By Cathryn Higgs, Head of Food Policy

Our Future of Food ambition launched last year, defining our sustainability plan until 2030. In it, we outlined our simple goals we wanted to achieve as a business by then. We want to:

  • Source and create with care
  • Treat people fairly
  • Learn and celebrate together

We’re in an unprecedented time and the challenges we face as citizens of the world have never been more apparent. With this, we’ve also noticed a shift in our customers views on sustainability issues. We’ve become more conscious about plastics and our ‘throwaway’ culture, and the terrifying effects of climate change are ever apparent. Our customers want action and solutions and they want them fast.

Now, as we draw the year to a close, it feels like the right time to stop and reflect on what we’ve achieved together through our Future of Food ambition.

Together, we’ ve:

  • Made outstanding progress in our Action on Plastic plans – removing black plastic, moving our packaging to 76% recyclable packaging by line to reflect what customers see in store (95% by weight). This work has included innovations like making our ready meal packaging easy to recycle and using aluminium and cardboard alternatives where we can, removing black plastic from our protein ranges and increasing recycled plastic content in our bottles and oils
  • We rolled out compostable carrier bags across the UK to stores in areas where food waste is collected, and lobbied local councils that don’t to change their position
  • Continued to strengthen our Fairtrade commitments – celebrating 25 years of Fairtrade commitments with our colleagues, members and customers
  • Committed to reducing our greenhouse gas emissions in line with limiting global temperatures to 1.5°C, pledging a move to net-zero by 2050

More recently, our Future of Food ambition was awarded the IGD Sustainable Futures award and commended for being “the blueprint that others should follow”, which is something we’re hugely proud of. It’s a great example of how everyone can take more responsibility to do better, and how we can achieve these things by working together with a conscious.

Amazingly, this isn’t even everything. We’ve had so much to be proud of, we’ve created a ‘Coop_One Year On_Digital’ summary booklet which looks at all our highlights and achievements. Please take a look and find out about all the incredible progress we’ve made so far.

No matter how far we’ve come, there’s always much more to do! As we move into 2020, we’ll be accelerating our plans on plastics, our climate change ambition, and will continue to collaborate with our members to find sustainable solutions to the challenges ahead.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to working with you in the coming year – the Future of Food is in our hands and together we can make a difference.

Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. Disappointing Co-op wasn’t already taking the lead on some of these issues! Seems only now we are jumping on the band wagon and merely reacting to our customers views now they are finally concerned about the matter #toolittletoolate

  2. This is fantastic! Really pleased to less and less plastic in store. How does progress “behind the scenes” compare? For example the plastic used to wrap up and protect products in transit – can any progress be made here?

    • Thanks Helen!
      On the behind the scenes work, this is absolutely part of our strategy across the wider business. Teams have started work, so look out for trials and plans next year!

  3. Around 12 months ago Co-op Food announced that towards the end of 2019, 99 Tea would be relaunched with bleach free tea bags. Can you give an update on the progress made towards this?

    Recently, there has been availability issues and 99 tea bags are again out of stock across Merseyside, as they were in the autumn. Why is this?

    • Thanks William for your comment. We are still working hard to bring a biodegradable tea bag to market which will be fully compostable in food waste collections after use. Trials are ongoing and we will share progress on this shortly. Sorry you’ve had some shortages in stock. We’re pleased to update you that stock has been filtering back into stores this week, with an improved blend and new packaging design.

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