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By Nick Crofts, Co-op Foundation CEO

As many of us will have seen during the recent COP26 event in Glasgow, the world – and everyone in it – will need to change and innovate drastically to tackle climate change. However, discussions around reducing greenhouse gas emissions, particularly from livestock, were notably absent from many of the conversations involving our political leaders, despite their tremendous impact on the environment. 

Carbon emissions are something that both Co-op and its charity, the Co-op Foundation, feel need to be tackled. This is why we decided to team up to create a new £3m Carbon Innovation Fund to help combat greenhouse gases resulting from the food and farming industries. 

This is the largest partnership of its kind between the Co-op Foundation and the Co-op and a great example of how we’re working together to deliver on Co-op’s vision of ‘Co-operating for a fairer world’. 

I’m really excited to launch our new fund, and I hope colleagues will help spread the word in their networks so we can make a real impact in communities in the UK, and globally.

What is the Carbon Innovation Fund?

We plan to support up to 10 projects with funding of £75k to £100k each in the first year of our Carbon Innovation Fund.

Funding for the programme has been donated by Co-op from the sale of compostable carrier bags in the UK, with the remainder coming from the Co-op Foundation’s own funds.

Organisations we can support include projects run by charities, social enterprises, community organisations and local, regional and national governments that aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions in food systems and farming communities and contribute to real systems change.

The Carbon Innovation Fund is the latest in a long line of green initiatives supported by the Co-op Foundation, which also includes previous support for Welcome to our Woods, based in south Wales. It also builds upon Co-op’s commitment to become a Net Zero business by 2040.

Co-op will also be supporting groups tackling climate change when applications open next spring for the next round of the Local Community Fund.

Help us spread the word

We opened first-stage applications for the Carbon Innovation Fund on Monday 22 November. Applications will close at 12pm (midday) on Friday 10 December before a second stage in January.

If you know of any organisations doing innovative work in the food and farming fields, please let them know how to find out more. Climate change affects us all, but co-operation and knowledge sharing can help us safeguard the planet for future generations.

How to Apply

Interested organisations can apply here.

Sign up to the Co-op Foundation blog to hear first when new funding is announced and for more information about the projects we fund.