Midcounties named business of the year at national sustainability awards

The prize is one of two gongs picked up by the retail society at the Edie Sustainability Leaders Awards

The Midcounties Co-operative has picked up two gongs – including Business of the Year – at the UK-wide Edie Sustainability Leaders Awards.

Now in their 14th year, the awards – from “purpose-driven media brand” Edie – recognise excellence across the spectrum of green business; from efficiency programmes to product innovations, from stakeholder engagement to the people on the ground making change happen.

Midcounties also won the category for Social Sustainability & Community Development.

For Business of the Year, it beat finalists AeroFarms, Barry Callebaut, Carbon Tracker Initiative, Mitie, OVO, Polestar, Prevented Ocean Plastic, Superdry and Willmott Dixon.

The judges said: “Midcounties encapsulates what it means to drive a green, just recovery from Covid-19. From the Community Energy Fund it has operated throughout the pandemic, to the community restart funds it has escalated to support foodbanks and charities – all while improving its own environmental performance and championing a positive, collaborative approach to sustainable business. The organisation has put in an outstanding effort across the board and is thoroughly deserving of our coveted title of Business of the Year for 2021.”

They cited initiatives such as the appointment of a chief values officer, acting on feedback from members over issues such as plastic waste and carbon emissions, energy saving measures and use of renewable energy.

In the Social Sustainability & Community Development category, the co-op came ahead of finalists AB InBev, ADM, Hubbub, Lekela Power, Malayan Banking Berhad, Neighbourly, O2 in partnership with Hubbub, and Powerday and the highly commended PepsiCo Foundation.

Related: Midcounties launches 1Change campaign on single use plastic

The judges said: “Throughout Covid-19, the Midcounties Co-operative has gone over and above what is already a committed and impactful approach to positive community development and social sustainability. The business is deeply embedded in the community, and its purpose to create positive social change runs right through the organisation and its staff.”

Midcounties’ chief values officer Pete Westall said: “The double win at the awards is recognition of the work all our colleagues have put in over the last 12 months, in so many ways. Our members have told us what they want us to do and our board, our executive and all our colleagues have reacted – particularly around our ongoing support for local communities, our support for community energy groups and through our 1Change campaign. 

“It’s a team effort – from our executive and board through to our staff and members. Everyone is working together to make a positive impact.”