Central England Co-operative’s latest corporate responsibility report highlights some of the society’s key milestones over the past five years.
Released last week, the report looks at the society’s work to promote co-operative values through responsible business.
As part of its corporate responsibility policy, Central England makes commitments around four key areas: community, environment, marketplace and workplace.
Key community projects mentioned in the report include installing 300 defibrillators at food stores and funeral homes through the 5p carrier bag levy and hosting a food bank collection point in 90% of its stores. Over 250,000 items have been donated in total during 2018 as a result of food bank campaigns.
Another initiative has seen more than 17,000 schoolchildren attend a healthy choices workshop, which encourage children to think about what makes a healthy balanced diet and to make good healthy choices, over the last five years.
In terms of environmental projects, the society has rolled out a food redistribution scheme to 230 food stores that has cut waste by 40% and resulted in hundreds of charities handing out over one million meals to people in need. Carbon footprint was also reduced by 48% by adding doors to chillers and changing lighting to LED in stores. Changes to the funeral and distribution network reduced road miles and increased fuel efficiency.
Central England colleagues and customers have raised over £2m for corporate charities – Dementia UK and Newlife while funeral teams introduced Forget Me Not bereavement groups across 40 locations. The society is also closely working with colleagues to create 100 mental health champions and roll out mandatory training for line managers.
The SENse to Aspire scheme supported five hundred special education needs and vulnerable young people by providing work experience placements, tips and CV master classes.
Hannah Gallimore, corporate responsibility manager, said: “As a co-operative, our community focus and ethical credentials mean we are brilliantly placed to do the right thing as a responsible business.
“With the help of Business in the Community we developed a strategy which is integral to our trading objectives, in line with our co-operative values and principles and focuses on delivery to our members and communities while demonstrating deep concern for the environment.
“As we move to the next phase, we will continue the good work of the last five years, focusing on relevance of sustainability to our organisation.
“We have also been consulting with members, customers, colleagues, independent organisations and industry specialists to decide our future corporate responsibility strategy.
“We aim to invest in sustainability in the widest sense while continuing to grow our thriving business.”
The society’s corporate responsibility strategy received a five star rating by Business in the Community in 2018. Central England also undertook a Social Return on Investment report to analyse the impact of community programmes and investment. The report showed that, during 2017 and 2018, the investment delivered a total social value of £10m.