THE Co-operative Group has received a major accolade in recognition of its pioneering work to promote Fairtrade.
It won the Corporate Social Responsibility category at the Marketing Week Effectiveness Awards in London.
The Co-op, the UK's leading supermarket supporter of Fairtrade, has helped raise general consumer awareness about Fairtrade, resulting in a dramatic increase in sales and bringing Fairtrade into the mainstream. In five years, total Co-op Fairtrade sales have jumped from £ 1.6 million to upwards of £ 25 million and it now lists 110 Fairtrade products, including 72 Co-op brand.
In November 2002, the Co-op switched all its own-label chocolate bars to Fairtrade and a year later all Co-op brand coffee became Fairtrade.
Guy McCracken, chief executive, Food Retail, commented: "We're delighted to receive this award in recognition of our support for Fairtrade, which has helped to boost sales significantly, whilst heightening general awareness of the plight of many growers and producers in the developing world.
"It is a credit to the Co-op category teams who have worked with suppliers to develop Fairtrade products and to our marketing team in getting our Fairtrade message across so effectively."