Top green award for Group’s ethics

The Co-operative Group has won the longest running and one of the most prestigious environmental awards in the UK.It received the top prize at the Business Commit-ment to...

The Co-operative Group has won the longest running and one of the most prestigious environmental awards in the UK.

It received the top prize at the Business Commit-ment to the Environment (BCE) Environmental Leadership Awards from Environment Minister David Milliband at a ceremony in London.

The BCE provides an opportunity for businesses to demonstrate that corporate responsibility is an integral part of their organisation, that they are innovative and ahead of the competition.?

Having beaten more than 100 companies to the win the award, the society will now represent the UK in the European Environment Awards.

Group Chief Executive Martin Beaumont (pictured) said: "This is the third top award we have won in the past six weeks and clearly demonstrates how importantly we take the whole issue of the environment and climate change."

In April, the Group received the Queen&#039s Award for Enterprise in the Sustainable Development category and last month Mr Beaumont was recognised as an Environment Champion at the Northwest Business Environment Awards.

The BCE award recognises the many and varied initiatives that the Group has implemented across its family of businesses, which includes food retail, travel, pharmacy and funeral outlets as well as the Co-operative Bank and Co-operative Insurance.

The judges praised the society&#039s outstanding leadership in tackling climate change across all its businesses and in particular the integration of carbon offset features into its financial products.?

They also highlighted the Group&#039s support for micro-generation and its ethical financial work undertaken by the Bank and CIS.

The Group&#039s Green Energy for Schools scheme, for example, will enable 100 schools to install solar panels at no cost while the society led the switch to green electricity back in 1998 and was the first major retailer on the UK mainland to switch all its outlets to green electricity.?

Last year also saw the official switch-on of the Coldham Wind farm built on Group farmland in Cambridgeshire, which is a joint venture between the Co-operative Group and ScottishPower.?

The Group&#039s financial services arm CFS recently completed the work to cover the 400ft service tower of the landmark CIS building in the centre of Manchester with 7,000 photovoltaic panels.?

The solar panels will create 180,000 units of renewable electricity each year ? enough energy to make nine million cups of tea.

Earlier this year the Group opened the largest in-house office waste-recycling centre in the North West and all Co-op household tissue including toilet rolls, kitchen towel & facial tissue is completely sourced from FSC-certified responsibly managed forests and recycling facilities.

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