Co-operative Food stores have been named as the country’s most ethical retailer.
The UK’s main co-op retail brand was given the accolade at the Drinks Retailing Awards for the second year running, for its market-leading commitment to the responsible retailing of beers, wines and spirits.
Operated by retail societies including the Co-operative Group, Midcounties and Central England, the Co-operative offering underwent rigorous judging by industry experts, taking into account the results of a customer research programme.
Simon Cairns, category buyer for beers, wine and spirits at the Co-operative Group, said: “As a community retailer owned by its customers, it’s even more important that we strive for a better way to do business in an ethical and responsible way.
“This award is fantastic recognition of this work.”
How has The Co-operative been ethical?
Since launching the first own-label Fairtrade mark wine in the UK more than 10 years ago, it has led the field and now sells 52.5% of all Fairtrade wine sold in the UK, making it the country’s market leader in this area.
Sales of Fairtrade wine have funded numerous projects, including the construction of a secondary school for 315 pupils in Tilimuqui, a wine-growing municipality in north-western Argentina.
Furthermore, the retailer has reduced its carbon footprint by more than 36% in the past year by increasing the volume of wine bottled in the UK and switching to a lighter weight glass bottle for many selected lines. The move has saved 4,222 tonnes of CO2 emissions – the equivalent to the electricity needs of 18,759 households for a year.
The Co-operative was the first retailer to include a full list of ingredients, calorie information and sensible drinking advice in addition to alcohol units on its wine labels, as part of its commitment to open and honest labelling. This is now also available across its own-brand range of beers and spirits.
Initiatives to promote responsible drinking include a greater choice of lower-alcohol and alcohol-free products, the removal of its own-brand super strength lager and large-bottled strong dry cider from the range, and a lower ABV on its own-label cider.”