By Sarah Hill, Category Manager – Procurement

Last year we ran a Green October campaign and set colleagues the challenge of saving energy and money by cutting back on travel, printing and using less electricity. Colleagues rose to the challenge and we saw savings of £75k (vs. October 2017).

There was a real energy around colleagues wanting to make a difference, but since then we’ve seen old habits creep back in. Whilst we’re seeing travel and expenses spend come down, we aren’t seeing a reduction in the amount of travel we’re doing (based on hotel stays, rail tickets and air). I just wanted to remind you of the impact we can have if we all start to think and act a little bit more lean and green each and every day.


As a category manager in Procurement, one of my areas of focus is travel – making sure I get the best value and service for Co-op, from our travel suppliers. If we can travel 30% less as a business we’ll save around £2.4m per year and reduce our carbon emissions too.

You can help us be more lean and green when it comes to travel by:

  • asking yourself if you really need to make the journey before booking your next trip
  • considering if you need to meet face to face, or if some meetings could be done via audio or video conference

We know there are many occasions when travel will be essential, so when you do need to travel you can help us manage costs by:

  • making sure that all travel is in line with our travel and expenses policy
  • booking all travel through Clarity
  • booking hotel stays as early as possible to get better rates
  • booking specific times for train journeys, rather than open returns. If you’re not sure what time train you’ll be getting back, book your outward train journey in advance to get the best price

Think lean and green. Small changes really do make a big difference, so continue to question whether you need to make that journey before you book your travel.

For colleagues with access to Yammer, join our lean and green group. It’s the perfect place to share any lean and green ideas that you have, ask questions and celebrate any cost and efficiency saving successes – no matter how big or small.

Join the conversation! 5 Comments

  1. We also need to find a solution to ‘wrapping’ our cardboard that we send back in shrink wrap. We were sending all this back in 4 sided metal cages only to be told not to and revert to 2 sided???? I can not see the logic of this or understand why 4 sided cages are not the norm, indeed if they were we would not only save on the environmental impact of using shrink wrap but also we would save on the amount of damages we have…..just a thought

  2. It goes deeper than this. The natural tension between the Convenience segment we are going for and the Ethical stance we purport to take is guaranteed to cause mixed-messaging to the consumer and indeed befuddlement amongst colleagues.

  3. We certainly didn’t think too hard about our festival pop up shops, with all those single use plastic water bottles sold – branded coop. Kind of shot ourselves on the foot there.

    • Lets be honest, there’s double standards all over the Co-op. We just launched a “healthcare” app, yet we sell cigarettes, alcohol and sweets in store. We constantly bang the drum about being eco-friendly, yet we sell one-shot battery packs for phones in stores, which contain a tiny lithium-ion cell which itself can be re-used thousands of times, yet in these packs is unable to be charged back up. An utter waste of precious lithium. I have raised this before but was shot down by the social media team. I stand by my point. We should not be selling these products.

    • Probably worth mentioning that at Glastonbury they were recyclable cardboard cartons?

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