By Sian Howarth, Shared Value Analyst

Last week, alongside our annual results we also published our Co-operate report, which details the amazing difference our Co-op is making on a daily basis. Please take a look, it’s an incredible reminder of why our Co-op exists and the impact we’ve collectively made. The report is an open and honest account of the actions Co-op is taking to achieve its Vision of ‘Co-operating for a fairer world’.

Key 2021 highlights include:

Fairer for our People 

  • Launched Co-op Levy Share, working with employers to bring together over £7 million to support hundreds of apprenticeships for individuals from under-represented groups
  • Aligned pay rates with the Real Living Wage – giving Customer Team Members a 5.6% pay increase
  • Launched our Climate Justice for People and Planet report, endorsed by Fairtrade Foundation – the report calls on governments and businesses to invest in climate justice and resilience, without delay

Fairer for our members and communities

  • Together, we have raised £100 million for local communities since 2016, supporting over 25,000 Local Community Fund causes across the UK 
  • Launched our partnership with Hubbub, helping to double the size of the UK’s Community Fridge Network from 100 to 200 locations
  • Thanks to over £7 million raised for Mind, SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health) and Inspire since 2019, 50 new UK-wide services are building resilience to support mental wellbeing in communities

Fairer for our planet 

  • Halved the carbon emissions from running our business since 2016, hitting our target three years early
  • 100% of Co-op branded food packaging is now easy to recycle – via kerbside collection or through Co-op’s own in-house closed-loop system.
  • Became the first UK retailer to ban the use of peat in bagged growing medium sold in our stores, covering both own-brand and branded products

26 of the 43 targets set last year have been achieved or (for longer-term targets) are on track. 

Looking ahead, the Report sets out 35 targets and identifies emerging themes for the coming years which will further support our Vision. This includes taking action on our missions of supporting Fair Access to Food, Fair Access to Mental Wellbeing Support and Fair Access to Opportunities for Young People as well as our commitment to increase their ethnic minority leadership representation. We’ll also reach net zero greenhouse gas emissions from both operations and products by 2040 at the latest.