is in place. The Co-op has made positive steps to work with external Farm Assured standards towards the inclusion of environmental standards in those schemes, but it’s difficult to spot any change on the ground at present time.

Fresh produce suppliers have to be Assured Produce accredited so can demonstrate compliance with the Voluntary Initiative on pesticides. Transparency is high — there is internal and external verification of compliance, plus desk based verification. International suppliers asked to adopt EUREP-GAP standards

The Code of Practice on environmental issues is only relevant to fresh produce producers. Livestock and dairy Farm Assured schemes do not require farm environment audits.

There is in-kind support to assist producers develop environmental plans, but it is not clear if this only for fresh produce growers.


Indicator 5.3 View criteria

Issue: sustainable fisheries

Indicator chosen: Wild and farmed fish from sustainable sources

The Co-op has no specific policy on sustainable fish procurement, but the company is an active member of the Marine Stewardship Council, and stocks sustainable canned salmon.

There is regular assessment of suppliers, but no supplementary information was provided. Over 70% of cod and prawns are from sustainable sources; haddock 65%

Overall commentary and examples of good practice

Examples of good practice:

Areas for improvement:


Supermarket comments

“A number of Co-op products now adopt marine and forestry stewardship standards in their sourcing, whilst consumer concerns over pesticides and their potential effects on health and the environment have been at the heart of our policy of minimising residues in foods. Our approach encourages the use of alternative and more benign controls that build upon the pioneering work done on our own farms. Our work on pesticides has received support from many quarters and helps to demonstrate that sustainable business can have commercial strengths. Through work with growers to develop alternative means of control, we have begun a process of broader environmental delivery that is encompassed in our environmental management systems. Wider development of assurance schemes will support those environmental aims and add further value to farming, whilst some consideration of the regulatory approach to aspects such as pesticide control can offer opportunities to encourage alternative, more benign and environmentally beneficial controls in the future. “


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