Co-op cuts emissions by 35%
posted on Wednesday, February 15, 2012 11:44 AM
The Co-operative has cut greenhouse gas emissions from its operations by more than a third as part of its "radical" ethical plan, it said today.
A year ago the ...arbon emissions, investing £1bn in renewables and taking on thousands of apprentices.
The Co-operative, which employs more than 120,000 staff in the UK, said it had now cut emissions by 35% on 2006 levels, for example by energy-saving measures in stores such as fridge doors, and had committed £700m to renewable energy.
By the end of March, 70% of products from poor countries that can be Fairtrade in its stores will be sold under the label, which aims to promote a fair deal for developing world producers.
It has signed up 1 million new members in the past 12 months.
Peter Marks, the group's chief executive, said that the savings made from environmental measures such as energy efficiency totalled £40m a year, compared with 2006.
The group unveiled a series of new targets this year, including reducing the greenhouse gases of its operations by half by 2020, generating a quarter of its energy needs from renewables by 2017 and cutting water consumption by 30% by 2014.
The Co-operative is also launching a new campaign with Oxfam to help small-holder farmers and co-operatives in developing countries, as well as providing 30,000 loans to entrepreneurs in poor countries by the end of the year.
It is also bidding to double the number of primary and secondary schools in its "green schools revolution" to 6,000.
Marks said: "Despite the economic downturn, we have remained true to our pledge to show the way on corporate responsibility.
"The 1 million new members we now have bears testimony to the continued support we have had from our customers.
"It also helps that the savings that result from our environmental efficiency initiatives, nearly £40m a year, are being ploughed back into the business to reduce costs."
Former government sustainability adviser and founder of Forum for the Future, Jonathon Porritt, said the Co-operative's support for community energy projects could help address the problems in the UK's energy sector.
"If you want to see what the 'green economy' looks like in practice, look no further," he added.