The Midcounties Co-operative has achieved a five-star rating in Business in the Community’s (BITC) annual Corporate Responsibility (CR) Index.
The Index measures how businesses are integrating responsible business practice into all aspects of their operations. Midcounties scored a record 100%, and was praised for excellent practices in sustainability and community engagement, and for high standards of governance.
“Every business should do something significant for society by being a force for good in the community, but that’s only possible if companies are able to measure the progress they are making as responsible businesses,” said Amanda Mackenzie, chief executive of BitC.
“I congratulate Midcounties for achieving its score and look forward to working together to create a fairer society and a more sustainable future.”
The society, one of only three organisations to achieve the five-star accolade, was recognised for its long-term investments in sustainability. Its retail stores are powered entirely by green energy, while Co-operative Energy purchases over 45% of its energy from renewable sources.
The society has also increased its recycling levels to 91% – and its own food waste recycling process produces enough renewable energy to power 40 homes a year.
“As the largest independent co-operative in the UK, we’re an ambitious business built on the strong ethical principles that guide co-operatives all over the globe – every day we’re working to make a lasting difference in the communities in which we operate,” said Pete Westall, group general manager – colleague and co-operative service.
“We also work globally through the International Co-operative Alliance – on which our president, Ruth Fitzjohn, and our group chief executive, Ben Reid, sit – to ensure we’re at the forefront of the international co-operative movement and champion the co-op model.
“This award recognises the way our members, colleagues and customers have come together to help us achieve this. It’s a clear badge showing our commitment to responsible business practices, and one that we’re proud to wear.”
Midcounties’ customer, colleague and member engagement programme was also recognised for its work embedding its values throughout the workforce and wider community. Last year 10,000 members were involved in selecting local opportunities to support across 20 communities and colleagues delivered 36,000 volunteer hours.
Customers were also involved with food bank donations and recycling initiatives, and 9,000 younger members of the community were reached by working with over 50 schools and higher education partners in 2016.