Central England Co-op signs up to European responsible business code

'We have a responsibility to champion sustainability for the good of our members, consumers and local communities'

Central England Co-op has signed the European Union’s new Code of Conduct on Responsible Business and Marketing Practices in an effort to work closely with partners to help improve food sustainability.

The retail society outlined a series of targets as part of the announcement as part of ongoing efforts to showcase its commitment, including a 90% carbon footprint reduction by 2030 and a 50% food waste reduction by 2025.

Energy and environment lead Luke Olly said: “We are delighted to have signed up to the aspirational objectives of the EU Code of Conduct on Responsible Business and Marketing Practices and are pleased to showcase our commitment by putting forward our own ambitious and tangible commitments.

“As a co-operative, we have a responsibility to champion sustainability for the good of our members, consumers and local communities. This drives our business strategy and commitments which we shape to deliver our vision of a responsible business.

“We believe that the transformation of our food system is an ambition requiring the participation of all stakeholders throughout the value chain and their close co-operation, which is why we shall engage in close coordination with our EU-level association Euro Coop for the effective promotion of high sustainability practices.

“We look forward to working closely with our EU partners to deliver this ambitious path to sustainable food systems.”

The society’s CEO Debbie Robinson is a vice-president of Euro Co-op, which has also signed the EU Code of Conduct under the Farm to Fork Strategy.

Euro Coop secretary general Todor Ivanov said: “Euro Co-op and our members fully endorse the code’s aspirational objectives and today we step up to show leadership. Consumer co-operatives are sustainability frontrunners by way of innovation, investment and partnerships. We have continued to excel despite the raging pandemic.

“We are believers of co-operation and we stand ready to engage all stakeholders along the value chain in embracing higher sustainability performance. Policymakers’ role is crucial for providing an enabling environment so businesses could flourish and maximise their potential in attaining the EU Green Deal and Farm to Fork Strategy objectives. All food operators should be supported in making their contribution in line with their scale and business model or strategy. This is the beginning of a long journey and we are certain of our collective success.” 

Recent green milestones by highlighted by Central England Co-op include:

  • Reducing electricity usage by 51% since 2010
  • Reducing natural gas usage by 58% since 2010
  • Reducing refrigeration gas emissions by 69% since 2010
  • New stores use as little as 50% less electricity
  • Reducing food waste by 40% during the past three years from 2,445 tonnes in 2017 to 1,085 tonnes in 2020
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