A co-operative fishery and an urban farming co-op are among a number of environmental initiatives that have received funding from the Carbon Innovation Fund.
The fund, a partnership between the Co-op Group and its charity, Co-op Foundation, will see a total of £3m go to projects tackling carbon emissions over the next three years.
So far, 14 projects have been awarded a combined £1.3m from the fund, which aims to reduce carbon emissions in the food, farming and aquaculture sectors.
Recipients include Fal Fishery Cooperative CIC which produces carbon-absorbing oyster larvae at its hatchery in Cornwall, and Edinburgh Agroecology Co-operative CIC, which is creating a local community farm to demonstrate how land in and around urban centres can benefit people and the environment.
The Fairtrade Foundation in Mbarara and Masaka has also been granted funding for its work producing briquettes from used coffee grounds, which can then be used as fuel for cooking stoves.
The Carbon Innovation Fund is part of the Group’s plan, announced last year to become a Net Zero business by 2040.
Verity Warnecke, head of climate change at the Co-op Group, said: “We are facing into a climate and environment crisis and we have to recognise that we all need to do more, and quicker. The Carbon Innovation Fund forms part of the action we are taking, it supports doing something different and encourages innovation that can be shared to benefit society in general – and the first round of funding does exactly that.
“It’s this type of co-operation which is needed across the world to help accelerate our response to the climate crisis if we are going to have a natural environment which we are proud to pass on to future generations.”
The Carbon Innovation Fund is supported in part through the sale of Co-op’s compostable carrier bags, with the remainder coming from the Co-op Foundation’s own funds. It is the largest partnership of its kind between the retailer and its charity.
The Co-op Foundation’s CEO, Nick Crofts, said: “We created the Carbon Innovation Fund to encourage innovation and help tackle emissions in the food and farming industries – and what an incredible first 14 projects we’re funding!
“From Cornwall to Malawi, we’re working with our new partners to create sustainable change and develop inventive solutions to complex issues. We cannot wait to see what our partners achieve as they co-operate to make our world a better place to live.”
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