It’s Green October at Co-op. In our support centres we’ve set a challenge of saving energy and money by cutting back on travel, printing in black and white, and using less electricity.

We know this isn’t as easy if you’re customer-facing, but we wanted to share some ideas that you can possibly try, and remind everyone of our new Travel and Expenses Policy that applies to all Co-op colleagues and contractors.

If we cut travel costs by 20% in October we’d save £150k

As a Category Manager in Procurement, a large part of my role is working with suppliers to see how we can get the best value and service for Co-op.

If you do need to travel, always book through Clarity – this helps us manage costs and means we know where you are in an emergency. You can book online 24/7 from any device, and we’ll save £60k a year if you book online rather than ringing up.

There are other easy ways to cut down on travel costs. Could you:

  • Hold meetings by video conference or share screens with Microsoft Lync instead of travelling
  • Book travel and hotels at least 14 days in advance to get better rates
  • Book time specific train journeys, rather than open returns
  • Car share if there are a few of you travelling to a meeting or conference

Small changes can make a big difference

We buy 100% renewable energy but we still don’t want to waste it. Things like turning lights and screens off when you leave a meeting room will save money and energy. If you see lights that don’t work properly or don’t turn off, then make sure you report them to the facilities team too.

In our support centres we could all print a lot less – which is why we’ve added more screens to meeting rooms so you can view documents easily. And if you do need to print, doing it in black and white will save £15k a month just in 1 Angel Square.

This is all part of Fuel for Growth – saving money to invest in things that matter to our colleagues, members and communities. Try getting greener in October and share ideas with your colleagues.

Sarah Hill
Category Manager, Co-op Procurement

Join the conversation! 21 Comments

  1. Hi there, if you have any ideas, please send them to and the team will pass them on to the leader responsible for that area.
    Thanks, Lara

  2. When my store got a gen 2 makeover ,a engery manment was installed at close 10 pm all the lights went down to reduse power ,about 2 years ago work was getting don in store overnight since then the lights have been on full 24 hours,my manager has reported this still not fixed , customers have made coments

    • Hi there,
      If you can send me an email ( with the store name and number, I’ll feed this back to David Roberts, MD of Co-op Property. He’s also the Exec sponsor of Green October so he will be very keen to get this sorted.
      Thanks, Lara

  3. I work at a Depot and was given a booklet called “Information Security” several months ago. I have now been given a “Logistics Information Security Basics” Booklet which has virtually identical information in it bar a few minor tweaks (mainly graphics) – I assume both were printed in massive volumes in colour so double cost it needed to be? I now have 2 pinned to my notice board

  4. A significant number of colleagues in 1AS still leave their VDE units and/or screens on all night. I often go round switching them off. Can a communication go round to all reminding them to do this every night – ideally with some data on what this costs us. I used to work for a utilities company and saw the changes in behaviour that regularly sharing this information brought about.

    • Just tried to turn my VDE unit/screen off and got the message “Power Button Lock Out” – am I to understand IT have DISABLED the ability to power off our screens?! It has been on for nearly a year now and I am a laptop user. I hate to think how much electricity this has wasted.

  5. Stop printing posters for the back of toilet doors (in colour) and for next to the lifts and putting stickers in the lifts which are then removed after 12 weeks

    Why not buy an apartment block instead of putting people up in hotels in Manchester, who work in the city regularly week after week or have a deal with an apartment block, surely that must be cheaper than £100 per night plus food allowance for over 100 people every week

    • I love this idea of the apartment block for colleagues who work in the centre and stay out regularly, I discussed this with a colleague last week, think we could save a lot of money this way!

      • Nice idea Amy and Tina but it requires thinking outside the box to make that happen.

        Maybe a well publicised discount with a particular hotel chain would be a way forward – Hotel Campanile maybe?

        Clarity are experts in this field – could a Clarity rep join the conversation please ?

        • Hi Tina and Amy, We constantly benchmark apartments vs hotel rates we have in Manchester, as some of our rates with our preferred hotels are as low as £48 in Manchester (if you book early) apartments are more expensive. We haven’t looked at buying an apartment block or building one though.

  6. Unblock things like Google Hangouts and video calls would be a lot easier!

  7. So if we’ll save £60k a year by not ringing Clarity, why not invest in improving the clarity website to make it mobile friendly and build a clarity app which can be used from work mobiles. Also look at the other reasons why colleagues call Clarity such as for booking hire cars, if these were added to the booking website it would further reduce cost.

    • Hi Stu,

      Good points which we’ll feed back. The website can be accessed from any device that has internet as it’s a normal website – so you can get it on your mobile. Clarity are currently developing a mobile app too which will be available early 2019.

  8. Why print in colour? No need

  9. I really like this idea. Here is something to think about. I work at a distribution centre, think about this, if we reduce the weight of each trailer leaving the site by 8.5kg (the weight of 10 litres of diesel!) then in a year we would reduce the total weight passing our gate house by 280 tonnes! So even a relatively small saving, when multiplied by our fleet size would be considerable. Just saying…

    • That’s a great idea Steve. Are you saying put 10 litres of diesel less in each trailer? That would be easy to do. If only there was a widely publicised incentive scheme you could suggest that to!

      Anybody? Help Steve out here!

    • #Steve (not that one)
      Using that logic, if we employ slim male / female drivers, the weight saving will make all the difference.

    • But wouldn’t we just have to move that weight to another vehicle so more carbon footprint, more red diesel etc to run more fridges. Weight doesn’t disappear it just goes somewhere else.

      • Susan, no. The point is, lorries leave the depot with more fuel than they need for their journey. I don’t know, but I suspect they are filled to the brim each time. Considering a 300 litre? fuel tank, that’s a lot of weight – 250kg? About the same as another cage full of beer.

        It’s like always filling your car to the brim with fuel, day after day, therefore only putting a few litres in at a time – that fuel becomes a dead weight to the car and you’ll never achieve optimum efficiency.

        In the airline industry if they brimmed the aeroplanes on every journey, they’d not break even on the flights much of the time, since weight there makes a huge difference to efficiency and handling.

        • Steve clearly has an idea here – how does it get developed?

          Could someone join the conversation to point Steve in the right direction?

          • Hi Steve, Many thanks we’ve forwarded on to the Fuel For Growth team.

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