The Co-op Group is celebrating success after Co-operative Food was named the UK’s most ethical and green drinks retailer.
The Group won the prize at the annual Drinks Retailing Awards, run by Off Licence News, for the third year in a row. The ceremony took place on 2 February at the Dorchester Hotel in London.
The Co-op Group is the UK’s largest retailer of Fairtrade wine. Two thirds of all sales in fairly-traded wine in the country are through the Co-op, and one-third globally. Judges also praised the retailer’s work in delivering vital projects to communities in developing countries, which enable the workers and their families to build a better future for themselves.
Recent projects include a major housing development in South Africa, and a medical centre in Argentina. When completed, the centre will help 30,000 people.
Edward Robinson, Fairtrade wine buyer at the Co-op, said: “Our commitment to Fairtrade is at the heart of our business as we know just how important it is to our customers, our members and of course our growers.
“Key to this success has been forging close relationships with the producers involved, working together not just on blending the wines themselves but on the social projects which the sales of the wines support – this is no ‘off the peg’ venture for us.
“To know that shoppers are involved in the judging process to help award the winner is fantastic as it shows that the public are continuing to value the lengths that we go to as a retailer.”
Martin Green, editor at Off Licence News, said: “The Co-operative is a shining example to all other operators in the field of green and ethical retailing. It has a fantastic track record of championing Fairtrade wine and this has benefited many communities in countries like Chile, Argentina and South Africa, leading to schemes to build housing developments and medical centres.
“For this award, judges took particular account of shipping, packaging, investment in Fairtrade and other ethical supply schemes, and the Co-operative ticked all the boxes, making it a very worthy winner in a competitive field.”